- Kay Shaw, 32, was addicted to heroin for 10 years smoking £200-a-day
- When pregnant with her third child she was unable to break her addiction
- When baby daughter Billie was born she was immediately taken into care
- Baby Billie was healthy and not addicted to heroin despite mother’s abuse
- For four more years her mother continued to abuse the drug
- But at the age of 27 she decided to turn her life around and banish the drugs
- Ms Shaw has been clean for the last five years and now wants to help others
- She has since had another son Kenzie, now two, in May 2012
- She said: ‘I’m so angry that I put drugs before my baby but I hope that one day I can make up for my mistakes’
A heroin addict pregnant with her third child continued to smoke the class A drug up until the birth of her daughter, powerless to stop her 10-year habit.
Kay Shaw smoked £200 of heroin a day at the height of her addiction.
Such was the hold the drug had over her, the 32-year-old was unable to break free of its grasp when she became pregnant with Billie.
Ashamed of her actions now she is clean, Ms Shaw said ‘it’s disgusting but it happens’.
Her daughter was born four weeks premature, and was immediately taken into care by social services.
Former heroin addict Kay Shaw, now 32, continued to smoke the class A drug while pregnant with her third child. She is pictured with her son Kenzie, two, who was born after she got clean
At the height of her addiction, Ms Shaw was smoking £200-worth of the class A drug each day
The mother-of-four gave birth to her daughter Billie in February 2006. She was four weeks premature and was immediately taken into care. While she is in contact with her older sons Kye, 16, and Louis, 15, Ms Shaw (pictured with partner Ryan) is hoping to be reuninted with her daughter
Now Ms Shaw, who has been clean for the last five years, wants to warn others about the dangers of the class A drug.
She said: ‘I cried every day when I was pregnant and taking drugs because I felt so guilty.
‘I’m so ashamed of taking heroin during my pregnancy, but when you’re addicted to something it’s so hard. I think it’s disgusting but it happens.’
‘Just because you’re pregnant you can’t stop just like that.
‘I’m so angry that I put drugs before my baby but I hope that one day I can make up for my mistakes.
‘I want to show people that heroin is an evil drug that can wreck your life, but it is possible to battle back from the brink – I’m living proof of that.
‘I was worried about the harm I was doing the baby but I wasn’t the first to do it and I won’t be the last.
‘I’ve since had a baby boy, Kenzie, and I feel like I’ve been given a second chance.’
The mother-of-four grew up in West Yorkshire with her mother, older brother and sister.
She endured a tough childhood, leaving school at the age of 15 without any qualifications and pregnant with her first child.
She moved to Plumstead in London before giving birth to Kye, now 16, and a year later gave birth to her second son Louis, now 15.
But the stress of being a young mother took its toll. When she was 18, an older boyfriend pressured her into trying drugs.
Within a year her addiction had spiralled out of control and when her sons where four and five, Ms Shaw no longer felt able to care for them.
She said: ‘I sent them to live with their godparents so they could have a better life.
‘It was heartbreaking, but I know it was for the best.’
But with her children gone, Ms Shaw’s addiction escalated.
She split up with her partner but became pregnant accidentally when she was 23, by a different boyfriend.
She said: ‘I didn’t realise I was pregnant until I was six and a half months gone and I was terrified.
‘I was badly addicted to heroin and I knew I couldn’t be a proper mum but I could never have an abortion. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself.
‘I managed to cut down from taking £200 worth a day to £30 worth a day.
‘I went to see a drug worker straight away and was prescribed methadone but I still couldn’t quit. I felt so guilty.
‘Just because you’re pregnant you can’t stop just like that. I don’t agree with taking it while pregnant – I think it’s disgusting but it happens.’
In February 2006, Ms Shaw gave birth to a baby girl four weeks early after developing pneumonia.
She said: ‘When she was born I was overcome with emotion. I was happy but I was scared because I knew she wasn’t going to be able to stay with me.
‘Luckily she wasn’t addicted to heroin when she was born and despite everything she was a healthy baby.’
Billie was taken into care and for the next four years her mother continued taking drugs.
But when she was 27, she decided to turn her life around.
She said: ‘I knew I couldn’t get any lower. If carried on I was going to be dead in a couple of months.’
Ms Shaw left London and went to stay with her mother in West Yorkshire during the withdrawal period.
She started on buprenorphine, a heroin-substitute program, and has been clean ever since.
She said: ‘It was hard and I was tempted at times but I wanted my life back.’
The 32-year-old got her own flat and an office job with a taxi firm and after a short relationship she gave birth to Kenzie, now two, in May 2012.
She has recently become engaged to her partner of two years, Ryan Telford, a warehouse worker, and is hoping to marry as soon as possible.
She said: ‘Addiction is totally a mental illness – maybe it’s self-inflicted but you don’t know people’s background and how they got on it.
‘I’ve known people to die from an overdose or end up dangerously ill, I’ve went against all of the odds.’
Now the mother-of-four is focusing on being a full time mum to Kenzie at their home in Northumberland.
She said: ‘I’ve been given a second chance to be a mum again and Kenzie is my world.
‘I stay in touch with Kye and Louis and I hope that one day I’ll be reunited with Billie.
‘Having Kenzie makes me realize how much I’ve missed out on with my daughter.’