Lately we are all in a frenzy of superhero movies. I know my kids love them. People who overcome all the odds right? I have been thinking a lot about that and what that really means. In our superhero fantasies we are always faster, smarter, can fly and BRAVER. Yup that is a superhero. So really I guess I can think of no other comparison with the kids I know who are living with FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder). They are superheroes.
All of the children who we have raised have spent their lives beating the odds. The life they have been given means that so many things will mean them having to be braver. They will have to be smarter and at times faster and well it wouldn’t hurt if they could fly. Learning to read can be a journey. The brain must make a connection between the letter and a sound. Then it has to connect all the letters and sounds in one word into a usable word for the brain to understand. This may sound like well duh but when your brain has a hard time transferring information and using that information and then storing and retrieving that information this can be an insurmountable task. Then there is MATH. Oh boy math. I will never forget when my son came home and said “mom my teacher has lost it. She is now trying to say that x, y and z are part of math problems. You need to tell her those are letters and not numbers.” He then couldn’t understand how if x=2 for one problem they tried to then say that x=5 on another. His stress level was so high as no matter what he did it felt wrong to him. This is just the school work pitfalls.
When asked the hardest thing to see as a parent I really feel like it is when I see my kids begin to question their worth. I know honestly this is not just something that kids with FASD deal with. I know that honestly in our world today this isn’t even that uncommon but I do think that when anyone is different it is multiplied exponentially. The question of a child “why don’t other kids like me? I don’t understand what I do wrong.” I see them cape up every day as they go out and try to overcome.
The fact is though that they shouldn’t have to cape up. So much was taken from them because of alcohol. I have never been a prohibitionist. I like having a drink of wine once in a while (although a lot less than I used to). Arguments spring up on social media all the time about what is an okay amount to drink. The fact is that we have no idea what is a safe amount. So if you drink while you are pregnant you are playing Russian roulette with your baby. I can’t imagine wanting to do that. My kids are amazing. They have overcome and continue to do that but they shouldn’t have to. Alcohol is a solvent. When a baby is developing this solvent can and does kill cells that are needed. Everything that mom drinks so does baby and it takes the baby longer to get rid of the alcohol. When people argue this I honestly wish they could spend a day watching one of my children try to navigate the world. I think this would honestly completely end their argument.