This is the only wish I stated in 2016 that I’m no longer certain of, because of what I have learned and how I have grown. Is it realistic (no) or even appropriate (not sure).
In 2016 I wrote:
The message is clear and simple: 049 = No (0) alcohol for (4) nine (9) months of pregnancy.
The only cause for FASD is the consumption of alcohol during pregnancy.
Not every child will be affected, nor will every child be affected in the same way.
But what will happen if you abstain from drinking alcohol while you are trying to get pregnant, or during your pregnancy, is that absolutely no child will be born with FASD.
My wish is one day FASD will be eradicated.
I think it is important to include what I did write. Because I see so much growth in my understanding when I look at this statement. The 049 message may be simple – and we want to encourage no alcohol for the nine months of pregnancy, but we also want it to be pre-conception and we know fathers play a role. We also know other risk factors can combine. The reasons for drinking are so complex. It is a community issue.
And while my intentions behind this wish were nothing but genuine and sincere, I understand how dismissive this is of people with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. No one called me out on it. It was in my reflections over what I have learned and how I have grown that led me to question this wish in 2020.
My thoughts were not that I wished people with FASD were not here, but that moving forward there would be no more babies born with FASD. However unless there would be no more alcohol, and no more stress, and no more conditions which contribute to discrimination and class divisions, FASD will always be with us. As long as alcohol producers are allowed to market a product without warning and as long as governments benefit from the taxes and revenue from these companies and products without addressing the harms they cause, we will always have not only FASD but addictions and other harms caused by alcohol.
I also see this wish could be seen as contributions of people with FASD are not valid and welcome. And while I have always advocated we need to be a culture that embraces brain differences, my thought behind this wish was more because I look at the struggles my daughter has had. And wishing that she didn’t have to go through these. But why has she gone through these? She went through them because there was little understanding, accommodations, interventions etc. So if all those were in place, then how different her early life would have been and would the lives of those with FASD be.
So I still struggle with this wish. Should it still be one? Maybe I’m thinking too much. I honestly don’t know. I’d be curious to hear what others think. Perhaps I just don’t have the right words to articulate what I mean. Perhaps I haven’t quite captured the essence of what I am trying to capture. So I will leave this wish in, with a question mark. How can you wish for something to go away but not the people with it. How can I want something to stay that causes so much pain for people but yet gives them so much strength and gifts? There is no easy answer on this wish.