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Kendra – One Tough Mother

Kendra – One Tough Mother

Mom in recovery, a client of San Luis Valley Mobile Unit care

When Kendra’s beautiful newborn girl tested positive for opiates, she knew she needed help. Kendra had been addicted to pills on and off for over five years and then got involved with a partner who started using heroin.

“I tried it with him and immediately got addicted,” Kendra said. “I really didn’t think I could get pregnant at that time, and when I did realize I was pregnant, I didn’t see a doctor because I didn’t want them to know I was using. I didn’t even tell my parents I was pregnant.”

Part of the reason Kendra didn’t seek medical care came from watching her cousin, who had her baby taken away after a similar situation. “That was my greatest fear,” Kendra said. “I thought if I went to a doctor I’d lose the right to have my baby.”

Once a team of people from the hospital and the Department of Social Services got involved, they recommended she seek treatment, and Kendra took the step to start her recovery that same day. Her baby stayed in the hospital for two weeks, and Kendra went to detox and then 30 days in residential treatment with her baby. After those 30 days, she went to live with her parents and sought further care through the San Luis Valley mobile health unit, a state program that delivers medication-assisted treatment to rural communities.

“The mobile unit was really convenient for me,” Kendra explained. “It came to town and the staff was really nice. I went there to get my drugs for medication-assisted treatment, but I also got therapeutic support. I felt like the doctors on the mobile unit were willing to help me with anything. They have even been counseling me on adjusting to living with my parents again and learning how we can all get along.”

Since starting her recovery journey, Kendra says the biggest change in her life is not using substances and getting to be a mom.  “I love being a mom,” she said. “I want other moms to know it’s not easy but it is worth it.”

If I could talk to providers, here’s what I’d want them to know:

“I’d want them to know that substance use disorder can happen to anybody, and I wish they would talk more about how much help is out there. Providers need to be honest and push moms to take the step to get help. Most of the time I wasn’t ready to seek help until something happened that pushed me. The motivation of keeping my child is what pushed me to go into recovery, and I had a good caseworker who walked me through what I’d need to do to keep custody.”