Living with Fetal Alcohol

I have had a few people ask “what is Fetal Alcohol” or ask me to stand up for the Fetal Alcohol cause. So I feel giving better information should come first.
What is Fetal Alcohol and how to you get it? Fetal Alcohol is a syndrome caused by a mother drinking while she is pregnant.
How much Alcohol and when? Here is the sticky part. If a woman takes one drink on the wrong day of her pregnancy before she knows she is even pregnant she can cause irreparable harm to her fetus… Yep I said irreparable. It doesn’t fix. Ever…. EVER.
That’s a scary word isn’t it? One drink before you know.
So how about men? Are they off the hook? Nope. Even better huh? If a man is seriously drunk when he contributes his share he can do the same thing… Fun isn’t this… Nope.
So what does that mean?
Fetal Alcohol causes the brain chemistry to permanently change in a few dramatic ways. The first of which is to keep it from developing cause and effect. Normally this begins at age 8 when we begin to understand that if we steal something we have to not only pay for it, but we have to suffer legal consequences. That may not ever develop. Ever… And then at 14 we may not understand that touching someone without consent it called rape… Ever. Are you scared yet?
So naturally we proceed to the next question. What can we do? Some of it can be dealt with medication. Only some. We can control the ADD and ADHD that come with it. We can deal with focus issues. But the rest must be dealt with in therapy, community support, therapeutic school, behavioral therapy, etc, etc, etc. See how much work will go into one drink on a day you do not know yet?
The other fall out is for the parent. Now there are mothers reading this who are now racked with a deep sense of guilt. I would say sorry, but I am kind of not sorry. I just opened your eyes and I am glad of that. I am sorry I hurt you. I am glad you see. I have three kids who are standing at the bottom of this mountain. They are climbing it. I am not sure how far they will climb. I will have hurt their parents with this post. I know that. And I feel badly about that, but… it is the truth.
Alcohol it by far the most dangerous drug in the whole world. No kidding. Crack babies get better on their own. Meth babies get better on their own. Heroine babies get better on their own. FAS babies do not. So to the moms who are fighting the good fight. Fight on. Keep teaching, keep fighting. Maybe some day people will see that one drink is more dangerous than one needle. Not to themselves, but to one person who has not yet been born, and to all the people it will affect.

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