Every once in a while I read something that makes me want to scream and throw things at the computer, and this article just did it for me. The NHS [National Health Service] in Great Britain says, among other things:
However, a study of more than 11,000 five-year-olds, conducted by University College London, showed drinking one or two units of alcohol a week during pregnancy did not raise the risk of developmental problems in the child.
Prof Yvonne Kelly who conducted that research told the BBC: "Heavy drinking is really very, very bad, but at low levels, in the work we've done we haven't found any negative effects in childhood.
I'm sorry. I totally disagree with this. Maybe they are right, but maybe they are WRONG. There are varying degrees of fetal alcohol brain damage, and many kids affected by it don't have the facial characteristics, or obvious behaviors.Some kids have perfectly normal IQs but the signs are more subtle than obvious.
I also want to point out that Thalidomide was once thought safe for pregnant women.
NHS, you WANKERS, listen up. Y'all should spend a week trying to parent a child with FAS and THEN you make these pronouncements.
Read the blog of my friend Stephanie - many of her 11 kids have FAS.
Because here's the fact: Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is 100% preventable. If you are pregnant DON'T DRINK ANYTHING AT ANY POINT. If you do, you may not have a damaged child. You may have a perfectly normal child. Or you may have a child who will never be able to live on their own, but looks perfectly normal. Why take the risk??
I belong to several parent groups and I see posts all the time by parents who are at their wits' end with kids who suffer from the effects of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. They have kids that have no understanding of cause and effect. Kids who have to have verbal directions simplified and repeated many times. Kids who may or may not ever be able to finish high school. Kids who are sometimes quite talented in one way or another, yet socially cannot manage.
I have bookmarked this page, The Lifelong Effects of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. If you want to see the reality of life with the FAS child, click on that link. I dare you.
These are the overall characteristics:
- Personality tends to be very endearing, cheerful, out going, good intentions (though with little ability to follow through)
- Trusting, naïve (sometimes with the wrong people)
- Difficult to motivate - often due to lack of cause and effect thinking, stubborn
- Live in the present, little concept of time/past/future
- Prone to lying, stealing, "borrowing", "mooching"
- Predisposition to addictions
- Limited memory, smaller brain, higher verbal skills mask problems
Adults with FAS have a very hard time keeping a job.
Skip down and you will see this horrifying piece of information about adults with FAS:
Continued difficulty with the legal and mental health systems is common, some judged incompetent to stand trial, others are in prison/jail system (80% of FAS affected adults incarcerated or in mental health facilities) Society has tendency to use jail as residential treatment.
Having a few glasses of wine or a beer or two while you're pregnant may seem harmless. It may be harmless. But the fact is scientists don't really KNOW exactly when alcohol affects the brain of a fetus, or how much is too much.
Before you drink, think about the fact that if your child's brain is affected by that drink, in 20 years your child will be very likely to wind up in JAIL.
I know this post sounds strident and judgmental, but I don't care. I have a child who has fetal alcohol brain damage, and she has every.single.characteristic of this terrible, preventable disability. I have no idea where she is, and I may never see her again. She is in total denial that there is any issue.
So for heaven's sake, DO NOT drink while pregnant. AT ALL.