My name is Saskia Beljaars, and I have been in recovery since August 6, 2022 – a year and two months. August 6, 2022, was the day that my daughter was born, which was one of the most beautiful and life-changing experiences of my life. Due to the circumstances of my pregnancy, I can say with certainty that my daughter fought hard to be here and to have Alex and I as her parents. On that day and every day since then I have made a promise to myself and to my family that I will maintain my sobriety to be the best version of myself to all of those around me.
Since the day that I began on the journey of recovery, I have accomplished many things. I have proven to myself that I can be a great mother and am capable of not only taking care of myself but also of a baby, who has been meeting all her milestones and developing from a newborn into a toddler over the course of the past year. I have successfully completed Family Treatment Drug Court and was thereby also deemed a qualified parent by DHS and the court systems. During this time, I was able to find and keep a job doing something that I love very much – marketing and social media, here at SRC. I also learned how to balance taking care of my daughter with having a career, which is something I never imagined myself being capable of doing in the past.
Prior to recovery, my lowest point was when I found myself homeless due to my substance use, and I was getting booked into jail when I received the news that I was pregnant. I was overwhelmed by the wave of emotions that I felt because I knew that I really wanted to have a baby, but I felt like I wasn’t in any way fit to bring life into this world when I couldn’t even take care of myself. I spent the entire duration of my pregnancy without a place to call home and I was faced with a lot of stigma and judgement for using while pregnant. I was told at the clinic that I attend for MAT that I couldn’t stop using opiates without it potentially killing the baby, so I felt stuck and avoided prenatal care because I didn’t want word to get out that I was pregnant and using. Luckily, upon giving birth to my daughter I was offered the opportunity to participate in FTDC, and since I got sober right away, I was able to maintain custody of my daughter throughout the course of the program.
Today, I give back to my community by taking any opportunity that I get to share my story. I want to make sure that any mother who may be battling with substance use or with doubt around their ability to be a mom knows that they are not alone in this. I think that hearing about someone else’s lived experience can make overcoming a hurdle seem more possible and I feel proud to be able to offer that hope to others.