Today I prepare for what I hope will be days of change ahead. To meet with all who would come to learn about why alcohol and pregnancy don’t mix. I see all the arguments and all the women who feel that they are entitled to do what they will with their bodies. I would ask them why the feel it is okay to subject a child to a life time of feeling as if they do not belong. I watch my children attempt to navigate a world that is so often foreign and hostile to them. I watch it chip away a little piece of them every day and I don’t know how to stop it. I want them to know that I would slay dragons if it would change this for them.
Every day in the U.S. approximately 11,000 babies are born. All new life ready to grow and be a part of our society. Yet for so many of them they will not have that happy outcome. These children who are affected by FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) can’t make their brains, that have been wired differently, behave the way society would like them to. They are individuals with permanent traumatic brain damage. This damage was done in the womb and cannot be undone. IF it is true that approximately 2-5% of school aged children are affected by an FASD is that number high enough to get the attention of change makers? Is 1 in 20 children enough to realize that alcohol is dangerous to the developing fetus. There is global panic over the Zika virus and the prevalence of that is less than 0.1% and yet there is worldwide panic. So what will it take to at least get people’s attention?
Tomorrow in a small unincorporated village in Nebraska we will meet and we will try to show how addictions and trauma have led to high birth rates of FASD and how we must start providing services to those who are living with FASD in order to help them navigate a world that is not meant for them. We will work on slaying the dragon of ignorance. We will work on showing people a different way and why Whiteclay is wrong. We will work on keeping people safe and healthy. Will it make a difference? I don’t know but I know we must try. At the end of the day my children will know that I fought for them…that makes it all worth it.
Tomorrow we will see what the future brings.