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I was so sad to hear of the passing of Pip Williams, the founder of the European Birth Mother's Network.

I first met Pip when I started out my PhD project and she got in touch with me to ask if I wanted to go for a coffee to discuss my research, so we met at the British Library cafe and we soon bonded over our love of beautiful fonts and participatory research. I came away from that two hour long meeting with the feeling that my brain had been thoroughly switched on. Never had I ever discussed SO much with one person so profoundly in such a short amount of time. She had an amazing mind. Such depth of knowledge on everything from education policy to epigenetics.

The last time I saw her was at the FASD EU conference in Berlin. We were getting the same flight back home and she told me that she was ill, but it is nothing to worry about and can I help her with her application to start an MSc in psychology. She was so positive. It's so sad.

I have recently been in touch with a few of you regarding the first bit of work to come out of this project. The questionnaire that you completed was made up of:

The Child Sleep Habits Questionnaire,

The Child Behaviour Checklist,

The Spence Children's Anxiety Scale, and

The Behaviour Rating Inventory for Executive Functioning.

It is a LOT of data to get through, but somewhere in there we can find out with a fair amount of certainty what role sleep plays in childrens' emotion and behaviour.

I have put the Child Sleep Habits Questionnaire and the Spence Children's Anxiety Scale into a statistics calculator. Because of the huge numbers of people who responded (thank you once again), we can see a number of correlations between sleep and anxiety in children with and without FASD.

In fact we can even make a regression calculation (calculate how much sleep can create how much anxiety).

The results were that sleep problems can predict around 30% of the anxiety in FASD, and around 20% of the anxiety in typically developing children.

In particular, separation anxiety had the biggest effect on sleep in children with FASD.

Suppose you have a new baby, and your obstetrician is telling you about the neonatal exam. He says that you have a beautiful healthy baby boy, but there are a few things you should be aware of, as new parents.

“Frequently your baby is going to go unconscious… and be unresponsive to normal stimulation. The frequency of these … unconscious attacks … will gradually decrease to one a day by the time he goes to school, but they will last throughout life. Periodically throughout unconsciousness, he will be paralysed except for some jerks and twitches, his eyes will dart back and forth and his heart and breathing rate will get irregular. As he gets older he will get hallucinations during these episodes. he will hear voices and see things that aren’t there. Some of these things will be very strange, and maybe even terrifying, causing him to sit up and utter screams of fright - but not a problem, because this condition is also characterised by total amnesia. The chances are that he wont remember most of these terrifying episodes.”

So you as a parent might think what? Amnesia… attacks of unconsciousness… paralysis… jerks and twitches…. hallucinations? Eyes darting back and forth?

To which the obstetrician says “Oh not to worry. Its just this thing, and its called sleep.”

We spend a third of our lives in this state. Yet, modern medicine still cannot definitively tell us why.

- Matthew Walker, Why We Sleep (2017).