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Healthy Brains for Children: Stopped by a dime

A person never knows when and how they will make a difference in someone’s life. Healthy Brains for Children has a mission of prevention of prenatal exposure to alcohol, but we often do not know how and when we have an impact with our programming. We know that making the difference in one child’s life is worth all our effort and when we hear stories such as Rebecca’s, we realize our efforts are seeing results. Rebecca’s beautiful child now graces a poster developed by Healthy Brains for Children, Grand Rapids Chapter. How different the outcome could have been if Rebecca’s mother did not tell her the Dime Story.

Rebecca’s Story
It all started on a little road trip with my mother. She began to tell me about this book she was reading after listening to the author talk about his work. I already was not interested. Then she handed me a dime and told me to look at President Roosevelt’s ear.

I took the dime in my hand and rotated it to see this ever-so-magnificent ear my mother wanted me to see. With that sincere and ever so caring motherly tone, she explained that the size of that ear is the same size as a three week old fetus. This got my attention, unbeknownst to her at the time. I was shocked and realized that at that at three weeks, most women don’t know they are even pregnant. For me, physically seeing the size of that ear, and knowing that a baby is that size just three weeks after being conceived…it really hit me.

At that moment, I realized that I was living the “college life” and drinking alcohol. I was dating a wonderful man, but having a child was not in my plan for the near future. With the image of the dime in mind, I decided to cut back on my drinking, especially until I got settled with this new birth control I was on to help control my ever growing endometriosis. My mother didn’t realize the impact that the book and dime had on me until just over two months after our little road trip, I told her that she was expecting her first grandchild. Knowing that I abstained from alcohol, I am relieved that my child will not be prenatally exposed to alcohol. Thank goodness my mother told me the Dime Story. I see that I have already been making decisions that will affect my child for the rest of her life. I have my mother to thank for opening my eyes to not just the dangers of drinking alcohol and all the usual “parental talks” that come up with the choice to drink alcohol but also for taking the extra step that I believe everyone should take and address prenatal exposure to alcohol and the affects it has on everyone.

In September, the ninth month of the year, people around the world bring attention to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. September 9 is recognized as International FASD Awareness Day. International FASD Awareness Day is commemorated to urge the world to remember a woman should not drink any alcohol during the nine months of pregnancy. Healthy Brains for Children supports this effort. We urge everyone to reach into their purse or pocket, grab a dime and tell the Dime Story to their family and friends, both male and female. Preventing prenatal exposure to alcohol is everyone’s responsibility.

The Dime Story
Look at the ear of President Roosevelt on a dime. It is the size of a human embryo when the mother’s blood starts to provide all the nutrients that grow the embryo into a fetus, starting at about 18 days into the pregnancy. Does the mother know she is pregnant? If the mother drinks, the embryo drinks.


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April 19, 2014