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A newly published book entitled Mothers, Addiction and Recovery underscores the value of focusing on maternal identity and meaning for supporting women with children through addiction and recovery. By bringing together the voices of women with lived experiences, as well as program practitioners, policy makers, and researchers from across Canada, the editors illustrate the gendered nature of addictions (including gambling, food and smartphones) and the value of harm reduction and holistic approaches to healing and recovery.

Members of this Prevention Network Action Team contributed articles to the book. In “Mothering and Mentoring: The PCAP Women’s Quilt”, Dorothy Badry, Kristin Bonot, and Rhonda Nelson describe the quilt project undertaken by mentors and program participants from the Parent Child Assistance Program (PCAP) project in Alberta. Named “Woven Together”, the quilt is a visual expression of the powerful relationship ties that the women and mentors created together. As well, the article offers a historical perspective on FASD and FASD prevention efforts.

In a chapter entitled “Beyond Abstinence: Harm Reduction during Pregnancy and Early Parenting” Lenora Marcellus, Nancy Poole, and Natalie Hemsing reflect on the historical concern around substance use during pregnancy and how important it is, now, to bring a gendered and harm reduction orientation to our responses. They conclude that, regardless of the substances used, harm reduction approaches address the complex life circumstances of women, such as culture, trauma, connection to children, and practical socio-economic realities. They describe emerging and established programs that use harm-reduction and trauma-informed approaches in order to provide tailored systems of care that are non-punitive, responsive and effective for women and families. Many of these programs have been featured in this blog (see below).

This book is published by Demeter Press and features many other articles that address the experience of mothering within the context of addictions. Although the voices of women with lived experiences are included in part, the editors, Wendy E. Peterson, Laura Lynn Armstrong, and Michelle A. Foulkes, regretfully acknowledge that the book is missing the unique perspectives of Indigenous women.

For related information, see these earlier posts:

REACHING AND ENGAGING WOMEN: WHAT WORKS AND WHAT’S NEEDED May 15, 2017

TARGETING STIGMA AND FASD IN MANITOBA June 26, 2017

HOUSING IS KEY COMPONENT TO WOMEN’S RECOVERY August 19, 2017

DEVELOPING AN INDIGENOUS APPROACH TO FASD PREVENTION IN BC’S FRASER SALISH REGION December 11, 2017

ALBERTA’S PCAP WOMEN’S QUILT: “CREATING A BOND . . . BUILDING A RELATIONSHIP” April 22, 2016

WEBINAR JUNE 23 – WORKING WITH PREGNANT AND PARENTING WOMEN: LEARNINGS FROM HERWAY HOME June 16, 2016

HARM REDUCTION AND PREGNANCY: COMMUNITY-BASED APPROACHES TO PRENATAL SUBSTANCE USE IN WESTERN CANADA February 26, 2015

THE MOTHER-CHILD STUDY: EVALUATING TREATMENTS FOR SUBSTANCE-USING WOMEN March 18, 2015

THE MOTHERING PROJECT/MANITO IKWE KAGIIKWE IN WINNIPEG, MANITOBA May 1, 2015

FASD PREVENTION AND SOCIAL DETERMINANTS OF WOMEN’S HEALTH: ASSESSING THE EVIDENCE March 5, 2012

Pages from Circle_of_Life_FINAL_CompleteGuide_March2013

Celebrating the Circle of Life: Coming back to Balance and Harmony: A guide to emotional health in pregnancy and early motherhood for Aboriginal women and their families is a guide developed by Perinatal Services BC and the BC Reproductive Mental Health Program, a program of BC Mental Health & Addiction Services.

The guide has seven parts:

  • Introduction
  • Part 1 – Basic Aboriginal Teachings
  • Part 2 – Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the first year of being a parent
  • Part 3 – Feelings during Pregnancy and After the Birth
  • Part 4 – Coming back to Balance and Harmony
  • Part 5 – For Partners, Family and Friends
  • Part 6 – Resources

Alcohol use is discussed throughout the guide, including in the sections about pregnancy and the first year of being a mother.

The guide was developed for:

  • Aboriginal Women – This guide was created to help soon-to-be and new mothers who are worried about their mood and/or experiencing depression.  The guide is focused on emotional health and includes information on what to expect and how to cope with all of the changes that come with pregnancy and a new baby.
  • Health Care Providers – This guide can also be used by healthcare providers who work with Aboriginal women and their families in the Perinatal period, especially those who may be experiencing baby blues or depression.
  • Partners, Families & Friends – Part five is written for partners, families and friends and includes information on how to support a woman during pregnancy, childbirth and the early months of being a parent.

The guide can be downloaded from the Perinatal Services BC website.

 

Overview: Four Levels of FASD Prevention

Information Sheet: What Men Can Do To Prevent FASD

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