The experiences of mothers who raise children with fetal alcohol syndrome: a collective case study
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is an ongoing problem in the Western Cape. Marginalised and poverty-stricken communities use alcohol as a method of entertainment because it is freely available and relatively inexpensive. Due to a cycle of ongoing poverty and lack of education, many women drink large quantities of alcohol when they are pregnant or before they know they are pregnant. This causes the unborn baby to be severely at risk for FAS. There has been much research done in academic and social environments on the presentation and symptoms of FAS and of behaviour. Less research has been done surrounding the mother's experience of her FAS child, it is therefore my aim to research this gap in the research. This research study investigated the experience of mothers who raised children with FAS. Many mothers of children with prenatal exposure to alcohol feel conflict and guilt regarding their children and I attempted to find out what their general experience surrounding this was. Within this research topic I aimed to investigate the mothers' attitudes, their behaviour towards and their general perceptions of their developing child with FAS. This was viewed from an eco-systemic framework in which the mother is an integral part of different systems impacting and working together, that influence her maternal functioning. Finally, the aim of this research study was to ascertain how best mothers of FAS children could be supported. In this same process, I hoped, the mothers could learn to feel empowered to help and support their child, and in the process attempt to shift ongoing cycles of negative behaviour patterns to more positive outcomes.