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Is it Child Abuse?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
I've known this friend of mine for about a year. She is pregnant and due in early October. The problem is that she smokes three or four times a day and sometimes drinks beer with her husband. The husband dosen't tell her anything. I am very concerned. I've told her several times that drinking and smoking are bad for the infant. She should know. she is an american woman whose been through high school. She should know the harmful effects of smoking and drinking.
Oh sure, she tells me the doctor told her about all the safe medicines she can take and she is careful about that. But no, she won't stop smoking or drinking. Sometimes I find her drunk. And she askes me if one beer is bad. I told her she didn't have just one. I believe the baby is doomed. She never listens to me and I get very about it.
A couple of weeks ago, she went to get a check up and the doctor told her that she didn't gain alot of weight during her pregnancy. I know that a woman can gain alot of weight(Like me!). Her stomach is a small ball. And I think the doctor is going to do another ultrasound on her. I know why she isn't big. Its because of her smoking and drinking. Do any of you consider it child abuse and if it is, I can report her to child welfare? She will be upset about this, but I am concerned about the baby. I am afraid if she is abusing her right now with the smoking and drinking, things could get worse when the child gets older. I don't care if I lose the mother's respect for me. I love children, and I hate when I hear about horrid things done to them. Have you guys read a book called a Child called IT? It is a very sad and true story about child abuse.
post #2 of 23
First of all I agree she should not be drinking! My doctor has said a glass of wine will not hurt. I do not drink at all. She can cause Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in her baby if she is getting drunk and/or drinking all the time!

As for smoking(go ahead and fire blob me)it is hard to quit! I smoke and I am pregnant. I smoked with my last pregnancy last year and my baby is fine. My doctor tells me he would rather me smoke now than around a newborn. We did not smoke in the house until she was a year. And we do not smoke in the same room where she is.

My daughter was 8lb. 6oz. And with the baby I am pregnant with now I have gained alot of weight. The doctor also told me that quitting smoking cold turkey can harm the baby. I have cut down on smoking but no I have not quit and my doctor is fine with that.
post #3 of 23
Simon's Mommy is right...It is very hard to quit. I smoked(still do) when I was pregnant with my kids. I did cut way back on them, though. I was told and had read about all the bad effects to the baby and all that. Both my girls were normal weight when they were born and had no developmental problems. My oldest has a 4.0 grade average and her sister isn't far behind. I have friends that "did everything right" and some of their children have physical deformities and asthma, ect. I'm not saying it is right to smoke when you are pregnant...I know it's bad for me and everyone around me. I'm just saying that, in my case, everything worked out fine. Maybe I was just lucky!
post #4 of 23
Nena.....I can certainly see why you are concerned!!!!!!!!! I enjoy my beer, but once (and if....hopefully) I get pregnant....I will NOT touch a drop of alcohol!!!!!! This is very harmful for the baby!!!

As far as smoking....I smoke. My friend Shannon who is pregnant with her second child, also smokes....she has cut way down, but she still smokes. I think that when (if... ) I get pregnant....I won't be able to stop cold turkey....so I will probably just cut way back, like she is doing.
post #5 of 23

First off, Drinking to excess as this person is doing is harmfull to the baby, and can cause FAS, and a slew of other things. She shouldn't be drinking as much as that, although doctors will say (not all mind you) that a little here and there wont hurt, I agree with that. If you are finding her drunk, then I think (strictly my opinion) that you should talk to the husband, if he already knows, then you really have to sit yourself down and and figure out how far your moral obligation goes... you could conceivably use the law, albeit difficult, to make her stop drinking. But again, its a big choice to make, and you're the only one who can make it.

So in essence, do I think it is child abuse.... heck yeah I do, because of the amount of drinking she's doing.

As far as "knowing" that's why she's small, you can't say that for sure... (at the risk of pissing Sandie off) My oldest son was born to his mom who smoked AND occasionally drank a glass of wine here an there... he was 8.5 lbs and you couldn't tell she was pregnant up until half way through her ninth month, grew up to be very smart, except for going into the Air Force. The second son, she didn't smoke, didn't drink AT ALL and he came out just over 6 lbs and is ADHD. Sandie smoked (not much) and NEVER drank with our daughter, went through a non typical pregnancy (very high PB) on bed rest for the last trimester, and Kylee had an average birth weight, and is VERY intelligent (Fluent reader, fluent math skills, and a fluent writer at 7). I don't mean to brag, but there is ALOT that goes into it.... one never knows...


