Guilt, shame and redemption: coping with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

The Prevention Conversation: A Shared Responsibility Project

Annette and Daniel

Annette Cutknife holding her 13-month-old son Daniel in November 1989

The past

Annette Cutknife gave birth to her son Daniel on October 31, 1988. Right away, she knew her son was different.

“The moment he was born he did not make a sound. He didn’t even cry, he didn’t make a noise.”

Cutknife had been consuming alcohol consistently through her pregnancy. “There were no posters, there was no information really on the topic. And the myth that I had heard time and time again was that it was okay to drink after three months into pregnancy.”

As Daniel grew, it became harder and harder to pretend everything was normal. Once Daniel started going to school, Cutknife had to face the truth.

“I got confronted by his teacher. She just told me there’s something obviously wrong with him. She had a whole list of things, like cannot pay attention, cannot follow…

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