Thistle and Bee’s mission is to help women who have survived prostitution and trafficking thrive. I am honored to write their stories. This is the first excerpt from a forthcoming book about the women of Thistle and Bee.
Being a mother isn’t for the faint of heart in the best of times. But what happens when that sacred responsibility can’t be fulfilled? And why? And if it can’t be, what or who does one turn to for support or help? All good questions and ones that couldn’t easily be answered for D.
Now 52 years old and a mother of six children (ages 30 – 39), with two different fathers, and at least twenty-five grandchildren, D looks back and is grateful for where she is now. Grateful because where she was just a few months ago would not have ensured a survival of any kind. It doesn’t take much to slide that far down. It takes a lot to claw back up.
When you’re 15, it’s not unusual for kids to try things out – cigarettes, drinking, and weed. Where it led to was where it got scary. Her daddy’s sister turned her on to drugs. At 22, she was introduced to crack and remembers it was “so soothing to get high.” D believed it helped her control and be a better “mama” on crack. That was her daily routine. Not surprisingly, after time, it got progressively worse. Every day, getting high and falling off, not coming home, no money for food or food stamps, she was “owed out” and “living to get high.” It was not unusual for her to be up for days at a time, 8, even 9, because of her crack addiction. She couldn’t sleep and she couldn’t do much for her family.
She wasn’t there for the babies she’d had back-to-back. D was too busy selling things and stealing. D describes it as “illegal things.” No one was spared, she even stole from her drug man.