This is a piece that I asked a very special person to write, she has had a rocky road, but is celebrating 5 years being clean this year, and her recovery is a testament to her determination and the beautiful person that she is. It’s all about second chances. I hope you find her words as inspiring as I do.
I was sat in the reception area of Holloway prison for the first ever time. I heard the words “you are pregnant”. There and then, I believed that this miracle was meant to happen, and this was my way out of a lifestyle of destruction. Sadly this was not the case, being in the grips of addiction is more powerful than a mothers love for her child. I was incapable of stopping using drugs, which resulted in my daughter being adopted.
This was 10 years ago and the battle I had throughout this process still feels like it was yesterday. The heartache I felt when social services drove away with my daughter in the car, knowing deep in my soul that she would never be in my care again was the most soul destroying feeling I have ever experienced. For many years in my life after I lost my child I honestly believed that I never deserved to be happy ever again. So I continued to punish myself in many different forms trying to prove that sadness, heartache, guilt, shame, self-hatred is all that I was allowed to feel. How dare I even attempt to have some form of happiness in my life. I wasn’t able to step up and be a mother when I was given the chance; I failed; so misery was all I could have.
After coming into recovery in 2012 my life started to change for the better, slowly but surely my self-worth, respect and love started to grow and for the first time in a very long time I knew that I deserved to be happy in my life. The sadness never leaves you but you learn to accept the past and not allow it to control your future.
I have grown as a person in the last ten years, but at times I can be transported into that 18 year old whose life was absolutely broken beyond repair, helpless, full of hatred for myself. This recently happened when I found out I was pregnant, and I got that heart stopping phone call from social services saying they had to do an assessment on my ability to be a parent. Logically I knew this would happen due to my past. However trying to get my head and heart to be singing off the same sheet was harder than I thought possible. I felt exactly how I felt when my first daughter was taken out of my care. I was full of fear that the past was going to repeat itself, which like I say logically doesn’t make sense. I have changed my life beyond belief, I work with young vulnerable people and their children but in that moment I was that girl who had so much to lose and the fear took over.
I am currently 28 weeks pregnant and I experience my whole pregnancy in a different way, I believe that this is my second chance to do what I couldn’t do before. Be a mother that is able to offer security, love, care, and all basic needs that a child deserves to have to have the best start in their young life. I am overwhelmed at this whole pregnancy experience that us women get to go through. Yes it is hard, scary & emotional, but at the same time it is the most beautiful, life changing, exciting & loving experience I have ever had the pleasure to be a part of. I spend hours speaking, looking, touching my belly knowing that my little girl can hear me, the love I feel is so powerful I honestly never thought I would get this chance again.
Of course at times I am overwhelmed with feelings of guilt, shame and sadness that I wasn’t able to do this the first time around and yes I do get the stick out and beat myself up. I consider these moments as a process of accepting the past, and in some weird way forgiving myself. As I am able to be so much more available for my unborn child today. Which makes me believe that if I wasn’t caught up in the lifestyle I was, I would have been able to do what I am doing now, ten years ago for my first child.
I would be lying if I said that the thought or fear of having social services back involved in my life doesn’t scare the life out of me. It does and I am okay with that today. I guess this will never leave me, once you have had involvement with the system that fear or what if will always remain. But what I do know today that whatever happens in life I am capable of dealing with anything with my head held high. I am a changed person and I am no longer that 18 year old girl lost and confused. I am a responsible adult who does her best in all areas of my life, and I will always be proud of what I have overcome and what I continue to achieve in life.
Today I know my daughters are loved beyond belief. Yes one may not at the moment be present in my life and that will always hurt. The beauty of the word hope is though one day she may be, only time shall tell. My other daughter growing away inside of me will be sheltered with a love, care & happiness. For me I get that second chance to become what I am meant to be, a mother whose whole life is devoted to her children. A dream for many years which again has now become reality. The past is the past I cannot change that but I can change my future which I made a promise to myself I would do and continue to do. My life is a beautiful gift I will never forget that.