5 Things To Do If You Get Pregnant In Your First Year of Sobriety
I wanted to be a mother more than anything. I had suffered a miscarriage and was trying to get pregnant again, with no success. I was drinking and everyone close to me knew I was an alcoholic. Down deep, even I knew, but I was drowning in a sea of denial.
I got my second DUI on my 32nd birthday. Two days later, my husband told me he thought it best to wait six months to get pregnant. I wanted to get hammered but cried myself to sleep instead. I could have drank but I did not want to deal with more consequences…not that weekend, anyway.
I relapsed a handful of times over the next two months. I got a sponsor to make everyone think I was serious about sobriety and she suggested I wait a year to get pregnant.
What do you think this dry drunk did? Did I listen?
Nope! That was over seven years ago and I haven’t had a drink since, which, if you knew my whole story, you’d agree is a f’ing miracle.
So, if you’re new to sobriety and pregnant, here are 5 things I wish I had done as a pregnant newcomer in Alcoholic’s Anonymous:
Find your tribe
Find meetings you love, go to them regularly, and share so people get to know you. In other words, make friends. When the baby comes, you’re going to need those friends. They will remind you that the shit show which is now your new normal is nothing compared to what your life was like when you were drinking. No amount of alcohol will make parenting any easier.
Take your time finding a sponsor
Don’t just ask anyone who raises their hand to sponsor you. Get to know your peers in the rooms by listening to their shares. Look for someone who you hear speak and think “I want what they have.” Until you find that person, ask someone to be a “temporary sponsor” who can at least get you started with the 12 Steps. Who knows, they may connect you with “the one!” This way, you will have an accountability partner (and cheerleader)—which is vital when you are new.
Focus on the similarities—not the differences
Some of you reading this may not be in full acceptance of your alcoholism yet. Maybe you’re still “figuring it out.” First of all, that’s normal and okay. Second of all, I soooooooo get it. That was me. When people talk about their lives related to alcohol, focus on the things that you can relate to and not the things that you can’t. Listen to people’s stories that sound like yours. I guarantee you’ll have your answer if you are honest with yourself.
Try to do all 12 steps before your baby is born
My sponsor suggested this and I made it through nine. I half-assed it all, paying zero attention to the importance of the last three steps postpartum. Again, don’t be like me. The 12 Steps aren’t only designed to get you sober, they are considered a “design for living” to help keep you sober…and so much more. Stay open. Stay willing. Do the work and you will find out exactly what I mean.
Plan to get to meetings after the baby is born
This is where your sponsor and tribe come in. Ask if they can bring you a meeting once a week for a while. Do whatever you can to stay connected to your recovery program—get babysitters, find babysitting meetings, and bring baby to women’s meetings if you have no one to watch them. We looooooove babies. We’ll hold your baby. We’ll love on your baby. We’ll try to steal your baby. Ahaha, I kid. But seriously though, accept help when it is offered. Most importantly, whether you’re married or not, communicate your needs and expectations to the father of your child. This can get dicey, not gonna lie. I guess it all depends on the health of your relationship, hence why I cannot stress enough the importance of #1 above.
Getting sober is so much more than putting down the drink. I did not take my recovery seriously and after baby number two, I started to experience emotions that I never had before. It was beyond overwhelming.
A lot of meltdowns had to happen for me to realize that I was not emotionally sober and everyone was suffering because of it—much like when I was drinking.
Do I regret getting pregnant in my first year of sobriety? Of course not! God did for me what I could not do for myself. Had I not gotten pregnant, I would have relapsed countless times over. I was not done drinking and my daughter saved me from myself. That said, had I put more effort into my recovery the first year, I know I would have been better equipped with tools to handle life when the baby arrived.
Being a mother is hard as fuck. I cannot imagine doing it drunk. So if you are in your first year of sobriety and motherhood is in your future, as my mom used to say to me: do I say, not what I did.
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