Hope this made sense and didn't make anyone mad...
post #6 of 23
No, I don't think you made anybody mad....what you had to say was very good, in my opinion. I also was waiting for you to reply to the virus thread, I posted in yesterday, could you check that out real quick? Thanks!
post #7 of 23
I did.... and .. thanks..

post #8 of 23

Here's my schtick on the whole thing. I never drank or smoked while pregnant with only daughter who is now 25. At the age of 16, she was diagnosed with Pineal Blastoma, a lemon-sized tumor on her brainstem. The doctors have absolutely no clue as to why or how it happened. They removed 70% of it and zapped the other 30% with chemotherapy and radiation. She has been in remission for 8 years now.

Do I think that KNOWINGLY drinking and smoking while you are pregnant is child abuse, hell yes. We all have choices to make. Your friend is making her choice. She is also taking the chance of low birth weight, deformities, FAS.

One other thing, if someone has a drinking problem, there is no way you are going to convince them to quit unless they want and are ready to. Obviously your friend has her priorities screwed up and will probably be the first one to scream "Why Me??" if something should go wrong.

That is only my opinion.

post #9 of 23
Donna.....do you think that smoking...even a little bit, during pregnancy is child abuse? I am not starting an argument here...you know I love you, and respect your opinions, but I do have to disagree on that one.
post #10 of 23
I just have to add my daughter is developing faster than most children and her doctor thinks she is doing very well. She has no problems what so ever. He has told us not to smoke in the house because it can cause ear infections. She has never had an ear infection.

As for the baby I am carring my doctor thinks it is going to be another 8lb. baby! I hope not I do not want a hard labor! Just a healthy baby.

I also do not think that somking is right but like I said before it is vary hard to quit!

Smoking can also lead to bleeding in pregnancy and premature birth.
post #11 of 23

No offense taken. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. And everyone makes choices. It's their right. If you choose to smoke during pregnancy, it is YOUR choice. It's that plain and simple. Would I want to be pregnant again??? Not on your life. Been there, done that.

post #12 of 23
I taught a kid who was a victim of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. She is hearing impaired and wears hearing sida in both ears. She also ended up qualifying for a program for the mentally handicapped. Enough said about the dangers of alcohol and pregnancy.
post #13 of 23
Smoking is bad for both mom and baby, for a number of reasons. But my mom smoked and I'm okay, and both my folks smoked when I was growing up, so maybe it isn't as critical for a relatively healthy child as other aspects are. That doesn't make it okay, just that we all have a certain capacity to handle toxins in our environment.

Drinking while pregnant is truly dangerous for the child. I understand (though I have no proof) that even one drink taken at the critical moment can cause mild FAS. But can you call it abuse if the mom drinks? If you agree that a woman owns her body, eg. if you think abortion is okay, then the flip side of it is that she can drink while pregnant. Once you start saying that she cannot drink because it could harm the baby, then there is a whole slew of other things a woman might do with her body that could potentially harm the baby too, and you are on a slippery slope of public and private morality. It's a tricky area, whose body is it when the baby is still in the womb, and whose needs and desires take precedence?

Anyway, who would you report her to? I can't even think who it would be . . .
post #14 of 23
I once saw such a case in some legal TV show (can't remember which). The mother drank throughout the pregnancy and lost the baby. The state was suing for child abuse. They pretty much brought up the same arguments as Sunlion did, saying that if a woman has a right to terminate the pregnancy by abortion than she has a "right" to do that through other means. And as immoral as it might be, she cannot be convicted for that.

My mom is a smoker but she never smoked during pregnancy and I know the same is true for some of her friends. They all say that the pregnancy made them hate the smell of cigarettes. They all took it up again after the birth (very stupid IMO). I think that for some people alchohol can be just as an addiciton as smoking, so maybe she finds it impossible to stop drinking. Maybe she has a real drinking problem and needs help regardless of the pregnancy?

It's a complicated moral issue. Personally, I think it's wrong to either smoke of drink alchohol during pregnancy, but I have never smoked and hardly drink at all, so I can't pass judgement on others.

Can you maybe talk to her about it? See if you can help her get some professional help? If she's not willing to do anything about it, maybe you can talk to her husband? It's really hard to give advice as we don't know the people involved...
post #15 of 23
I don't know what Child Welfare can do while she is pregnant?? In my opinion smoking and drinking while pregnant is so wrong. When my husband and I have kids, I won't drink either (I don't smoke anyways), because I know of the consequences. I had a friend, and when we graduated she was pregnant. She smoked, and I believe she was early, but she turned out to have asthma I think that the only thing you can do is tell your friend it is wrong, but that is the only thing. Maybe like the others said.. see if she can get some counseling? Unfortunately for her, most likely her baby will have problems down the way. It is a sad fact, but if she is already been drunk fetal alcohol syndrome has probably already hit the baby. When is she due to have the baby? I think it is sad, too, that the husband is not telling her what she is doing is stupid and wrong. You'd think he would care? Maybe call Child Welfare and see what they say?
post #16 of 23

Seems like a very touchy subject. To judge her is unfair. She seems to have an addiction just like a gazillion others that smoke. I think the makers of the tobacco themselves should've thought of these things when makes another gazillon bucks on the top of what they already have...but in all honesty, I don't believe they care it's all about money.

