Oct 7, 2011

Drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes and doing drugs while pregnant-

Sometimes the report that gives me a list of “keywords” that brought readers to my site is not always filled with funny phrases, sometimes they are just heartbreaking. This morning one of the phrases listed was, “help I am pregnant and an alcoholic.” God knows she did not find help on my site since surely the web search led her to me because I talk so fondly of alcohol and this is a pregnancy site, sorry. All I wanted to do was find the reader and talk to her, tell her I understand and to just fight the cravings, be strong for the baby. Of course, I have no idea who she is, nor will I be able to find her, but what I can do is write to her and every other expecting mother going through this.

The life we lead up until the day we get pregnant is just that, our own life. While some behaviors may be very self-destructive it’s still our life, our choice, so stick it if you don’t like it, right? However, the day we get pregnant the life we lead becomes “our” life in a whole new way, you immediately become a mother and start the very difficult and important task of protecting our child from harm. It’s time to make some changes and fast! Totally easier said than done I know.

I was a 16-year smoker and a 12-year social/weekend-warrior drinker when I got pregnant. Addiction is a serious disease and for some of us predisposed to addictive behaviors (children of addicts) it can be very difficult to break the cycle. Don’t blame yourself, just have faith in your inner strength and fight like you have never fought before. This Too Shall Pass!

I was about 5 weeks when I found out I was pregnant and had smoked and drank heavily right up until finding out. Thankfully, I was able to quit drinking the day I found out and truthfully, it took about a week to fully give up cigarettes. My doctor assured me that the baby is fine and was not affected my drinking and smoking. I think we all know that some women drink, smoke and do drugs right through their pregnancy. Those same women are also facing the almost certain reality of not only having their baby born addicted to the drug, but also losing the baby, possibly indefinitely.

Side note: Recently, I was shocked to find out that my baby could be born addicted to caffeine if I didn’t continue to limit my intake. He will be born cranky and irritable, just like his mommy in the morning. I clearly still have some work to do myself.

All of that being said here is my reality…

I won’t even lie, I LOVED smoking. I never tried quitting in all the time I smoked because I didn’t want to. I loved those damn cancer sticks, still do, kind of… However, I was very fortunate that the smell of cigarettes started making me very nauseous, so quitting was not that difficult. My husband smoked too, and it was much harder for him to quit. He had to use an electronic cigarette to quit sanely and still kiss me good night. Honestly, I am still addicted and wish all of the time that I can have one to “take the edge off.” I was so blessed to easily quit so going back now, in my opinion, would be foolish, in addition to being extremely detrimental to the health of my unborn baby.

In regard to my drinking… while I can say I haven't had a drink since finding out… I can remember the first time I had a serious craving for a drink while being pregnant, I was 14 weeks and 2 days. It was ironically the day I bonded with the baby at the church picnic. The craving actually came much later that day when my husband and I were walking the streets of our neighborhood checking out the devastation the windstorm had caused. All I could think was dammit I need a drink! It really surprised me after all that time that I would have a very clear craving for alcohol. But, alcohol was another coping mechanism to “take the edge off.”

Sometimes when I am feeling low and depressed I certainly think of giving into to the cravings and partaking in unhealthy self-destructive behavior, then I think of my innocent baby. I try to imagine putting that cigarette in my baby’s mouth or putting alcohol in his bottle. OMG! I want to cry at the thought, but it does the trick every time! It’s nine months out of my life to devote to the most precious blessing I will ever have in my life. I want to feel and remember every single bit of it, good and bad. Drugs and alcohol will steal that from me.

I also believe in the saying, “that which does not kill you will only make you stronger.” I am an adult and a mother, it is time that I learn how to deal with stress and have a great time out with friends using only the natural abilities I have been given… even if my husband and friends are having what looks like the best damn Oktoberfest of their Lives!

My heart breaks for you if you are struggling with addiction. Just remember it is a disease and you are not to blame, unless of course you do nothing to fight the addiction and save your baby from the pain of withdrawals. It takes hard work and determination to beat any demon, but you can do it! If you are looking for help while you are pregnant, believe it or not you are already an amazing mother, and I have so much respect for you. You are fighting a very difficult battle during an already scary and stressful time. Talk about what does not kill you can only make you stronger… you will be a rock-star-brick-shit-house in the end.


Please email me if you want to talk, or need help finding help in your area, I promise not judge you and do everything I can to help you.

Two confused parents=One amused baby Hopelessly we are trying raise a baby who is clearly smarter than both of us. April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit AprilMcCormick.com

6 comments:

  1. Such an interesting coincidence, yesterday at my appointment the health dept. was showing a video on addiction while pregnant in their waiting room. It was produced by the state of Kentucky, not sure if it can be found on-line.

    Addiction is very serious and can NOT be handled alone. If you are pregnant and an addict please get some help. Just this year a woman was convicted of murder because her cocaine addiction led to the still birth of her baby. While I do not agree with this verdict and I feel it is a crime against women to prosecute them for miscarrying, it is a scary legal reality in some states.

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  2. Here is a link I found to a helpful article. I would guess your doctor would be the best place to start to get help. And according to this article, some states are required to test pregnant women for substance abuse.

    http://health.howstuffworks.com/pregnancy-and-parenting/pregnancy/issues/addiction-while-pregnant.htm

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  3. I love your blog, I read it everyday, I'll be honest I was SO sick in the beginning and you helped me feel ok about well being a little pissed off about it! Your blog today was amazing and so inspiring, some people are so quick to judge a pregnant woman doing anything "wrong" especially things like what you talked about today, I think you will help a lot women not only with addictions and such but help them to be more understanding of others situations. Thank you.

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  4. Thank you so much Anonymous!

    I am so happy that I was able to help you feel good about feeling crap. lol! I am also thankful for your kind words, I really write first and foremost becuse I love it and it helps me, knowing I help you makes it over the top wonderful! Now, if I could really encourage one person to be more understanding I feel I will really help 100. Judgmental people hurt so many with their attitudes and judgements, a little understanding can go a LONG way!


    All the very best to you and yours,

    April

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  5. Jst read this post-n believe me- I so needed 2 read it.. I am pregnant n overjoyed about it but I am Aldo fighting Addiction.. It is EXTREMELY hard for me n I'm under great depression becuz of it.. But yr words were inspiring.. I mos def need some help but feel I have no where to turn becuz I'm so ashamed n I Dnt wanna go 2 jail or b judged behind it either :'(
    I jst feel down rite awful..
    On a lighter note tho-I LOVE UR BLOGS!!! very entertaining :)

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  6. Dear Miss Anonymous, I am SO happy to hear my blog helped you and that you love the others! That really does make my day... no year! Trust me I completely understand your fear of being judged, thrown into jail and feeling ashamed. I promise with a little hard work those things will not happen. Remember your addiction did not pop up over night, nor will it go away over night. You have 9 months to make some great changes to your life for you and your baby. Just take it one day at a time, and sometimes one minute at a time is best. You can do it!

    Please do not hesitate to email me. I will be happy to talk you through this and find you, non-judgemental, help in your area. tiredofbeingpregnant@gmail.com

    All the very best to you,

    April

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