What’s your poison?
We all need something to get us through the day. Are you the type of mum who eats coffee with a spoon from the jar? Do you gorge on a block of chocolate while hiding in the cupboard? Or do you crave a vodka lime and soda? Being a mum is great. Absolutely. But, it’s also tough.
Mums Are Expected to Do It All
The idea of having it all hasn’t made it any easier. I mean WTF! Sure some Mums seem to manage from the outside. They’ve got a career, a clean enough house, and nice, well behaved kids. Oh, and a great relationship. At least, that’s the way it looks from the outside. These women watch their kids at footy practice, drive their daughters to ballet, never miss a swimming carnival and are always there when their little angel wins an award. Okay, they might be on the phone taking work calls, but they’re still clapping proudly. They are Super Mums.
But, we all have weaknesses. For all you know, these Super Mums are counting down the hours until the kids are tucked up in bed, so they can crack a bottle of wine while they finish the washing up. Or, they might be eyeing off the chocolate while their kids are pulling on their PJs. Let’s face it, even those of us who aren’t super mum’s do these things.
Then there are the mums who need a little more to cope. They’re doing their best to keep up appearances, but they’re relying on pills and powders to get through their day.
A story on News.com.au told of 25-year-old Morwell woman Penny, who smoked ice up to four times per day whilst pregnant.
There is An Ice Epidemic
We all know that ice is an epidemic. But did you picture a Mother taking ice? Yes, Crystal Methamphetamine. According to the reports, these women are turning to the drug to stay awake and get their chores done. The crazy thing is these Mums aren’t 19-year-olds who take the drug while they’re out clubbing. They’re in their 30s and 40s, and ice is often the first drug they’ve ever tried.
Meth, ice, speed or base is a man-made drug with a crystal-like appearance. It is cheap, widely available around Australia and Mums are taking the drug to cope with the day to day struggles of raising children. Ice gives users more energy, they need less sleep and it takes away appetite. It is easy to see why it might be seen as ‘A way to get through the day’.
Even scarier is the babies born with ice addiction.
When pregnant mothers are users during gestation, the baby will be born with an addiction. Babies born addicted to ice don’t sleep well, they are unsettled, unable to be comforted and suffer horrible withdrawal symptoms that make them cry endlessly. But these babies are also at risk of brain damage and other serious health complications from birth.
Ice Babies left with addicted parents are also at the most risk of dying due to lack of care.
Facts About Ice
- 16% of Australians aged 14 and over have used illegal drugs in the last 12 months.
- 28% of adults aged 20 – 29 have tried ice.
- Ice related deaths have doubled between 2009 and 2015.
- Use of amphetamines has more than doubled over the last five years.
Sure. But, it’s not the first time Mums have been caught high. Ever heard the Rolling Stones song Mother’s Little Helper? “And though she’s not really ill, there’s a little yellow pill”. That pill, Valium, was prescribed by doctors throughout the 1960s and 1970s to unsatisfied, anxious and unhappy housewives.
Since then mums have used everything from Prozac to Ritalin to over-the-counter painkillers to cope with the day-to-day pressures of parenthood. In fact, reports suggest that some women are downing up to 100 codeine-ibuprofen tablets a day, usually without their families knowing. The problem is while these pills might be over-the-counter, legal drugs they can still be harmful and addictive. These Mums are risking organ damage in an attempt to have it all.
The extent of the problem is unknown because people with addictions don’t always seek help. They could be embarrassed, they might not be willing to admit their problem, or they simply might not be able to find a babysitter to look after their children while they seek counselling.
As a society, we put drug addicts on the outside. They don’t live next door in our respectable neighbourhood. They don’t kiss their kids goodbye at the school gate each day. They’re not middle-aged. So it’s hard to stand up and admit you’re a Mum, and an addict.
Addicted Mums are bad Mums, aren’t they?
Being an addict means admitting that while you might have a ‘Perfect life’ a loving partner, beautiful children and a great career you’re not coping. Conceding that you’ve fallen off the wagon might mean some of your so-called friends look down their noses at you, there might be whispers in the playground and looks of pity because you’ve done something terrible. You’ve lost control.
But, while we sit and judge, let’s remember that most mums love their children. What they’re trying to do is be the best mum they can, while dealing with the shit life throws at them. They could have postnatal depression, postpartum psychosis or schizophrenia, they could have financial woes or marital problems. You never know, and it doesn’t matter.
Surely as a society, our role is to say to these addicted mums that they don’t need to try so hard. That a little dust on the floor doesn’t matter, that the washing can wait, that if they miss a sports carnival their children will still know they’re proud of them. That as a parent all you need to be is good enough, not perfect.
Surely as a society, we have a responsibility to let these mums know that it’s okay to fall down now and again. Everyone does, and being a mum doesn’t make them any different.
Signs of Ice Dependency
There are numerous physical signs that someone is using Ice. They can include:
- Bad skin – sores and acne
- Profound weight loss
- Stained, blackened teeth
- Twitching eyes
- Cat urine like body odour
Where Mums Can Go For Help
There are quite a few free hotlines for people affected by drug use and alcohol. They include:
How to Help Someone with an Ice Addition
If you are a friend or family member that want to know what to do and how to approach the drug use, there is help out there for you too:
Ice Addiction Treatment Programs
What’s important is that these mums feel they can step forward and ask for help, for the sake of both them and their families.