Drinking can be another addiction with her. To be pregnant and to know that it can harm your baby and still drink it???? Sounds like she's in denial if she doesn't think it's harmful. Sad cases happen like this all around us; we are not capable of changing others and the real sad part is...some never learn.

She's lucky to know someone like you...perhaps you can make a positive impact on her life.

Good luck to you Nena.

Love, Peace &
post #17 of 23
Thread Starter 
I've talked to both her and her husband. Her husband is also an alcoholic and used to be in gangs and drugs. He is out of that, but still drinks alot of beer and hard liquor. My friend got married for the wrong reasons. She and her husband fight alot. Her husband, who comes from a mexican family and whose dad is known for hitting his wife and having affairs, is a machista. He also keeps losing his jobs. He dosen't stay there for more than a week or two. Often gets into fights with employees. They got married because my friend, Brenda, got pregnant first. All throughout the pregancy, she suffered from his drinking. When I lived with them, they would get into big fights(no hitting)with throwing things and howlering at each other. She cried alot. I don't know why they got together, she knew from the start that he is an alcoholic. She gets very depressed. I did tell her to get some counseling since she is on medicade. She does not work. Her husband things she is the one to work and when she is home, to clean and cook. I've told her what most mexican men are like. I don't know why women like her get a guy like him. If it were me, I'd sent him packing. She did leave at one time and stayed with her family for a week. Then, she came back. She didn't drink alot. One time, back in July, she was drunk. A couple of weeks ago she was drunk again. I am a very good judge of men from past experience. To those of you who are not married, don't marry ex-gang members who frequent the store for a caseload of beer. When I marry again, it will be to someone who does not drink alot and who works. Dosen't matter what type of job he has as long as he works. And he has to respect. Brenda's husband does not respect her at all.
post #18 of 23
Dear Nena,

You've brought me to tears...I'm so sorry for this person and the life she leads. I truly pray that she leaves this guy. She needs help badly. I wish that there was some agency that could reason with her. Go and see her, ya know what I'm saying? What really scares me is what happens when the baby is born. I'm sure that's crossed your mind.

She probably doesn't want to see it. She hides behind the liquor, beer or whatever it is. I'm really scared for you too. Sometimes interfering or even caring too much can cause trouble...just be careful.

Love & Peace...
post #19 of 23

I don't mean to suggest something horrible but from all the things you have mentioned it sounds like she is very miserable. Do you think she might be trying to abort the pregnancy by drinking and getting drunk? I would hate to think that but if she is feeling really desperate about the situation she may not be thinking clearly.
post #20 of 23
Thread Starter 
I don't think she can abort it because the baby is due in October.
post #21 of 23
I think that she is lucky to have a friend who cares so much. But, it's like Catarinna said..... be careful. IF you get involved too much, it could make things worse. This may sound silly, but what about writing her a letter tellin her that you are concerned about her health and the baby's health? Unfortunatley, people who are alcoholics don't see it and don't think they have a problem.... What about her family? What do they do?
post #22 of 23
1st...if you wouldn't give the substance (booze, cigarettes) to an infant, why give it to an unborn baby? When you drink or smoke the alcohol, nicotene, benzene, and other toxins pass into the placenta where it is then absorbed into the bloodstream and brain of the fetus. Therefore, whenever you drink it is like putting beer in a baby's bottle! Almost everything you ingest goes into the placenta and then into the baby.

So, the simple question to ask yourself is "Would I give this to the baby when he/she is born?" If the answer is No, then don't do it, and if the answer is yes.....

With that said, the research says that children of mothers who smoked during pregnancy are MORE LIKELY to have asthma, ear infections, be of low birthweight, have lower IQs, etc than children of mothers who didn't smoke. BUT, just because it is more likely to happen doesn't mean it is going to happen. So, you have to weigh the risks and benefits. Quitting smoking may be too difficult, so it is worth the risk to the child to keep smoking. But, if quitting smoking is not such a big deal, it is probably worthwhile to quit for the sake of lowering the risk to the baby.

I tried to keep this detached and scientific, so I am sorry if I stepped on anyone's toes. If I did, I apologize profusely!!!!!!

Oh...regarding reporting this to social services....because the baby is not yet born, it is not considered child abuse. It is only upon being born that you can abuse a child (speaking legally not morally). So, it won't hurt to make a report, but it probably won't help.
post #23 of 23
There are some states that recognize abuse in the unborn - call your Department of Social Services and ask for the Child Protective Unit and get their input.
Unfortunately - this scenerio is all too commmon.
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