The gorgeous Cara Goodman and Charlotte Ann (3). Cara also lost Joshua to miscarriage in 2014.
Cara has a history of mental health issues and says that prior to conceiving her daughter she was not a very good person. In addition to her struggles with mental heath, she battled with addictions, self-harm/cutting and attention seeking behaviors. Neither Cara's mom nor her therapist believed that she was pregnant until seeing the ultrasound. She went into preterm labor twice in her late second trimester but was able to carry to term. Early in her pregnancy, Cara had been seeing a Midwife, then an OB and ultimately an OB and Perinatologist. With her trauma history her providers were concerned that a vaginal birth would be retraumatizing for her and she wouldn't be able to do it but she got through it and felt like an absolute rock star.
When Charlotte was 23 hours old, there was a knock on Cara's hospital room door and she opened it to find that child protective services (CPS) had been called. There had been several calls to report her possible inability to care for her daughter based on her mental health history. Cara was devastated. While she owns and acknowledges her past, her daughter was a fresh start for her. She found sobriety and was in treatment her entire pregnancy and planned to continue while mothering her daughter. For the first 7 weeks of Charlotte's life, Cara wasn't allowed to be with her daughter without supervision. While at home, for every doctor's appointment, every moment she was with her there had to be someone watching. Cara was trying to breastfeed which was incredibly difficult while being watched all the time. She often broke down in tears but was terrified that if she showed too much emotion, or Charlotte cried too much, or they had a bad day, she'd be taken away from her.
When Charlotte was 7 weeks old the supervision was lifted and shortly thereafter their case was closed. While Cara had a reprieve, her confidence as a mother had been incredibly shaken. She still struggled with whether she was doing things right and thinks that her connection to her daughter also suffered. When Charlotte was around 16 months old Cara was sexually assaulted, she filed a report but with her history she says it was the girl who cried wolf. Again, no one believed her and she was ultimately accused of filing a false police report for which she is still on probation today.
Cara says that she continued to try but struggled to find support. Her daughter was having reflux and difficulty gaining weight and she was accused of giving her Ipecac even though she's since been diagnosed with GERD and gastroparesis. Charlotte was taken from Cara and placed in foster care. Cara was devastated and quickly slipped back into old behaviors - she let go of her sobriety, began to self-harm and very much struggled. While Charlotte was in foster care Cara learned she had conceived again as the result of a rape. She was terrified that if she had another baby they would automatically take him away but she lost Joshua to miscarriage soon after. While it was so hard for Cara to be away from her daughter she was grateful for the time to process and work on herself.
When Charlotte was returned to Cara they faced a lot of adjustment issues. Their trust had been broken and Cara once again was uncertain whether she was allowed to parent her daughter or if every choice she made would be questioned.
Cara has continued to navigate mental health issues but has found a medication regimen that helps a lot a along with a therapist she trusts. She still struggles with all of her past trauma and has attempted suicide three times in the past year alone. She's found that taking things day by day helps her to thrive. She was hesitant to participate and share her story publicly out of fear that her past would resurface to haunt her but wanted to have the opportunity to share her story and help break that stigma and shame that surround mothers and mental health.