Motherhood, by Leigh. Candidate for Graduation 2021

My baby girl came into the world dramatically. She weighed two pounds when she was born. I had relapsed during my pregnancy. I bled out and woke up to the news that I had premature baby whose needs would be special.

She was my fifth child. My first child, a beautiful son, had been raised by my mother, the next three were adopted. Meleia came into the world tiny but with so much love to give. I loved being her mom. She was my motivation for staying clean for several years, even when my mother - my best friend and biggest cheerleader - was diagnosed with stage four cancer, I felt so good about stepping in as caregiver to my son, mother and daughter during my mom's illness. I liked being capable and in charge. I was proud of being able to handle all of these things at one time. 

When my mom died, I tried so hard, but her death was one more trauma in a long line of other traumas. I missed her and needed her and I felt like I just couldn’t go on without her. I was the most hopeless that I had ever been.

That relapse was a big one. I lost custody of Meleia to my brother and his wife. I was angry. I wanted to be angry at him, but I knew that he was doing what was best. Through my process of recovery and trauma therapy it has become even more evident to me that he was, and still is, on my side.

The court had ordered that I wasn’t allowed to see Meleia. What was best for her at the time felt like a life sentence to me. There were a lot of dangerous choices before me and I wanted to make whichever one would stop my pain. How I lived through those days is nothing short of a miracle.

Eventually, I called Shelia, a friend I had known in my addiction who now worked at Thistle Farms and was a graduate of the residential program. When Shelia explained that Thistle Farms Residential was a two year program, I wasn’t interested. I needed help, but I needed to get my daughter back, I didn’t feel like I had time for a two year program.

Well, Shelia is a pretty effective salesperson. As it turns out, two intensive years at Thistle Farms Residential was exactly what I needed to begin my journey of healing. My family sees the growth in me now and that is one of my greatest joys. Inch by inch, I am gaining back the right to see Meleia and talk to her. We Facetimed this morning and when it was time to hang up we just decided to stay connected and carry the phones around with us as we got ready for our day. That connection is my lifeline. Our lives have not always been spent together, but the bond between a mother and child are stronger than anything that may separate them. I look forward to building a beautiful future now with both of my children. 


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