Chapter 9: What Should you do?
After reading chapter 9 on development, you know how important the prenatal life is to the developing embryo/fetus. The medical profession has made huge leaps in their understanding of every phase of development. Today, we have a much more thorough understanding of the effects of teratogens (e.g., viruses, drugs/alcohol, radiation, etc.) in development.
I once taught a developmental psychology class at another college (I won’t say which one). A women in the class (around 35 years of age) reported to the entire class that “she drank throughout [her] pregnancy, and nothing is wrong with [her] son.” I stood in amazement, and the class gasped in unison. I was at a loss for words. Well, as it came out later in the semester, there were many things that were challenges to this woman’s son (I think she forgot the story that she told to the rest of the class in the beginning of the semester)–he had cognitive deficiencies, an attention problem, learning disabilities…… Anyway, at the end of the semester, she showed me a picture of her son, and he clearly had features of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. This child will forever be affected by this woman’s choice to drink while she was pregnant (especially during the 2 to 4 month period of development), and it is COMPLETELY AVOIDABLE.
Now, imagine that you were at party or restaurant and you saw a pregnant woman drinking–not just a glass of wine, but several alcohol drinks…… one after another. What would you think about this behavior? And, would you say something? Do you think we have a duty to protect the unborn child from this woman’s choices, or do you think this woman should be free to make whatever choices she wants until the baby is born?