"... we understand there is a stigma attached. However, there can be no blame or shame here, because society has grown up very much since the '50s post-war, thinking that drinking alcohol was very acceptable. And indeed some hospitals, particularly in Ireland, would be pushing trolleys of stout through the maternity wards saying, this is to help the mother and baby so that they don't suffer anemia. So, we have to educate society now to say, we understand the risks. They are significant risks. They cause a lifelong disability. So, please do not drink alcohol of any quantity when pregnant, or when planning to be pregnant."
Raising awareness of the dangers of drinking alcohol during pregnancy and removing the stigma associated with foetal alcohol specturm disorder (FASD) in order that the families can seek the correct support is something that both Jan and Tristan are passionate about.
Tristan is the founder of FASD Ireland, a not-for-profit charity that aims to raise awareness and provide support to families in Ireland living with FASD. And Jan is birth mum to Rossi who was born with FASD. Jan didn’t realise that she was pregnant for 4 months, during which she consumed alcohol. It is important to point out that Jan doesn’t have an alcohol addiction and that once aware of the pregnancy she stopped, however there was never any guidance from her doctor to tell her do so.
Tristan also has lived experience with his adopted son who has FASD and is campaigning in Ireland for the condition to be recognised as a disability to support the hundreds of babies born every year to parents who unwittingly don’t realise the harm that alcohol can have on a foetuses brain’s neurological pathways.
This conversation is full of tips for parents, families and carers to use.
When planning to have a baby, you and your partner should stop drinking to avoid any chance of the baby having FASD.
If you are experiencing any of the issues discussed in this podcast, please contact your GP or healthcare practitioner.
Download the transcript here.
Hosted by Chantal Boyle, Hidden Disabilities Sunflower.
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