Through Faith and Maternal Instinct...

on Sunday, 13 May 2012. Posted in Voices in Recovery, Breaking News

Mothers and Addiction

The maternal instinct is fierce, as many of us mothers who have struggled with addiction can attest to. According to, 25-year-old Meredith Winn will soon be a mom, and her fierce motherly instincts have taken over, giving her drive and hope.

When Meredith first got pregnant, all the heard was "get an abortion." She was homeless, and had a history of substance abuse. The man who fathered her child is twice her age, unemployed, and addicted to drugs. Meredith said, "It's easier to say that when you don't carry a child. There is a living being with a beating heart inside of me."

Meredith had been sober for over a year when she found out she was pregnant. When she first met her child's father, she thought was was steady and secure. He began sliding back towards addiction, and Meredith left him. She said, "I left him to protect my baby." Being pregnant had given her hope and the desire to do right for her child, but she had no support. She remembers, "I cried every day. I was completely overwhelmed, and I needed a place where I could think clearly."

She fled to the Women's Center in New Bedford, Massachusetts. A counselor there advised her to seek refuge with Friends of the Unborn, in Qunicy, MA, a Catholic shelter open to any homeless, pregnant women, regardless of belief. Meredith said, "My counselor told me about this place and that it was spiritual in nature."

There, Meredith found compassion, along with 12 other mothers-to-be. The women are allowed to stay until their children are a year old, rent-free, as long as they work towards self-sufficiency. Meredith said, "You're involved in GED, parenting, and nutrition classes. You take Bible class and your self-esteem grows. You learn and practice and you feel better about yourself. The main focus here is yourself and your baby, and there's time to think about your future."

This is the only faith-based shelter of its kind in Massachusetts, and it operates solely on donations. The women who come here have been abandoned by their babies' fathers, or thrown out by their families. Meredith feels that vulnerability and terror drive many women to have an abortion, feeling they have no choice. She said, "I needed a safe place to come to terms with the fact that I have a living thing inside of me, and figure out the best future I can have for this child."

Meredith earned a college degree in Florida, but her plans to further her studies were derailed by substance abuse. Today, she remains sober, and is working towards achieving higher education.

Meredith talks about seeing her baby in an ultrasound at 16 weeks, "I started bawling, it was unreal. He looked like a little man, he had fingers. Before that, at two months, he looked like a little cashew. I fell in love with him." Her desire to create a good life for her son has strengthened her faith. She said, "I ask for help. Only God is in control, and that brings me a lot of peace and happiness."

Meredith feels like faith and maternal instincts are transforming her life, even though the odds seemed stacked against her. She credits Friends of the unborn for offering her a safe haven to grow mentally an spiritually to become the best mother she can. Meredith said, "You have yo love yourself to love somebody else. God comes first. Then it's me and my baby, and now I feel I have the strength to love him."

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