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Helping new mothers recover from substance use

Jennifer kept her family together through ReNew

Carol Lee, Senior Editor

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When a woman is struggling with addiction and facing an unexpected pregnancy, it’s easy for her to feel hopeless and alone. That’s why Bethany meets these women where they are, in recovery and preparing to give birth.

We call this work ReNew, named for “recovering mothers with newborns.” ReNew is rooted in the belief that women with a history of substance use, including expectant moms, can recover and successfully parent their children.

Jennifer was expecting her second child when she joined ReNew in 2019, four months before her son, Levi, was born. “I struggled with addiction off and on for almost 10 years,” she said, referring to her opioid dependency, which began with a medical prescription. Eventually Jennifer felt she couldn’t function properly without the opiates, and that became a problem when her doctor would no longer prescribe them to her.

ReNew coordinated Jennifer’s initial screening and pregnancy support, as well as assessment and referral to local service providers who could best meet her needs. A trained and compassionate Bethany case manager provided a single point of contact from the time she joined the program through Levi’s first year. Jennifer also worked with a peer mentor who coached and encouraged her in areas of health, home, purpose, and community.

When Levi was born, he briefly entered foster care while Jennifer met her legal requirements and recovery goals. Within a few months, he was able to go home to his mother and older brother. Last October, when Jennifer graduated from the program, she shared that ReNew had lifted her up when she needed it, and her motivation for success was clear: “I have both of my boys. It’s indescribable—it’s the best feeling in the world.”

When we strengthen and support vulnerable mothers, we can keep families together and prevent their children from entering foster care. It’s an investment that strengthens both families and communities.

*Names have been changed to protect privacy

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