Monday, February 8, 2016


Because I applauded the CDC's bold recommendation last week I've heard some arguments from women about why the CDC's statement was ridiculous. If you have not heard already, the Center for Disease Control made a recommendation that sexually active women who are of child bearing age and not on birth control, abstain from alcohol. There was public outcry. Social media was abuzz and so few seemed to be standing with the CDC. And then there were so many blog posts making fun of the CDC and calling them condescending for their recommendation. The CDC's recommendation targeted women only. It did not include men. And after all that drama, because I am in support groups of parents who are raising children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), I got to see that I was not the only incredulous person online who could not believe that people would argue with the CDC's statement. You see, those of us who know what FAS looks like and see the kinds of lives our children are living cannot fathom anyone drinking while pregnant. My daughter's birth mother could have abstained from alcohol. But she did not. My daughter will pay the price for her whole life. 

Here are a representation of some of the best explanations I have seen this past week that definitely justify the use of alcohol by women of childbearing age who are not on birth control. 

Reasons sexually active women who are not on birth control should be able to drink with a clear conscience:

1. Because men do not have to abstain so it is discriminatory to tell women they should!

Mother Nature is such a chauvinist huh? She only gave wombs to women, not men. It’s about biology, and nothing else girls.

2. This one is really just like the first: If my boyfriend/husband/guy-I-picked-up-at-the-bar gets to drink then so do I!

You cannot find a sex partner who is willing to abstain while you stay sober too? Do you really want to have sex with that guy? If you do, then I got nothing else to say except, “Wow.”

3. Because women have to endure so much for their children (or future children), sobriety should not be added to the list of inconveniences.

I actually have to say it again, “Wow.” You know that baby you may or may not be trying to create? It’s going to do a lot of inconvenient things. And the alcohol you are drinking because you have the right? That alcohol is going to make all those things that kid does that might be inconvenient MUCH more inconvenient. A kid born to a mother who drank will need a whole lot more from her than a kid who is born to a mom who abstained. Kids with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) are exhausting.

4. Because it is not right that, even though I may not even be pregnant or become pregnant, the things I want are still put second to a non-existent baby.

So you are on birth control then? Because if you are not then that non-existent baby is not necessarily non-existent anymore is it? Sex creates babies. Drinking alcohol while pregnant creates babies with FAS.

5. Because I know a kid whose mom drank while she was pregnant and he turned out just fine.

Right. It could happen. There are SOME babies born to drinking mothers who do not appear to have alcohol related disabilities. Fraternal twins can even be affected differently while being exposed to the same amount of alcohol in the womb. Do you really want to take a chance? And those babies who do not appear to be affected just might have been even smarter, even more talented, even more “normal” than they already are if only their mother had abstained completely. Look your kid in the eye a few years from now and let him know he might have been even smarter, even more talented than he is now, but you really wanted to have just a drink or two while he was developing.

6. Because some doctors still say a little alcohol is not harmful to an unborn child.

The best reason/excuse yet! You can find a few doctors and articles that will say moderate drinking is not harmful to a baby. You will find far more doctors and articles written that recommend a mother not drink at all. You really want to take a chance? With your kid?

7. Because not drinking is unrealistic. You would have to be a Quaker to avoid alcohol (or unplanned sex). 

Really? I am no Quaker. It really is possible to have fun without alcohol. It really is possible to put your unborn children (even the unplanned ones) ahead of alcohol. Really. 

I reserve the right to add to this list as I'm quite certain I am about to get a few more reasons from women that they should be able to drink with a clear conscience. 

We are not animals. We are people. We get to plan ahead and make complicated decisions about our future and the future of our children. And yes - even the future of our future children. Is alcohol really that important to you? Really?

I do not imagine I will change the opinion of one woman who is drinking and having sex. And I doubt this will boost my blog page. I will most likely lose a few followers. Why then do I feel compelled to write about such a controversial and hot topic? It is because I have to stand up for the things I believe in. If I lose a thousand followers over this post, so be it. I will not be debating the topic any longer. Last week when this topic was being argued on my Facebook Page, one of my readers came to my defense and asked another why she would come to the page of a mother who is raising a child with FAS to argue that alcohol and unprotected sex are not a big deal. It is such a big deal. 

Note: Before I get dozens of comments saying it is not so much WHAT the CDC said as the WAY they said it, I would only respond that it might have been said just a little more eloquently. Perhaps the issue of men and how alcohol damages sperm should have been addressed. But I still stand with the CDC on this one. 


  1. I completely agree. Thirty five years ago I was pregnant with my first daughter and didn't drink, but I knew some who were told by their doctors it was ok to have one drink a day. My motto has always been, "if you're not positive it won't hurt, don't do it." It isn't going to hurt you not to do it. That applies to everything in life.

  2. Thanks for taking a stand! Speaking out for what is right is becoming so uncommon these days...signs of the times? Right will always be right.

  3. As a mom to 4 FASD kids you are bang on with this. Anyone who thinks drinking while pregnant is ok should spend 24 hours with my kids (especially my 4 year old). If bio mom wouldn't have drank my kids would be happier, healthier less frustrated kids. But, they are not. I do agree the CDCS wording is not quite right however the message is absolutely correct.

  4. Great article, some of these excuses/explanations are nonsense, they hold no common sense at all. Some things should just be self explanatory. Sometimes I believe we are breeding common sense out of the gene pool.

  5. Well, I'm sure everybody will be putting their junior and high school age daughters on birth control -- because the average American girl gets her period at 12 and loses her virginity at 17 (16 if she's an evangelical Christian committed to remaining a virgin until marriage! "Sexual debut" is on average a year earlier and she's statistically less likely to use protection!).

    Statistically, upwards of 75% of kids drink at parties.

  6. Speaking the truth means you do not need to worry about offending anyone, the truth is the truth and God bless you for speaking up. More of us need to start speaking up for our beliefs, if more people would do this maybe the world would not be in the place it is. Basic values and morals are a thing of the past it seems. Blessings on you for opening your home and heart to a child who needs someone to love them the way they deserve, she grew in your heart for sure.

  7. Kudos to you for speaking out on this.

  8. Fellow FASD Momma here. You speak truth, friend.

  9. Excellent thoughts and right on track. There is no good argument for drinking when you can become pregnant. The more we know about the affects of poisons like alcohol on our bodies and those of our future children, the sooner this debate will become moot. Remember how long it took for cigarettes? Speak the truth maybe one day it will be heard.

  10. I love your post, I saw a lot of hate about this and it made me mad, it is a perfectly reasonable statement to make. What baffles me is women who are actively trying to get pregnant who still continue to drink. Just because it isn't uncommon for someone to drink early on and not realize they are pregnant doesn't mean it is ok. I think instead of focusing on the statement and especially the one to women who are trying to conceive, people get angry and think the CDC is telling them to avoid intercourse or alcohol. But the truth is, if you aren't trying to get pregnant you should use some sort of protection or birth control so in that case it doesn't matter. On the other side if you are trying to get pregnant don't drink, also seems reasonable.