From Breastmilk to Heroin

Posted on November 20, 2009. Filed under: Parent of an Addict | Tags: , , |

I was deliberate and intentional in raising Hayley – wanting her to have every opportunity in life.  I had an all natural childbirth with Hayley weighing in at 8 ½ pounds.  She took to the breast immediately, and was a vigorous nurser.  And although she was ‘colicky’ the first three months of her life with lots of gastric distress and refusing a pacifier or artificial nipple of any kind, she gained weight well and eventually outgrew her fussiness.  I nursed her for ~ 18 months and she didn’t sleep through the night until she was weaned.  She was a beautiful, delightful baby, who idolized her older brother, Brian.

What better start can you give a child?  I thought I had protected her health and future with breast milk, homemade baby food, no sugar or artificial preservatives/additives until she was almost 4. She was loved, and held, and read to.

Hayley later blamed her so-called ‘oral fixation’ on me – biting her nails and cuticles, smoking, maybe even her eating disorder, who knows?  A mother is always to blame, isn’t she?

So when and where did it go so wrong?  I thought I was being a good mother, but there was obviously some thing Hayley needed that she wasn’t getting.  Who knew?

I had a tortured dream last night that I was kidnapped by heroin addicts and was forced to watch them inject themselves.  Strangely, Hayley was not amongst the group – and, as revolting as they were, I was drawn to ‘these people’.  They showed me a certain level of kindness and compassion – as if I were ‘family’ – yet also seemed to find some perverse pleasure in shocking me.  I was terrified that they would make me shoot heroin myself, and my life would instantly change.  I also was afraid that I would stick myself with one of their carelessly tossed needles and become infected with hepatitis or HIV. I eventually escaped in the night, barefoot, and had to find my way home – miles away, and in an unfamiliar setting.

Babies – their innocence, potential, future . . . nothing is for certain, although I thought I could stack the odds.

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2 Responses to “From Breastmilk to Heroin”

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I did all the things you mention. I have an in-home business I fitted around the girls’ schedules so that I was available to their need for chauffeur, cook, nurse, brownie mom, class mom, team mom, etc. I either homeschooled or they went to private Christian schools (my main reason for working was to afford their educations). We immersed ourselves in a church family no matter where we moved, so that they had “family” even if it wasn’t their extended family by blood. And then we found out that our pastor’s son had turned her on to pot. And she turned him on to meth. (Pastor’s son later lived with us for two years and is a successful productive young man in a solid relationship today, and one of the reasons I remain hopeful!) We all did everything we could to provide for our childrens needs, and most of their wants!, and still, they made choices. They picked up the snake and they had a basic knowledge that they could get bitten. They had no grasp or understanding of what the result of the bite would be. These kids were wanted, cherished, provided for, privileged in many cases. And yet….. here we are today. Grieving for them and trying to remain hopeful. Never give up hope!

I can relate to this….I have this mind picture of me standing and watching my daughter waking away from me, disappearing into her world of addiction, and as I stand watching I hold my hands out and exclaim, “But I breastfed you!” I did everything you did and my daughter is lost too. There is no recipe.


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