My journey to using cannabis while breastfeeding
I consumed cannabis while breastfeeding my second child. I was too scared to consume during pregnancy, as all I could think of was “baby gets everything through the placenta” (I didn’t eat sushi, nor runny eggs to give you an idea). I did not take my prescribed Diclectin either, as it made me groggy; which freaked me out to think what were the negative side effect(s) to baby if this was mine?! Instead I suffered, I threw up daily and put up with my nausea, because I didn’t have the energy to research alternative options. At the time, self care was not a priority, I was living at my mother in law’s with my 2 year old, buying and fully renovating our first house, while my relationship crumbled under the pressure…
In my third trimester, I succumbed to these pressures and took a few hits of a joint with a friend. I was so scared!! I found some relief from my anxiety, but the guilt would make me paranoid. At the time, I felt it wasn’t worth the risk for me. I felt that I was not getting enough relief (plus the undesired paranoid guilt) to warrant the unknown risks of cannabis use during pregnancy. Now knowing what I do about postpartum depression, I wish I had used cannabis to better manage my mental health during pregnancy. Perhaps this would have counteracted the risk factors such as anxiety, family and work stress.
When my daughter was 2 months old, her acid reflux began. She would cry and scream for hours, poor baby being in pain from the burning and drowning sensation from having liquid come back up. Having mental illness before pregnancy, and being at the very end of my rope during my pregnancy, I knew this was the drop that was making the glass overflow. Given my previous negative experiences with antidepressants (I get SO MANY side effects), I refused to take them and started researching about cannabis use for depression, and of course cannabis use while breastfeeding.
I luckily found Jordana ‘s Facebook group of pro-cannabis moms, where I read anecdotal evidence on breastfeeding and cannabis. I was pleasantly surprised to see older women whose kids were now in their 20-30’s (my age) and thriving. I remember that giving me more confidence in my decision. I also read that pregnant and breastfeeding women were having a hard time obtaining medical cannabis, because of the lack of studies and the liability concerns for healthcare practitioners. So I made a decision to not disclose my breastfeeding status…
I was starting to crumble under the pressures of my life because of my daughter’s medical condition (acid reflux) that stretched both me and my fiancé to the very limits of our patience. I was desperate for cannabis as a medical treatment because I knew, from experience, that I needed antidepressants. Luckily, my therapist who I met during my third trimester, was pro-CBD and encouraged me to obtain a prescription so I could access it. She also said that I should still take antidepressants. I did not listen to her about the antidepressants, but felt empowered in my decision to medicate with CBD. I did what I had to do. Knowing that doctors were not prescribing to breastfeeding women, I said my daughter was on formula and that was that. No further questions asked. Now, let me tell you, as someone with very high moral standards, the guilt consumed me for a good 2 months. I felt so bad for lying. I would give myself such grief after I consumed; and once again, like it did during my pregnancy, those negative feelings took over.
It wasn’t until I was even deeper in postpartum depression that I finally felt like the benefits outweighed the risks. I was using therapeutic levels of CBD at this point, 80-100 mgs on the worst days, based on my research surrounding cannabis for severe depression. Let me tell you, this was quite the financial commitment, especially while on maternity leave. Along with consuming appropriate strains, thanks to my now medical access, I was feeling better for the first time in months. I no longer felt like I was sinking deeper and deeper, I was coming back to the surface.
Cannabis saved my life during postpartum depression. If I had followed the rules, I would not have accessed medical cannabis, and can not convincingly say I would still be here. When I was feeling suicidal, especially hormone induced, I did not have 2-3 weeks to wait to feel the potential benefits of an antidepressant (if it was a right fit, because it’s not always a fit with any medication). Smoking a joint would take me from hysterically crying to calm, composed, possibly even content, within 10 minutes. That’s the medicine moms need for postpartum depression and rage, where hormones are a class of their own.
Cofounder Mothers Mary
*DISCLAIMER: This information is for educational purposes only. Please discuss all healthcare decisions with your doctor.