Curriculum for Addiction Professionals > Competency 5: Continuing Care of Families Affected by FASD > 8a. Role of Family in Preventing Alcohol-Exposed Pregnancies
Competence 5: Continuing Care of Families Affected by FASD
Continuing Care Issues for Families with an Individual with an FASD, Continued
Role of Family in Preventing Alcohol-Exposed Pregnancies
Women with an FASD are at risk of having children with an FASD. Although FASD is
not inherited, women with an FASD may be genetically predisposed to alcohol problems
and may have problems using birth control effectively. Families can create an environment
that supports recovery and promotes alcohol-free pregnancies and safe sexual practices.
Need for Family To Accept Client’s Disability
Families may have difficulty accepting the individual’s FASD, especially if
she has a typical IQ. They may think she is old enough to know better or wonder
why she does not learn. Family members may be frustrated that the client relapses
or returns to groups of friends who drink and use drugs. It is important to help
them understand the woman’s cognitive and social limitations and find ways
to cope. Their understanding can go a long way toward promoting ongoing recovery.
Anger Toward Birth Mother
In some cases, the spouse and family may blame the woman for drinking during pregnancy.
The family may need counseling to work through their anger and possible feelings
of guilt for not doing more to stop the woman from drinking while pregnant. If the
client with an FASD is adopted, the family may be angry with the birth mother and
resentful for not being told that the birth mother drank while pregnant.
These feelings may be difficult for the client to handle if she loves her birth
mother. She may feel torn between her birth mother and her adopted family. She and
her family may need counseling to address their feelings toward the client’s
birth mother. Helping the client work through these issues with the family can help
reduce stress and anger that can lead to relapse.