A Premature Birth Challenges Sarah's Sobriety

A Premature Birth Challenges Sarah's Sobriety

 “I was okay and coping for a while, but over time, I got away from meetings, the messages of recovery, and the healthy self-care practices I relied on for my sobriety.” 


The despair a mother feels when she is separated from her child, either forced or voluntary, is deep and unfathomable.

Sarah, a program participant at Her 2nd Chance, knows this despair well.

When she gave birth to her daughter Annie seven years ago, nothing could prepare her for what lay ahead. Born prematurely, Annie spent several months in a NIC (Neonatal Intensive Care) unit where Sarah was in a constant state of stress and worry, anxiously monitoring her child’s every breath. “I had no time to bounce back from the birth itself before I was thrown into an extremely traumatizing and stressful state, day after day, month after month," explains Sarah.

 At the time, she was in recovery from addiction and doing well. All the months spent in the hospital and afterward at home, hyper-focused on her daughter, would change that.

 “I was okay and coping for a while, but over time, I got away from meetings, the messages of recovery, and the healthy self-care practices I relied on for my sobriety.” 

Subsequently, a series of additional taxing personal crises, the death of her brother from an overdose, a painful divorce, and her own mother’s cancer diagnosis, sent an already vulnerable Sarah spiraling further. 

She remembers someone, at some point, offering her a Xanax to help her relax and now views that as the beginning of her relapse. Eventually, a steady stream of Xanax or opioids was the only way Sarah could get through the day. “I was functioning for a time until I wasn’t functioning at all,” shared Sarah. 

Mothers grappling with addiction endure intense feelings of guilt and shame due to their inability to maintain sobriety for the sake of their children. Frequently, they find themselves in a relentless cycle of substance use to dull these emotions. Additionally, many women serve as the primary caregivers in their families. Stepping away from this role to receive help can feel impossible.

A year ago, Sarah made the heart-wrenching but courageous decision to leave her daughter in the care of her ex-husband and seek treatment. This time, Sarah knows her healing is paramount and is taking extra time in a focused recovery environment to build a stronger foundation for herself and her child.

“Although it is sometimes excruciating to be away from Annie, I know by investing the time now. I am laying the groundwork for a brighter future for us both.  I realize now that, even with the best intentions, I made my daughter my Higher Power. She became my whole identity, and in the process, I lost mine.” 

A stay-at-home mom who had not worked in 10 years, Sarah found her way to Her 2nd Chance five months ago as a seasonal hire. After initial training, she is currently working on a project with more responsibility, utilizing spreadsheets to create and duplicate product listings for our new website’s e-commerce shop launching in a few months.

“My time at Her 2nd Chance has not only helped my self-esteem and confidence, which were non-existent, but I am learning skills and gaining experience to help me when I seek future employment. I’ve realized I love working, being part of a team, and having an identity outside motherhood.”

As Sarah explains her plans for the future with her daughter in North Carolina, a new home for them, a new school for Annie, and eventually a new job for herself, her eyes widen and brighten with hope—the despair, once heavy and prevalent, has lifted.

Your support and investment fuel our ability to provide the gift of a second chance for Sarah and her daughter, the many mothers who have walked through our doors, those still to come, and the countless children their miraculous transformations affect.

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