Reflections on Mothers

Holly Dye

Just as Mothers Day has passed for yet another year the importance of motherhood is fresh in our hearts and minds. The beautiful thing about children is they are resilient and for parents, there is a rather large margin of error. In Gods wisdom, humans are created as relational beings from birth. Moms can tell you that nothing could have helped them understand how that bond would feel prior to their own experience. This love, barring issues of post-partum depression is immediate.
For the child of an addict, however, they are born into a world where they are forced to fend for themselves. Many women who used during pregnancy describe the absence of bonding despite efforts. Many were high for months of the pregnancy and report discovering the pregnancy in the late part of the second trimester. To a woman in active addiction, this child represents an interruption in life and a threat to her sovereignty as an addict. When a child is involved, professionals and others become more concerned about her substance use.
The babies are born into a situation they cannot control and they did not choose. They are placed into a world where the care they receive is hit-or-miss and the love demonstrated to them inconsistent. The children grow up with a skewed sense of right and wrong. The chaos in the home impacts all aspects of the child’s life. The child becomes a pawn in the drug world; a way to pay for drugs, a means of emotional validation, and a confidant. Children of addicts grow to feel their mother’s well-being is their responsibility. Anything good that happens feels validating and usually is related to keeping a secret that enables the use of drugs. If a child is present when a drug deal is successful they may be rewarded with new toys only to find that same item is pawned weeks later.
Children of addicts deserve to have a new mother. This can occur in a number of ways including placement with a stable, drug-free relative; placement in a safe foster-adoptive home; or temporary placement in a safe place while their mother does the work to achieve sobriety and recovery. After abstinence from drugs is achieved, the mother should demonstrate the ability to provide nurturing to her child. She should also be able to accept responsibility for all actions without blaming the use of drugs.
For more information about drug endangered children or information for using moms eager to become drug free for their health and children’s safety, please contact www.ndec-tac.org.
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