*If you are a woman who continues to disregard the warnings about the risks involved in indulging in alcohol and drugs while pregnant, perhaps seeing the results of that behavior on a 43-year-old woman will change your mind.
Kathy Mitchell will be the first to tell you that she is not proud of the choices she made while she was pregnant with her daughter, Karli. But she is taking a brave and selfless stand today, as she brings us inside her sorrow and reveals how her now adult daughter turned out.
Karli Schrider at 43-years-old has the mental capacity of a first-grader. She lives at home with her mother and stepfather, and spends most of her days playing with the dolls, purses, and Hello Kitty accessories she has collected.
Karli has “Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder,” but her mother says because she was born seemingly “normal,” and wasn’t diagnosed with the disorder until she was about 16, she continued to drink alcohol during future pregnancies.
And consequently, two of those children died.
“My 4th baby was born and he died the day he was born. And I had a beautiful baby girl a few years after that who died when she was just a few months old. They said it was Sudden Infant Death Syndrome,” says Mitchell, but then reasons, “Well, today, with the research that’s come out, I believe both of those babies died as a direct consequence of my using alcohol during pregnancy.”
“Having a child with FASD is like wearing a scarlet letter,” says Mitchell in her courageous and heartfelt video message. “For the rest of your life you’re kind of in a position of having to confess to the world ‘yes, my child is permanently affected because I drank or used drugs when I was pregnant,'” states Mitchell.
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, or FASD, covers a range of impairments from severe, such as Karli’s fetal alcohol syndrome, to mild. Its effects can include impaired growth, intellectual disabilities and such neurological, emotional and behavioral issues as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, vision problems and speech and language delays. FASD is also sometimes characterized by a cluster of facial features: small eyes, a thin upper lip and a flat philtrum (the ridge between the nose and upper lip).
And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the disabilities “last a lifetime. There is no cure, though early intervention treatment can improve a child’s development.”
Watch Kathy Mitchell’s heartfelt and informative video directly below.