Using Drugs While Pregnant

Using drugs while pregnant

Everyone has a strong opinion about those who continue to abuse substances while pregnant.   Even those who suffer from the same disease.  Drugs aside,  women are hard on each other.  Mothers are even worse.  Mothers judging one another is out of hand when drugs aren’t in the picture.  We have all been guilty of it in some way or another.  “OMG, JoAnn lets Jake drink apple juice, it’s full of sugar,  I only give my girl water!” said one of the perfect moms in my family.  You would think I was giving him heroin or something.  Add drugs to the situation, and everyone becomes judge and jury.

Imagine you are suffering from the disease of addiction and find yourself pregnant.

We aren’t talking about smoking pot or drinking now and then.  Your drug of choice is opiates.  It doesn’t matter what form you take them in, pills or heroin.  If you wind up pregnant, you have a serious problem on your hands.  If you are an addict that used opiates ask yourself.  Would you be able to lay the drug down?  It’s true that some women could and do.  They find out they are expecting and they stop never to look back again until sometime after the child is born.  There are a few that never touch the drug again.

Most in this position will end up on Methadone or Suboxone.

There are lots of expecting mothers at the Methadone Clinics in Louisville, KY where I took either Methadone or Suboxone off and on for fifteen years.  These women while waiting in line told me that withdrawal while pregnant is very dangerous to the baby.  So much so that doctors feel that allowing the mother Methadone or Suboxone is safer than quitting cold turkey.  With Methadone/Suboxone dispensed at a clinic the OBGYN at least knows what drug is being introduced to the baby and how much.  If these women were buying drugs off the street, there’s no telling what their dealer is cutting the drug with, not to mention the threat of Fentanyl now.  The clinics also drug test regularly so her OBGYN doesn’t have to bother with any of that.  In the end, the baby is indeed born addicted to Methadone but had the mother continued to use on the street the chances are too high that both mom and baby could die of an overdose.

What if there are no Methadone/Suboxone Clinics around for you to use this safety net for you and your unborn child.

Would you be able to put the drug down and walk away?  My first reaction to this question is yes!! I would just put it down no question.  The truth though isn’t that simple. There is no way I can say that honestly though.  I believe that addicts are compassionate people.  After they take drugs or drink for the first time, they discover what it is NOT to have their feelings exploding with emotion.  If an addict is in love,  IT IS dark LOVE.  If you hurt them, IT HURTS BAD.  More often than not just say sorry and give it some time.  They will forgive you.  Once we find a substance that makes a living with our immense feelings bearable, we aren’t giving it up easy.

The problem is that drugs have such a horrible stigma that now we are numbing those old emotions but are also developing massive amounts of shame and guilt because of the using.  Now we have to use more to cover those feelings up too.  If I found myself pregnant and continued to use the pain that would cause within myself would be debilitating.  Which would cause me to use and use hoping against hope to forget even for a moment the situation I was putting my unborn child in.

What happens if a woman is caught using while pregnant?

Put her in jail and throw away the key, right?  Do you think she wanted to harm her baby?  No, she didn’t.  It doesn’t matter though because in America we call Addiction a disease, but we don’t treat it like one.  If she had diabetes, one of those severe cases, while pregnant and continued to eat cookies and drink soda putting her unborn child and herself in danger no one would suggest jail for that woman.   That is because we treat Diabetes like a disease and Addiction like a moral failing.

Female addicts are some of the harshest critics of mothers who continue to use.  

We have to stop doing this to one another.  We need to stick together.  All of us have done at least one thing that we are not proud of while using.  So I had sex for money, and she used drugs while pregnant.  Who am I to judge her?  We were and are sick.  We made and make mistakes.  Why not work together?  We have enough people judging and hating us simply for using drugs.  Our people should be a safe spot.

To the mothers reading this,

Whether you have the disease of addiction or not.  STOP BEING SO HATEFUL TO OTHER MOMS.  Parents need to uplift one another.  Addicts need to remember just how hard it was to quit using and how many times they slipped up.  So what you were lucky enough not to find yourself expecting a baby in the middle of it.  Thank goodness huh, cause it’s more likely than not that you would have continued to use too.

You can never go wrong with kindness.