Mothers of the Retarded

  • Norman R. Bernstein
Part of the Women in Context book series (WICO)


Almost all mothers fear a defective child. Today such fears are amplified by the news of possible causes of mental retardation, concern about food additives, phenylketonuria, radiation hazards, and fetal alcohol syndrome, as well as by widely disseminated media reports on genetic counseling, Down’s syndrome, and the hazards of nitrites, ordinary medications, and dietary patterns. Much unassimilated information contributes to the vague apprehension that terrible things can happen to a fetus. Folk tales about sex during the final stages of pregnancy and about youthful indiscretions still cause people to become fearful about producing retarded children. In addition, some individuals may worry about having relatives who are intellectually handicapped or who had abnormal births. Brewer and Kakalik (1979) estimate that currently in the United States there are nearly 3 million retarded youths age 21 or younger.


Genetic Counseling Mental Retardation Normal Child Handicapped Child Fetal Alcohol Syndrome 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Norman R. Bernstein
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryHarvard Medical SchoolCambridgeUSA

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