Have you ever wanted something so bad you couldn’t imagine living without it? Long before I ever thought about using drugs for the first time – I was a late starter - the thing I wanted most in life was a baby. Having been sexually and physically abused for most of my life, I had a burning desire for a little person that would love me unconditionally, a child to whom I could give all the love in my heart that nobody else seemed to want. But all the abuse had cost me the ability to become pregnant and I was heart-broken. I thought I would never be a mother and every Mother’s Day I would spend in tears and depression.
My best friend in the world offered to carry a child for me. My eggs were extracted, fertilized at the fertility clinic with my husband’s semen, and transferred to my friend’s waiting womb. My baby girl was born by emergency c-section, beautiful and absolutely perfect. I vowed to myself that I would make certain that she had the childhood I had been denied. Her first year-and-a-half was perfect. She was the best baby and I was a wonderful mother: stories, rocking, playing, lullabies…sheer bliss! Then her father and I broke up over his alcohol use and I – oh wicked irony – became involved with a man who got me started using drugs. Then we started dealing to support our habits.
Suddenly I was dropping my child off at the babysitter’s, or having someone come to my house to watch her, usually overnight when she was sleeping, while I scored, or delivered, or both, or just partied. I missed her first steps, her first Christmas program at pre-school, so many things I can never get back. But getting busted 3 times in one year brought me to my senses. When I was put on probation, I knew it was clean up or lose my daughter. It wasn’t easy; nobody said it would be. It would be damned hard. But when we used, we would walk for miles, guts cramping, muscles screaming, sweat pouring down our faces, to score some dope. I could do damned hard. I did drug rehab. I did intensive outpatient rehab. I did aftercare. And I kept my daughter.
She’s almost 15 now. You know what she told me? During all those days and nights when she was with some babysitter, all she really wanted was her mommy! She just wanted ME. Her love for me is still unconditional. Yes, she was angry at me. Again, it wasn’t easy convincing her that I would never again put drugs before her. But I have kept that promise now for over 8 years. My daughter recently wrote a paper for school about her hero. Yeah, you guessed it. ME!! She wants to grow up to be like ME!! I, of course, dream of a better life for her. But as Mother’s Day approaches, I have to admit, I’m a pretty good mother. Nobody’s perfect. We all make poor decisions at one time or another. It’s having the courage to fight for what is REALLY important in our lives that our children will remember and, hopefully, emulate. I did it and so can you. It’s hard, but we’re tough. Life is so much easier without the drugs, the sickness, the trying to score, the watching out for the police. Now I just have to watch out for myself and my daughter. Life is good.
Happy Mother’s Day!