A Parents Journey: Recovery and Motherhood

817 Words4 Pages
Sensitivity to family diversity within the field of education is integral for schools and teachers to better support the identity formation and needs of their students. Much of the literature that exists on this topic tends to focus on becoming aware of issues related to language, culture, gender and socioeconomic status and often how these can intersect with each other to create varied and unique situations. While topics of partner violence and substance abuse may be intertwined with these themes, they are not always the focal point of discussing family diversity.
However, as educators when we are faced with such themes, particularly substance abuse in the home, we may find it hard to view it in context and may instead limit our focus to the health and well being of the child. How does this disrupt the well being of the family? And how can we, as educators, support both the well being of the child and family when parenting under duress? These are questions I came to ask myself after interviewing Stella about parenting and diversity.
I came into contact with Stella through a mutual friend and knew very little about her before interviewing her. As we took our seats, Stella explained to me that when her daughter had been born Stella had been using drugs, was homeless, and in an abusive relationship. As a result her mother now has custody of her daughter, Drew, though Stella has visitation rights. She then asked, “Do I still meet the criteria?” I was taken off guard by the information Stella had shared with me, as I had not expected our interview to take this direction. However, I assured her, the only criteria, was that the individual was a parent.
Therefore, what will follow are Stella’s experiences of being a mother in recov...

... middle of paper ...

...daughter, she still carries a lot of regret and remorse. Throughout the interview Stella would describe herself as “selfish,” “lazy,” or a “terrible person.” Stella also continued to feel shame for situations that, one might say she could not fully “control.” For instance, Stella stated, “I still feel ashamed that I lived under a bridge and I was pregnant, homeless, and I was doing drugs, and I was getting beaten up.” As I reflect on the interview, I wonder to what extent Stella’s feelings of shame and guilt had been impacted by the stigmatizing discourse which tends to blame mothers who use substances and/or who are in abusive relationships (Greaves et al., 2002). As well, if her experiences of feeling judged and stigmatized had impacted Stella’s confidence and self-efficacy in her mothering abilities, her recovery, and her transition back into her daughters life.
Open Document