My Beginning was Tragic. My Ending Doesn’t Have to Be
Every year we help women in recovery provide a happy and healthy homecoming for their recovery babies via a Fill-A-Crib Baby Shower Fundraising/Gift Event! We are so pleased to have been blessed with Kayla as a member of our tribe. We are honored to be even a small part of her incredible journey into recovery—watching her reconnect with her purpose as not only a mother but a powerful example of sisterhood and service.
I met Kayla pretty early in her pregnancy and was immediately struck by how fiercely she works to remain on the path she’s on. She is determined to regain all that she lost in her active use and connect fully with the incredible spirit she brings to this world with her boys. Kayla’s honesty, positivity, and humor are a bright spot in our groups, and she is super committed to our mission of helping other women.
Below you’ll find Kayla’s story and the link to her baby registry. Thank you all so much in advance of your generosity and assistance in supporting this amazing mama and helping her provide for her family!!
Julie Maida, Sober Mommies Founder
My story has been very traumatic since the beginning because I was born dependent on heroin and placed in foster care. My birth mother tried numerous times to get clean and get me back and each time she relapsed, I was put into another (and sometimes worse) situation.
I thought I’d finally found a permanent home when I was adopted, but when I was ten years old, my adopted dad committed suicide after he sexually abused me.
As a result of my early years and as the child of an addict, I suffered from various mental health issues including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I wasn’t the most well-behaved child, and despite “permanent” placement, I ended up in numerous group and foster homes. I never took the help from these places seriously and felt like I was worthless.
I started drinking alcohol at a young age because I saw other people get “happy” when they would drink.
My drinking didn’t start off as, “normal teen drinking.” I drank alone, just to get the drunk effect because I didn’t want to feel any feelings. I would go to school with a water bottle filled with alcohol, stolen from whatever home I was in. No one would notice because I didn’t drink until I was belligerent—just enough to get outside of myself.
As a high school senior, I started a very unhealthy relationship and, after a couple of months of dating, I found out I was pregnant with twin girls. At four months pregnant, I walked across the stage at my high school graduation and received my diploma. It was one of the best days of my life.
Within days of my graduation, the babies were diagnosed with twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS). Two surgeries and a few months later, I was told that the girls would not survive because of the complications. I was crushed when I found out I would no longer be the mother I wanted to be.
At 18 years old and after living a life of pain, trauma, and disappointment, I was ready to give up on life altogether. To cope, I started experimenting with drugs.
After a while, I became pregnant again. Things were great and we ended up welcoming a baby boy. I didn’t notice the signs of postpartum depression but found myself drinking heavily again — and alone. My life was a roller coaster of drinking and drugs for the next five years. I started to lose everything I had due to my use.
I decided I was done doing damage to myself and I didn’t want my son to end up like I had. I checked into a detox and started my recovery journey only to find I was unexpectedly pregnant again! I knew it was definitely time to do the real hard work and get myself better. I went straight into a halfway house and graduated the program after only six months. I am now currently in a program for mothers and children, awaiting the arrival of my second son.
I may not be where I wish to be in life at 25, but I feel like I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.
I’m so very grateful to have found recovery.
This post was submitted by Kayla.
To support and contribute to Kayla’s Fill-A-Crib Baby Shower, please visit her TARGET GIFT REGISTRY.
Julie Maida lives in Massachusetts with her amazing husband and three children. She has been in abstinence-based recovery since May 2, 2000.
Julie is eternally grateful for all the gifts of recovery and fiercely determined to advocate for, and connect ALL women with the appropriate support and resources necessary to achieve their personal recovery goals. She writes about mothering with mental illness at juliemaida.me.