Wish #8 for FASD: Stamp out Stigma

There are many reasons why a woman may have consumed alcohol while pregnant: she may have had a drink before discovering her pregnancy; someone she knew drank and had a baby that was fine; her health care practitioner may still believe drinking alcohol is not harmful; she may have an addiction issue and is not receiving support; or she may have any number of other barriers to a healthy pregnancy.

Due to the stigma, shame and blame culture that still exists, many women will not admit drinking alcohol to their health care practitioner. If women feel safe to disclose alcohol consumption during pregnancy, the outcomes for themselves and their children are much improved with earlier intervention and support.

I wish people would stop blaming women and start supporting women. I wish people would stop thinking Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is just a women’s issue.

It is also an issue for individuals with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Many will not disclose because of society assumptions. It is important to include all the players when discussing this. I write from a caregiver perspective. I try to be aware of the perspective of individuals, but I do not have FASD.

In a Research Paper (see below) CanFASD states:

Negative attitudes and perceptions of individuals with FASD can impact individuals with FASD and their families as a result of discrimination and a lack of access to supports and services. Reducing stigma through ongoing training and education for educators and health and social service providers can facilitate increased support for individuals with FASD and help reduce misconceptions and stereotypes perpetuated about individuals with FASD and their families.

So, definitely this is still a wish. Stamp out blame and shame and stigma around FASD.

If you’d like some more information on this, please check out the following blog posts and resources:

FASD: Stop the Stigma

International Women’s Day and FASD

Day 21 of 99 Days to FASDay: FASD Language Guide

Days 23-25: Talking About Alcohol Use and Stamping Out Stigma

Day 6 of 99 Days to FASDay: Talking to Women About Alcohol and Pregnancy

Day 9 of 99 Days to FASDay: Dads Role in Health of Children