A Personal Note – When Your Addicted Grown Child has a Child
This week, at the beginning of this amazing New Year, for my personal note, I wanted to talk about when your addicted grown child has a child. Why? Well, because at the moment, my precious granddaughter is being her typical four-year-old self. She knows she’s supposed to play quietly so her Mimi can work, but she’s really struggling with it. I can laugh about it because she’s four, but it brings me around to the fact that she is the product of two people with addictions.
Now, before I roll into this post, I feel like I should qualify a few things: First of all, my granddaughter isn’t being harmed in any way. Secondly, my daughter and son-in-law are really trying to be solid parents. To my knowledge, when they do relapse, they don’t take my granddaughter with to pick up their drugs. They don’t let her see what they do as far as I know, and so far, my granddaughter seems to be doing quite well despite the addictions that her parents carry with her.
Okay, so before you ask why I’m taking the time to defend the fact that my granddaughter doesn’t live with me, let me tell you that you’ll understand very soon.
Finding Out My Daughter was Pregnant
So, I guess I should say that I was young when my oldest daughter was born. So, when she came to me and told me that she was pregnant at 19, I didn’t really think much of it. Under most circumstances, she’s really smart, and I know that she can overcome a challenge like a baby at a young age.
What I was concerned about was the fact that my addicted grown child was actively using substances. I knew in my heart that I would wind up raising this baby, and prayed that she would be perfect in every way.
I remember sitting on my bed, crying to my husband that I didn’t want to raise another baby (We wound up with our own little surprise three years later, but that’s another story!), and that I wanted to be able to be a gramma knowing that my grandchild would be loved, safe and cared for.
I prayed every single night that this child my daughter carried would be safe. That it would be healthy, and perfect. Then, I did my best to be supportive and loving, like the mom of an expectant mom should be. I also tried to accept what would be and make progress in my own life, career and physically.
The Expectant Pregnancy
I should explain that my daughter has this desire to have “a family.” In her heart, it’s the family that she missed out on when her bio-dad chose to walk. She loved him to pieces, and when we split, she took it very, very hard. There was some abusive behavior in there, and lots of tough times, but my grown child is married to a man that is very much like her father. So, it makes sense that she wanted a baby. It was her family.
The thing is, without her husband, the little one is much less important than she used to be. So, as long as they are together, life for my granddaughter is good. As soon as they aren’t… Well, my granddaughter suffers because she is my son-in-law’s daughter. It’s nothing physical, my daughter isn’t mean, but she tends to be less attentive. She is quick to yell and less loving.
So, all throughout the pregnancy, we were all very pleasantly surprised to find that my daughter and her then boyfriend seemed to be working on getting things together. They really seemed like they were excited and trying to take steps toward overcoming their addictions. They even seemed like they were going to be really good parents.
Until, just about the time she was due to have the baby, my daughter, and her boyfriend broke up. It was terrible. Here she was, carrying this baby that she had loved so much, and suddenly, all she was doing was using the unborn baby to hurt him.
She was violently emotional. She came home. It was hell.
I’ve always thought that having a baby is one of the most special things that can happen in a woman’s life. It’s the one day that life truly stops, and begins all at once. It’s not like you can stop a baby from coming. And, I’m not entirely sure, but I don’t know too many women who can keep on doing when they are having a baby.
So, on the day my granddaughter was born, I was justifiably excited. She was a breech baby, so a c-section was in order. I’ve had a couple, so I knew what to expect. Re-enter my grown addicted child’s now husband. He wanted to be there when the baby was born. And so he should be.
When we all saw this beautiful, pink, tiny baby that had come into the world, it didn’t matter that the two of them weren’t together. It didn’t matter what my daughter had done in the course of her pregnancy because thankfully, this baby was absolutely perfect.
Flash Forward a Bit
When my granddaughter was three weeks old, my daughter and her again boyfriend lost the baby for a time. They were passed out and the baby was crying. They had been doing cocaine and who knows what else. And here sat this tiny, perfect pink bundle in her swing. Hungry, lonely. Wet diaper. My heart still clenches at the thought of it. The guilt of it. I suspected but had nothing concrete. I should have done something.
The baby came to us. And for that, I was so much more than grateful. I raised her until she was about six months old, and returning her broke something in me. I love my daughter, but her daughter became like my own. I knew her. I stayed up with her. I cared for her when she wasn’t feeling well.
At the same time, I knew that my daughter needed her daughter if she would ever get things right.
In the time since her traumatic first few months, we’ve done our fair share of taking my granddaughter when things didn’t seem okay. We have a don’t ask don’t tell policy. As long as my granddaughter is safe. There have been some rough ups and downs. And some days, I can’t breathe for worrying about this little girl.
But lately, things seem to be improving. What they do on their time is their business, and we still maintain a don’t ask don’t tell policy. It’s kind of like if they feel like they need to bring their daughter to us, then that’s fine.
Why I Still Worry
I have a friend that has a daughter in a similar situation. She has custody of her granddaughter, though. She wants to know why I’ve never pushed for custody myself, and the answer is that I don’t feel like I have grounds. I know that if they need to, they will bring my granddaughter to us. I also know that my granddaughter needs her mom and dad, just like they need her.
Yes, I still worry, though. I worry sometimes that they are ruining her. Sometimes, I see such a sad little girl, and that’s when I try to swoop in and give her a break from her parents. This is why she and our littlest daughter share a room instead of giving the whole room over to the baby. Because I want my granddaughter to know that she always has a home with us.
It’s a Rough Road, but it’s What We Have
If you have grandchildren or a grandchild from a grown addicted child, you know what I’m talking about. You probably know what I deal with. As you hope for your child to improve, you can’t help but hate them for how they are hurting their babies. You want to make sure that the little ones are okay, but that usually means changing your life and taking on all kinds of expenses. You probably also know that most of the time, it doesn’t even work, because you know your kid will wind up getting their kid back, and then you’ll never see either of them for all the negativity the situation will breed.
For now, the most I can hope is that my grown addicted child and her husband choose to continue doing as they have been, and doing better most days than not. When they’re ready, I’ll try to get them to go to some kind of rehab.
We have good, solid insurance and she’s still on it, so I know that she’ll be able to go to rehab without having to pay too much. And I know who to call to find a great rehab for them, so that’s good news, but until she’s ready, all I can really do is wait.
It’s a rough road, but I am still grateful for my granddaughter. I’m grateful for her love and her beautiful face. I’m grateful that she is perfect and healthy and growing. And as for my addicted grown child? I hope and am confident that someday, she will find her way to quitting her addiction.