Title“How could I have done this?”
NameZabotka, Joelle Marie (author), LaSala, Michael (chair), Johnson, Yvonne (internal member), Munch, Shari (internal member), Adubato, Susan (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
Fetal alcohol syndrome,
Children of prenatal alcohol abuse--Development,
Women alcoholics--Family relationships,
DescriptionThe National Organization of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (2007) estimates that 20% of U.S. children with FAS are raised by their birth families. The purpose of this study was to describe and understand the feelings, coping behaviors, and thoughts of biological mothers who have given birth to and are parenting children diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). Qualitative interviews were conducted by telephone with 11 biological mothers of children with FAS. Participants were gathered through contact with the National Organization of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Results of the study revealed that almost all of the mothers reported experiences of abuse during their childhoods. Several detailed witnessing domestic violence as children as well as violence in their adult relationships. Feelings of guilt regarding the etiology of their child’s FAS were prevalent. These feelings of guilt were continuous no matter the age of the child or the length of time since diagnosis. This group of mothers found ways to understand their use of alcohol during pregnancy through reliance on: the disease model, inaccurate or incomplete knowledge of the consequences of drinking during pregnancy, the advice of others, and a lack of awareness of the pregnancy. Additionally, several themes emerged to explain how these mothers were able to cope and move forward with their lives including: spirituality, devotion to a cause/giving back, knowledge that their children needed them, and relying on support from others. Professionals in the fields of mental health, healthcare, and addictions are key in treating children with FAS and their biological mothers and in preventing future cases of FAS. Policy implications in the areas of medical education, public/societal education and ongoing funding of services are offered.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references
Noteby Joelle Marie Zabotka
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.