Dear Mommy: I can’t believe it – I’m your child! I’m growing inside you and am so excited to meet you. I can hear your voice, feel you around me, and love the sensation when you walk. Most of all, I just enjoy being with you. But I do have one request: can you please stop drinking alcohol and abusing drugs? When you take a drink, I can tell that it’s hurting me. Alcohol’s effect in pregnancy starts right away. You’ve probably heard of fetal alcohol syndrome, but if you haven’t, let me show you what happens:
- Every drink you have makes it harder for my body to grow correctly and naturally. My brain development gets slower when alcohol transfers from you to me. I may end up being born with a developmental disability, or I may even end up with a physical disability directly related to your drinking.
- I could be addicted to alcohol when I’m born. Without it, I’ll go through terrible withdrawal pains in the hospital. My whole body will be wracked with pain, and it’s scary to think about. I may endure hours of agony without any relief.
The effects of drugs while you’re pregnant have symptoms similar to alcohol. I could be a drug addict, too, before I’ve even left the womb! Plus, the circumference of my head could be smaller than other newborns, and I could be born with a predisposition to learning disabilities. This will make it harder for me to get an education. If you use drugs and alcohol, you are making it harder for me to have the best life possible. I know you want me to be happy and be successful in life — the only way that can happen is if you take control of your addiction. I know it isn’t going to be easy for you, Mommy. I’m sure that you’ve battled with your addiction for a long time. Most people who visit alcohol and drug rehab centers aren’t new to their addictions. But believe me when I tell you that there is plenty of help available. The people who work at those centers can guide you through all the ups and downs. When you find a place to help you get clean and live an addiction-free life, you’ll be so much happier — and so will I! I want the two of us to have an amazing adventure together. I want to go to the park with you, play together, and take incredible journeys. We have so much to look forward to! But if you’re like the 12 percent of women in the United States who drink alcohol while they are pregnant, or like the 6 percent of American women who abuse illegal drugs while carrying a child, we are both at risk. Mommy, I love you unconditionally. Please try to get help today. I believe in you. All my love, Your Unborn Child