A Grounded Theory of Mothering in the Early Years for Women Recovering From Substance Use

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Women in recovery from addiction experience significant sociostructural barriers to reestablishing self, family, and home after having a baby. The aim of this grounded theory study was to describe pathways that women and their families followed and how transitions were experienced in the early years after receiving services through an integrated community-based maternity program. Eighteen women completed questionnaires and participated in a series of semistructured interviews over 2 years. The overall process women experienced was that of holding it together, which women did by restoring their sense of self during recovery, becoming a strong center for their family, and creating a sense of home no matter what the circumstances. Key elements supporting women in their transition to recovery and parenthood included longer term health, social, and recovery programs and services that addressed determinants of health (in particular, gender, housing, and income), and receiving support provided from strengths-based perspectives.

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