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With help from her doctor, Timmins mother confronts addiction and keeps her baby

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In March 2021, Kelly-Anne Achneepineskum had many questions about her future. She was pregnant, busking to help make ends meet and she was also confronting drug addiction.

"Some days when you’re really so sick and you’re not making as much money as you want, and then you’re getting the really bad withdrawals," Achneepineskum said.

"By that time, I was just like I don’t want to live like this anymore. It’s just not really worth it."

She was worried her baby would be taken from her, but she had an ally in her doctor.

"They were going to take her into custody, but as soon as Dr. Bellemare found out, she just jumped on the gun and told them no -- this is not what’s supposed to happen," Achneepineskum said.

Dr. Louisa Marion-Bellemare said people looking for help shouldn't be penalized for coming forward.

"For those who want help, they need us to help them," Marion-Bellemare said.

"I think it’s the whole community that has come together. I really think this can’t be done by one or two people -- it’s done by a community that’s realizing we need to support these individuals."

Achneepineskum delivered a healthy and happy baby girl on March 28 in the Timmins and District Hospital and named her Stella.

"She’s a little full of beans this one," she said. "I just can’t wait for her to start taking those little steps by herself."

A short time after Stella was born, they moved into a residential treatment program in the Toronto area. Marion-Bellemare said such programs are needed in the north.

"There hasn’t been much progress in having something like this closer to home and it’s very much needed," she said.

"There has been a lot of other areas with respect to supporting women who are pregnant with substance use disorder and helping them access the system easier and bringing them in and not stigmatizing."

"It’s really helped me come to terms with what happened in the past," added Achneepineskum.

They are now getting ready to move on and the search for an apartment is underway.

Achneepineskum said she is happy and will be celebrating her first year of sobriety on March 11. She said during the Christmas holidays, she spent a week with her three daughters and looks forward to a future with all her children.

She said she is sharing her story in hope of helping others. 

Correction

The article has been corrected to reflect the correct number of daughters Kelly-Anne has. It is three not four as first reported.

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