Trying Differently Rather Than Harder
Trying Differently Rather Than Harder is a book by Diane Malbin, M.S.W. I have had this book since 2016. Sometimes I wish my brain would soak up and retain all the things I have read. Trying Differently Rather Than Harder is one of those books that I need to retain about 98% of what it says.
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is COMPLETELY preventable. First and foremost, it is NEVER okay to drink while pregnant. I would go so far as to say do not drink EVER during your childbearing years if you are sexually active. No birth control works 100% of the time unless, of course, it is ABSTINENCE!
I do not make those statements lightly, and I am fully aware that I will get flack for it. Frankly, I don’t give a damn about your flack. Why, you may ask? Because I am raising two humans that didn’t ask for the cards they were dealt in life.
Types of FASD
There is Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (what my kids have), Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Fetal Alcohol Effects, Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder, Alcohol-Related Birth Defects, and Neurobehavioral Disorders Associated with Prenatal Alcohol Exposure.
This begins at conception, people. It can also carry through sperm, so there’s that little tidbit. I was talking tonight, to a friend, about this book. She asked. I told her what it was about. This young girl, 16 or 17 maybe, overheard our conversation, and she said, “I thought it was safe to drink wine while you were pregnant.”
Guarantee, I scared the crap out of this girl. Unintentionally. My friend and I looked at each other and then at her. We both raised our voices and said, “NO!” It is NEVER safe to drink while pregnant. EVER.
This Sweet Girl
She was genuine in her questions. Honestly, she thought it was okay. I explained to her the problems/issues/medical side of the dangers of drinking. She was thoughtful and curious and asked very appropriate questions. Then she smiled and said, “You taught me something today.” I kindly replied, “remain abstinent and pass this danger onto your friends.”
So many times, these kids are labeled as ADHD, ADD, OCD, ODD, DMDD, Bipolar, etc. In reality, they have a form of FASD, yet they are misdiagnosed since they don’t have the “classic” facial features. These kids may have been adopted and don’t know the history. Sadly, out of shame, a mom doesn’t tell the whole truth about drinking or the father drinking some.
There is no hard evidence to show how much drinking is too much. How scary is that? One time can change a child’s (and parent’s) life. These kids are medicated, sometimes heavily, and then we wonder why the meds don’t work.
Cause you can’t fix BRAIN DAMAGE. That’s why! See, that ticks me off. A doctor will medicate for anything. You can’t sit still, ADD. Here is a pill. Struggling with depression, here is an anti-depressant. Anxiety? Here’s a pill. Can’t sleep? Oh, here’s another pill. This cycle is vicious. Unless you are trained in knowing the signs or look deeper if the facial features or history is not there, they overlook the obvious.
Not Here to Shame
I am not here to shame moms. I’m not. I want to educate and bring awareness to doctors, schools, and therapists. Not going to lie…due to my EXTREME frustration with one child (and the fact this child was getting violent), I had to send her to another place for several months.
It was not the answer, but it gave my family time to heal and this child the space needed to realize that violence is not the answer. We were (are) SOLIDLY looking at a facility for another child, again, no shame, because behaviors at home are reaching high peaks.
No Easy Answer
There is no easy answer to the questions I have daily. I guess the only easy solution is not to drink while pregnant. For the love, not while breastfeeding, and if you are super extra, do NOT put it in a child’s bottle. Yes, that is done all too often.
This book is not the be-all and end-all in FASD. It does give a different perspective that I needed to see at this point in my life. I will reread it tomorrow and probably the next day. Also, the school needs a copy. They have zero clues as to the effects of alcohol on a child. Oh, that is for another day to blog about because I am still fired up.
For now, I will encourage you to pay attention. If a behavior is a constant pattern, it is likely not defiance. It is something deeper. This book can be geared toward those with neurological deficits and those without FASD.
There will not always be facial features, be aware of that. Kids from hard places that are adopted; learn as much as possible. I’m not saying do not bring them into your home. I am saying, however, to become a student. Watch. Get them and you into therapy. Read, learn, and implement what you know.