Recently I have seen several people share the video of the newborn babies going through detox, including addicts in recovery themselves. Most of the articles/shares are focused on the sympathy for the newborn child. Some of the comments I have read consist of things as “The mother should die”, “Why did she get pregnant if she was using?”, “Women like this shouldn’t be allowed to have kids.”, and the list just continues. For the focus of this blog I wanted to take a look at a different aspect of this article and try to help people see the bigger picture and understand the situation from all angles. While I most definitely can sympathize with the newborn I also know what it’s like to be in that expecting mothers position because I’ve been pregnant and addicted not once but TWICE! As a recovery coach, I think it’s important to look at these things closely.
So let’s take a look at this expecting mother. The first fact that we know is that she is an addict. Second off we know most addicts are struggling with some sort of mental health. Then to top it off we are dealing with a pregnant lady.
So you see everybody going around saying you can’t make an addict quit until they’re ready. Well when you take a look at this situation you’re pretty much contradicting what you are saying because the background of the situation is different from your average addict. However in reality it is not. This expecting mother is an addict and is going by that exact same mental concept. Now don’t get me wrong. You can get pregnant while using and quit the moment you find out/ YES YOU CAN, I DID IT so it is posssible. What I’m saying is this… Try to take into consideration how hard it must be for an addict to have to be in the midst of their addiction and find out that they’re pregnant and have to gain the courage/strength to say ok I’m ready to quit instantaneously.
Another thing to look at is the fact that most addicts are also dealing with some form of mental health issue. Whether it be anxiety, depression, bi-polar, etc., these mental health problems are not being addressed when the addict is out using. When the expecting mother finds out that she is pregnant, whatever mental health problems she has are running rampant because they are not being treated just currently numbed by large amount of drugs/alcohol. Lastly look at the fact that she is a pregnant women. Pregnant women whether using or not have a HUGE reputation for being emotional and sometimes unstable because their hormones are all over the place from the pregnancy.
Now let’s take a look a the facts to a pregnant and addicted women trying to get clean. What most people don’t realize is how hard it is for her to find help. Majority of state funded treatment programs are not able to detox a pregnant women that is using because she is considered high risk. Even if she has a lot of money or great insurance her options are still limited. How would you feel if you were pregnant and addicted called every state funded place in your state and every single one of them told you they couldn’t help you because your to high risk? You might be thinking can’t she just quit on her own? Well the truth is she can, that is what I did but the fact is that depending on what substances she is using its not actually safe to do it that way and she could end up hurting or even possibly losing the baby. What options do we have left possibly going to her doctor? The issue here is now the fear of law enforcement getting involved. It goes back to the whole issue of treatment not punishment. Yes I understand that there is circumstances where law enforcement should get involved but where those lines sit right now its not fare. We should have it to where if a pregnant mother reaches out for help she is met with options. Instead what is really happening most of the time is she is met with involvement from police and child protective services as well as judgement and unfair treatment from the doctor. How can you expect that this addicted pregnant mother will come forward and ask for help when she is met with such hostility?
Also to the people out there saying that these women are trying to get pregnant or she should of used birth control, you don’t know what your talking about. For the most part women in their addiction are not out there thinking “Oh I think it would be great if I get pregnant” come on use your brain. As for the birth control it doesn’t always work. Both times I got pregnant while addicted I was on birth control once was with the shot and once with the IUD.
So I guess my main point here is instead of focusing our attention on sympathizing with the newborn going through detox why not focus our attention on the problem and solution of how to help the expectant mother. Why not focus on how broken our system is when it comes to options for helping the pregnant and addicted mothers that do reach out for help. Or making it to where when they do ask for help their not met with punishment and hostility. If you really care about these newborn babies and what their going through then help get these pregnant and addicted mothers the help that they need because that is where the problem is!
If your pregnant and addicted please know that there is help for you and that recovery is possible. Don’t be afraid to ask for help reach out anytime at 725-867-7131!! We take every single phone call that comes our way.