It's really hard for me to be open to people about being on methadone because of the negative stigma attached to it and now that I'm pregnant it's even worse.
Most people who aren't well-informed about methadone seem to automatically think I'm a bad mother or that there's going to be something wrong with my baby. I've personally seen many people on methadone have babies and all of them were perfect little bundles of joy. Being on methadone is better than being on drugs and stopping methadone or tapering off could lead to a miscarriage so trust me when I say I've looked into it and I'm doing the best I can for my little baby. I was tapering off before I got pregnant but I stopped when I found out because I didn't want to cause anymore stress on the baby and my body than it was already going through.
That being said its not easy being on methadone, my pharmacy totally screwed up my dose a couple weeks ago and I went into major withdrawal for a week because they refused to fix it until my next pick up date. I hadn't felt that bad in a very long time. I can't explain the symptoms to someone whose never had them but I promise you they're terrible and being pregnant made it all that much worse. I couldn't even take anything for it besides Tylenol which didn't really help and I was hesitant to take even that.
I've been taken by surprise by how much people expect pregnant women to follow these strict rules and get judged so negatively if they don't. There are so many dos and don'ts that I wasn't even aware of how harsh some people can be if they find out you're not doing or avoiding certain things. For example, the big issue about smoking when pregnant is so frowned upon that women posting in forums asking for advice on how to cut down or quit are met with rude comments. If the reactions were that rude to smoking I can just imagine how bad it would be if someone were to mention they were on methadone.
These people say things like," just quit it's your baby's life, don't you care?, you're such a bad mother." Do they not know how these comments can really affect a pregnant hormonal person who's already worrying her butt off about her baby's health and safety. Like if it was that easy don't you think they would have done it already? I honestly think as a society we need to lay off the judgement and instead help each other out and accept people's choices, that includes even me. Most of us are just doing the best we can and the judging doesn't help. I always try and remember that when I feel like judging someone for doing things differently than me.
Originally published in a slightly different form at The Life of A Recovering Addict