Motherhood in Recovery
“While I was sitting on the bed waiting for the test to show positive or negative, I could feel a mix of emotions fly through my mind: stress, anxiety, and anger. It is not a good time for this. Coming off of heroin and a night of partying hard, I may be forced to face the fact that I am going to be a mom while being a drug addict.”
This is a quote from my friend Sarah who is currently pregnant and in recovery. For her, pregnancy saved her life. She chose to stop using and seek help so she can be sober while pregnant, but resources for moms in recovery are few and far between.
In Massachusetts, only about a quarter of certified sober houses are for women. Only a handful of these homes allow women who are pregnant. So, when a woman goes through a recovery program and becomes pregnant, where does she go next? Depending on the how far the pregnancy has progressed, some sober homes may be an option, but those options dwindle as time goes on.
There are programs that can help a pregnant woman in recovery by matching the new mom with a mentor who can help sign her up for resources for her and the baby. One such program is Mom’s Do Care, located in Worcester, Massachusetts and also on Cape Cod. This program provides support to pregnant women trying to get off or stay off of drugs. There are different groups that the women can attend such as Nurturing Program Group and Seeking Safety Group. All of these groups are designed to help women who are either pregnant or a parent with a history of substance abuse. Mom’s Do Care also provides help with getting WIC, food stamps (or EBT, in Massachusetts), health insurance, and getting on housing lists so they can have an opportunity to live in a home without having to work to afford to pay for it.
Another difficulty of pregnancy and birth while in recovery is coping with postpartum depression without relapsing. Feelings of hopelessness that affect women after childbirth can be overwhelming. A-12 step program can really help support women at this time, especially if they are able to find a sponsor who is also a mother.
There is too much stigma and judgement surrounding this topic that keeps women trapped in shame. Sarah’s story is a testament of this. “I have met a lot of women in recovery who could not stop using throughout pregnancy and were living with immense guilt over their drug use. I want to tell them that they are not alone. Pregnancy does not automatically replace or destroy addiction. It is a challenge, but there is help out there, waiting for women to reach out! I remember not knowing how I could survive a week without using. Now, I can’t imagine risking my incredible life by relapsing.”
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, there are resources out there. Sober houses, like the ones on Sober Space, each offer something unique. Take a look at our map and get connected with someone near you! If you are interested in giving back to the recovery community and would like to open a sober house, Vanderburgh Communities wants to help you – please get in touch.