Being a Mom and Staying Sober
It is fascinating how the second one becomes a mother her identity completely shifts. Simply assuming the title, mother, can have a great effect on one’s psyche. Being a mom and maintaining sobriety are two fulltime, all-encompassing jobs. The second you become a mom you are suddenly, fully responsible for the life of another person. The risk of relapse is always present for any sober individual, and this is why it is essential to prioritize one’s sobriety to enable a sober mother to be a successful mom.
If you are a new mom who carried your own child, it is important to remember that it can take up to a full year for your body to recover from pregnancy and childbirth. Your hormones are working on reregulating, and so your moods and emotions can be off kilter. New moms are sleep deprived and exhausted and often will shove their own needs to the backburner. However, the choice to actively remain sober must be at the forefront of your mind, at all times. It is impossible to be a successful caretaker while abusing drugs and/ or alcohol.
Part of the problem with individuals who find themselves struggling with substance abuse issues and/or addiction is the toll it takes on one’s health, social network, finances…etc. The circumstances surrounding one’s struggles with sobriety can leave an individual in financial ruin, with no one to turn to. Part of becoming a mother is an innate sense of responsibility to your child. You want to protect them and provide for them. Using and abusing drugs and/or alcohol does not allow for a mother to honor this responsibility, and furthermore, it can bring significant danger into one’s life. No mother, in her right mind, wants to or will willingly bring danger into her child’s life.
For an individual with substance abuse or addiction issues, being inebriated is a type of escape from the real world. People use and abuse substances regardless of the consequences to oneself or one’s loved ones. This can cause significant strain on one’s relationships. Part of remaining sober is to maintain a community of supportive individuals. When becoming a mom, you may find maintaining relationships can be a challenge feat. Relying on the support groups or meetings that you were once used to may become difficult because of a lack of childcare coverage. It is, however, essential to practice self-care.
Regardless of if you are sober or not, everyone (including strangers) will have opinions on the choices you make as a mother regarding the wellbeing of your baby. People may comment on your choice to breastfeed, the “schedule” your child is on, or even the clothing choice you happen to have made that morning. Feel free to respond in whatever manner feels right to you, but know that whatever choice you made that people are questioning is your choice to make. Part of being a mother is making decisions on behalf of your child, and it is your prerogative to do so, no on else’s. The act of caring for your child can be incredible motivation to maintain your sobriety. Having another human rely on you for survival can be empowering and humbling.
As a mother, you are one of the first role models your child or children will have the opportunity to learn from. Being a mother in recovery is commendable, and it sets a good example for your child. Having a child is a constant reminder that you are no longer simply living solely for yourself. As a mother, you have children dependent upon you for their survival and wellbeing. With children looking up to you and watching your every move, being a mom can often inspire people to live healthy lifestyles. By living a healthy lifestyle, as a mother, you are role modeling how to be a healthy person. You are creating healthy patterns and habits for yourself and your child or children.
Drug and/ or alcohol addiction is now known to be linked to genetics. This implies that addiction can be hereditary. Therefore, it is essential, for a mother in recovery, to model appropriate behaviors surrounding her sobriety. For many obvious reasons, but also, if your child does struggle with addiction in his or her future, he or she will be able to look back on his or her childhood and have many positive memories of a sober role model. Additionally, he or she will have a strong, supportive, sober parent to guide them.