Substance-Dependent Women Becoming Mothers: Breaking the Cycle of Adverse Childhood Experiences.
Wiig, Eli Marie. Haugland, Bente S. M. Halsa, Astrid. Myhra, Siv Merethe.
Published: February 2017
Child and Family Social Work
Vol. 22, No. 1 , p. 26-35
John Wiley & Sons
111 River Street
Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774
Parenting may be particularly challenging for substance-dependent mothers who have grown up with parents who themselves had substance use disorders (SUDs). The aim of this study was to explore how substance-dependent mothers describe their childhood experiences with substance-abusing parents and the association between these earlier experiences and their own role as caregivers. Using purposeful sampling, mothers admitted for 1 year to a family ward at a substance abuse clinic were approached. Through in-depth, qualitative interviews, nine substance-dependent mothers described their lives in the form of present, past and future tense. The findings indicate that substance-dependent women, who have experienced SUDs in their families of origin, face several major challenges when they become mothers. Some describe having lived their whole lives ‘on the edge of society'. This makes their rehabilitation process more complex. All mothers work to abstain from substances, process traumatic experiences and integrate their family into society. They need help to build supportive social networks and to establish a safe and predictable family environment for themselves and their children. The therapeutic implications of these findings will be discussed. (Author abstract)
substance abusing parents; childhood trauma; mother child relationships; risk factors; family support systems; prevention