A confronting report to air on prime time television shows the shocking aftermath of children now facing a lifetime of struggles because their mothers drank alcohol while pregnant.
The report, to be shown on the ABC’s Four Corners, reveals the reality of the damage caused by alcohol to unborn babies and follows three Australian families grappling with the consequences of drinking during pregnancy.
The children born to these mothers now face a devastating range of problems, from behavioural issues to learning difficulties – and best projections indicate it could affect more than half a million Australians.
Both Claire D, 25, and Seth, 31, have brain damage caused by their mothers drinking to excess in pregnancy.
Claire, while managing a lot of daily tasks herself, needs constant support.
“It was really hard trying to be like all the other kids but I just I knew I was different,” she says.
Seth says he looks and acts fine, “but nobody actually knows what goes on in my head”.
“Things that my brain does to me without me even wanting to. Makes life very difficult,” he says.
Claire H drank alcohol while pregnant. “I’m sure there’s lots of mothers out there that know that they drank. They’re too scared to come forward because it’s a shameful thing,” she says.
At Australia’s first dedicated clinic, where specialists are diagnosing and tackling Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, doctors warn that some children diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) are actually suffering the effects of foetal alcohol exposure.
The doctors caution that Australia’s heavy drinking culture overshadows the concerns we should have about women drinking alcohol in pregnancy. Watch a preview of the program here:
The report, Hidden Harm, goes to air on Monday, November 2, at 8.30pm on ABC TV .
(images via Four Corners)