Mom with FASD fights intergenerational trauma: 'I chose my kids'

'I chose my kids'

A Vernon mother says she is being forced to move out of town due to lack of supports.

The woman suffers from fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, and her family has a history of drug and alcohol abuse. But, she says that ends with her – she doesn’t drink or do drugs.

The mother says she’s faced discrimination because of her family name. When people hear it, they expect her to be the same as her parents.

“I changed so much, like I was an alcoholic when I was 13, until I got pregnant with my oldest when I was 18 years old – and that's when I chose my kids,” she says.

“I said, you know what, enough is enough, I changed that family dynamic where I chose my kids.”

She’s raising four kids and says, due to her disability, she needs support to be the best mom she can be.

Two of her children also have disabilities, one with autism and one suffering complications from having meningitis as a baby.

The woman says support workers have been asking her why she doesn’t just move in with the father of one of the children. But as a woman who’s fled domestic abuse more than once, she’s hesitant to jump into anything.

“What's the point of having support workers if I'm not being properly supported?” she says.

The woman doesn’t want to leave Vernon, it’s her home. But with no support and the cost of living going up, she says it’s impossible to stay.

She was previously in a homeshare funded by Community Living BC, where she could be supported and taught how to raise her kids with her disability. But she was told there was no more funding available.

When that lapsed, a kind neighbour took the family in, but now they need to be out by the June 20. With her own mother recently evicted, she has no options left.

She plans to take her children to Campbell River, to be near or live with her father. She says his house doesn’t have much room, and she’ll most likely be crashing on the couch unless she can find supportive housing there.

What the woman finds odd is that when she reached out to CLBC in Campbell River, they said they’d be able to help her out.

A spokesperson for CLBC said they were unable to determine what's going on without more information on the case, but says urged the woman to "meet with CLBC staff in the office in her community."

The mother says she feels it’s impossible to receive support here, or even housing.

“Single-income families are definitely going down the hole … it's like you have to both be working parents and then (there’s) not enough childcare.”

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