As a child develops in their mother’s body over nine months, that mother’s life, dreams, and soul are also born into her baby. From lullabies that a mother hums to her child to calm her in the night, to the whispers of stories that a baby only begins to hear.
But a mother’s struggles are engraved to her child as well. Warm tears against a baby’s soft cheeks, shivering arms shaking with withdrawal. Shame. Guilt. Cravings. Thousands of mothers undergo the birth of their child in the shadow of an addiction.
“Hudson continued to use drugs until her due date. Afraid of being caught, she skipped prenatal care until a few weeks before she gave birth in her friend’s car”. An article from WBIR tells the story of Brittany Hudson, who gave birth to two children while under the influence of drugs and alcohol. It’s a realization and a fear for so many mothers, and as such, it’s important to understand what it means to give birth to a child under the influence.
Braylee was the second of Hudson’s children to be born while she was using, and the stakes were much higher for Hudson this time due to a recent bill passed in her state of Tennessee—one that made exposing an infant to an addictive substance a case of assault. Out of fear and shame, Hudson retreated to background resources and unsafe practices to ensure she could continue to get high.
When she finally sought help, she couldn’t find any organizations open and willing to take her and her baby in. “A door would get shut in my face and I would feel like I failed, like it was hopeless,” Hudson recounted. Eventually, her worst fears came true. Her child was born addicted. She spent her first days in the NICU. Braylee was taken from her mother by Children’s Services and the trauma of the separation sent Hudson further down the path of addiction. Fueled by a worse and more desperate craving, Hudson broke into a home, hoping to scratch together some heroin. While her daughter was out of her hands, Hudson was cuffed and sent to jail for weeks. “I detoxed on the floor and prayed to God to take all this away from me,” she said.
When a child is born dependent, especially on an opiate such as heroin or painkillers, it’s essential that the child receives professional care immediately. There are certain steps needed to be taken in order to help the child overcome the withdrawal symptoms as safely as possible. We believe it’s important that a baby and mother are given an opportunity to recover together. We focus on helping mothers overcome their addictions so they can be there for their families and themselves. If you or a loved one are in need of help in recovering from an addiction, call us today. We can help.