When nine-week-old Hailey Rose fusses for a bottle, her dutiful mother, Heather, fastens a bib around her in preparation for a feeding. Embroidered into the soft cloth are the words, “Wild Like Mommy.”
It’s perhaps the only hint Heather will ever share with her daughter of the troubled past she left behind when she entered recovery less than three years ago. “Hailey has never seen me high, and she never will,” Heather promises.
The bubbly baby girl remains a miracle to her mother, and holds the proud Wright Center distinction of being the 100th baby born into the Healthy MOMS (Maternal Opiate Medical Support) Program since its inception in 2018.
While Hailey serves as daily inspiration to stay clean, Heather also credited much of her success in recovery to the care team that never wavered in their support of her journey to sobriety. In particular, Heather points to the advice and guidance provided by Healthy MOMS Case Manager Marcella Garvin and Certified Recovery Specialist Mary Butera as being her source of strength.
“I’ve struggled since I was 16 with drugs and alcohol. I’ve been in and out of jail, and spent most of my twenties behind bars,” Heather said. “I could never get even a month sober. I got offered this drug treatment program and started Suboxone. When I found out I was pregnant three months later, it changed everything for me.
“I used to have thoughts about getting high, thinking I was missing out. But ever since I got pregnant, that lifestyle is so far from my mind. Hailey’s just the most important thing. It’s all about her. My whole thought process changed.”
After years of substance misuse, Heather didn’t think she could ever have children because of all the damage she had done to her body. But whenever she had fears or anxieties about becoming a parent, the Healthy MOMS team was there to answer her questions and reassure her.
“They always know what to say to make me feel better,” she said.
It hasn’t been an easy road, Heather admitted, but Hailey makes the work worth it, and she feels supported on her path with the Healthy MOMS Program on her side. Among the biggest lessons she’s learned is the importance of communication and reaching out to talk to people who understand.
“You’re going to have bad days, and it’s going to be hard, but you have to hang on. It does get easier with time. But you have to have a good support system,” Heather said. “Letting people know what you’re thinking is so hard when you don’t trust anybody. But I felt safe with Marcella and Mary.
“I’m proud of all the stuff I overcame. I feel more comfortable with myself. A couple years has made such a difference,” she added. “I have a beautiful home and a beautiful daughter, and I’ve been working consistently for a year, which I’ve never done. I know how quick all that can go away and I can lose all this that took me so long to get, and I’m not willing to do that. I like where I’m at and who I am today.”