As a new mother in recovery, Lori gained a huge amount of first-hand experience of the challenges motherhood brings for women either trying to get sober or intending to stay somber.

There are positive reasons for alcoholic mothers to deal with the question of sobriety; some are unique to becoming a parent. The challenges of motherhood are not unique as other moms experience them, but the risk of relapse is always present, and moms must prioritize their recovery.

Some of these challenges might include:


Setting aside time for self-care, without the support of loved ones, moms might experience “mommy guilt” for leaving their infants to get some “mommy time.” The extreme change in routine with a baby and throw off mom’s recovery plan, so time needs to be built in for a massage, exercise or just a little “alone time.”

Mental Health

Mental health issues can be exacerbated in early motherhood for reasons such as stopping psychotropic medicines due to pregnancy, hormonal fluctuations, insomnia and other mood issues such as stress. For women who drink to self-medicate in the past, early motherhood can be challenging and a trigger time as they learn to cope without alcohol.

Loss of Freedom

Drinking can be an escape. A way to forget about responsibilities for a short time. Parenting becomes an “anchor” which may lead to a feeling of being trapped. Sometimes mothers start to romanticize the “good-old-days” when they drank and partied without responsibilities.

Motherhood is constant and calls for moms to put the child first. This may lead to ignoring recovery as well as avoidance of taking the time to massage their recovery program into their new — and busier — life.

Acting Out

For many alcoholics, drinking was rebellion. Alcohol provided another path to the excitement. Motherhood is the opposite. Mom’s feel responsible for another human being and may lead some mom’s too long for the day when they could be spontaneous and irresponsible. Being a mom means delayed gratification and patience. For anyone craving immediate gratification, persons often look to other sources — such as food and alcohol.

Despite what mainstream media implies, moms are not superwomen. Moms need parenting support from their spouse, loved ones, and friends. Many moms get active in a mutual-help women’s meeting if they are unable to place infants in daycare.

Women’s meetings are attended by other women who understand the need to both take care of recovery and a newborn. They understand and can help you integrate self-care into a daily lifestyle.

Even if a women’s support group is not available, there are still things a new mom can do. Find ways to blend self-care and childcare.

A jogging stroller can allow a mom to walk or jog with the child. Yoga stretches can happen while the child is busy in an activity in the middle of the floor. A “pack and play” carrier will allow mom to cook, clean and even shower while still caring for an infant.

Child Development

Regardless of how much self-care a mom can take once her baby is born, self-nurturing should start before getting pregnant.

A woman using drugs and alcohol during pregnancy is posing risks to herself and her baby. Even the most innocent of medicinal products like over-the-counter medications must be utilized carefully. Illegal drugs are even worse. Abusing substances during pregnancy can trigger a variety of developmental problems and behavior issues in the child. Often, babies don’t survive because of the damage. Studies show that over 5,000 babies were born with an addiction to drugs in the UK. In America, the number is over 13,000.

The three biggest causes of birth defects in substance abusing moms are:

  • Alcohol
  • Crack
  • Painkillers


Alcohol is one of the most perilous substances a person can use when pregnant. There is no known safe about which can be consumed and each drink is a gamble with the baby’s health. If a woman drinks alcohol while pregnant, the fetus stands the risk of developing fetal alcohol syndrome, (FAS). FAS is a series of complications which can be composed of mental retardation, learning disorders and deformities of the extremities. Damages caused by FAS are not reversible.


Crack is another drug harmful to a baby’s development. Using crack increases chances of miscarriage, low birth weight, and physical deformities. The fetus can suffer a stroke, heart attack or brain damage. Issues which can arise following birth include attention deficit disorder and information processing challenges.


Oxycodone and related medications are samples of pill types that pregnant women occasionally abuse. Narcotic pills may damage a fetus as they affect the heat and boost the odds of developing heart conditions.

Regardless of the amount of care given, problems can develop. Having an appointment to talk with a health care specialist or even an attorney will help protect your rights should the worse case scenario occur.