Babies born to mothers abusing drugs or alcohol face an uphill, sometimes losing battle from day one. If you're an addict and recently discovered you're pregnant, you have to act quickly to save your baby from what could be a tragic fate, not to mention finally taking action to help yourself get clean.
How Your Addiction Will Harm Your Baby If You Don't Get Help
Beyond wanting to help yourself break your addiction, your baby really needs you to stop abusing substances now. Depending on what you're using, your baby could be born premature, addicted, in withdrawal or with a physical or mental defect that would impact their life forever.
Drugs and/or alcohol can even end the life of the fetus developing inside of you, in addition to the numerous complications of being exposed in the womb. From fetal alcohol syndrome to being born tiny and vulnerable, you have to act now to protect the baby, along with wanting to help yourself heal, too.
There is no better time than right now to decide that you've had enough self-abuse and failures in life as a result of your addiction, whether related to drug or alcohol use.
How To Choose What Type Of Treatment Is Best For You
After deciding that you must do something about your addiction, the next step is choosing the type of program that's right for you and your individual circumstances. Because you are pregnant, there's a greater urgency to stop the addiction and get you on the road to recovery faster; however, different types of programs are designed for different levels of addiction, along with other influential factors. Outpatient treatment may be right for you, according to the following.
- Your addiction isn't severe or debilitating, meaning you can cope with the outside world and going sober simultaneously, without constant interventions.
- You're likely to benefit from the support of family and friends, in an outpatient setting.
- You need to work and, therefore, can't commit to a full-time, inpatient setting.
Other circumstances may guide you to one decision or another regarding inpatient or outpatient care, but you may be advised to seek inpatient care, if the following applies.
- You are physically dependent on a substance, making independent abstinence from it extremely difficult.
- The risk of relapse is too great and threatens the well-being of your unborn child.
- There are too many temptations and triggers around you, meaning you're more than likely to be prompted to use again.
- You've tried outpatient treatment and it was not successful.
It's frightening to try and quit alcohol or drugs on your own, even more so when you're faced with the added pressure and responsibility that comes with having a baby, but with the right help, you can do this.
Why You Must Include Long-Term Counseling
Structured counseling will help you build the confidence you need to resist going back to the substance(s) you were abusing, opening the door to a whole new life. There are different approaches a counselor might take with you depending on the substance you abuse, how long you've been on it, and the reasons why you turned to that substance in the first place. Most especially, if some life trauma drove you to drugs or alcohol, like childhood abuse or a family history of dependence, you need the constant oversight counseling can provide in keeping off the substance and addressing those underlying issues. No matter what brought you to the current circumstance of your addiction or what type of counseling you opt for, the goals will be the same.
- Independence, both in terms of breaking your dependency on the substance and of learning to live on your own.
- Self-confidence, which is understandably obliterated by substance abuse.
- Self-care as a stepping stone toward clean, independent living, along with benefiting your unborn baby.
- Dealing with past trauma and treating your emotional scars so you won't be "self-medicating."
- Relaxation techniques so you can effectively cope with the various stressful situation life throws at you, without leaning on substances.
Long-term counseling can help keep your addiction under control, decreasing the likelihood of relapse and giving you and your baby a chance at a healthy, happy and productive beginning. Both for you and the unborn child, making the long-term commitment to counseling means always having someone who listens, understands without judgement, and can guide you away from the self-abusive forces of addiction.
Dealing With The Hormonal Affects Of Your Pregnancy
Even women who don't abuse any substances can find pregnancy an uncomfortable overwhelming experience, especially considering the hormonal havoc the body goes through. Because you'll be dealing with separate withdrawal issues, including having to cope with life in general with no help from drugs or alcohol, the pregnancy is likely to be even more challenging for you.
One of the most important things you can do is be aware of the dramatic changes you're going to go through, making prenatal care and physician's appointments incredibly vital to your success. Ask the doctors about your special circumstances and how you can best deal with them, such as by eating well, sleeping as much as your body needs, and eliminating stress as much as possible. Since you're facing a double-whammy of withdrawal and pregnancy hormones, you need extra TLC all around — both you and your baby deserve it.
Starting A New Life With Your Baby, Substance-Free
Reach out for help from as many sources as you need to begin building a solid foundation from which to grow on and become the awesome mom you want to be. If needed, there should be help with food, supplies, utilities, housing, pre- and post-natal care, along with many other services. Your counselor will be able to help you find and apply for the benefits that will support you through your evolution from addiction to recovery and beyond.
Contact clinics like Evergreen Recovery Centers if you have questions about drug addiction treatment.