First thing’s first: There’s no denying that my love affair with marijuana began long before I’d ever even considered having a child. While my high school friends were always searching for a place to get drunk, I was the girl perfectly content with driving around on the (supposedly) haunted backroads of my hometown, puffing on some green leafy magic and feeling like that very moment was the happiest of my life and that the universe was alive with wonder just for me. Sure, I’m sure part of that was knowing I was young and alive and had no real worries in the world. But my almost instant realization that this substance that everyone treated like a terrible drug wasn’t really a drug at all but a miraculous product of nature, was instantaneous and everlasting.
Even long after the days of typical rebellious teenage behavior had run their course, I was still very much ‘proud to be a pothead’. I didn’t really know when I was young, but my love for marijuana didn’t actually begin with me. In fact, it seems to be in my blood: there’s more relatives that use cannabis in my family than there are that don’t. I didn’t exactly ever have my parents’ ‘permission’, but I know they knew what their oldest daughter was up to and were actually much happier knowing I wasn’t out drinking and driving. But it makes me think back to one particular incident when I was 17 and was pulled over and ultimately found to be in possession of a small amount of pot. Looking back, I was beyond lucky (they confiscated my stuff and called my parents) and understood why my daddy yelled at me from the front seat “WHAT DO YOU THINK THIS IS, SARAH? THAT 70’S SHOW?! YOU AND YOUR FRIENDS JUST OUT GETTING HIIIIIIGH?!” in his best angry tone. But no matter what the situation, I just didn’t see things that way. How is it possible that anyone could see anything wrong with getting high? Or with using a resource provided to us by nature, with zero chemicals (or destroyed livers)?! I knew my choice to use marijuana was the right one and I’d tell that to anyone who asked (which is EXACTLY what I’m still doing today!). I truly believe I found cannabis for a reason, as did so many others, and it hasn’t left my life since, and never will.
I mentioned my younger self’s brush with the law because it makes me think of what the future might be for our children. Fast forward ten years, and here I am with a husband and a child of my own, something that I wasn’t exactly sure would ever be in my future. My family teased me for years about my lack of maternal instincts (all because I hated babies on airplanes and constant annoying questions!), but learning I was pregnant really was incredible. I was a different from other typical expecting mothers from the start (that’s just how I roll!), like finding the need to make a ‘birth plan’ utterly ridiculous and reading my unborn son Hunter S. Thompson while I felt him kick and wiggle in my belly. But I did the obvious: took my prenatel vitamins, stopped all alcohol consumption (which was basically nonexistent anyway), and tried to eat and sleep better than usual. But what about smoking weed? The thought of stopping literally NEVER crossed my mind and I felt no shame in it. I know pregnant women who would never admit to using cannabis, but I was proud of my choice and I’ll tell anyone who is willing to listen.
My pregnancy was literally the perfect example of why EVERY woman should have cannabis in their arsenal: I had no morning sickness. I actually had an appetite. I was chill and happy literally all the time. I slept like a champ and I had no postpartum depression issues afterwards, which can be so heartbreaking and scary.
Unfortunately, because the only information out there on marijuana’s affects on growth and development of a child and/or mother during pregnancy is almost never relevant or even factual. Information online ranges from old school, moral biased ‘preaching’ about fearing the reefer, to articles basically shaming any expecting mother for even thinking of using a *gasp* illegal drug (that we all should accept is classified incorrectly by now!) When my doctor asked me the normal questions about my lifestyle, I didn’t lie. Instead, I told her outright that I use marijuana on a daily basis and have for basically over 10 years. I expected a look of judgment at the very least, but to my surprise, she embraced me and said that telling me to stop outright would be much harder on my now ever changing body and that I should keep doing what makes me the most comfortable. If I had previously had any sort of doubt in my decision, it was now dead and buried.
Fast forward nine long months and my husband and I were blessed were a perfect, healthy, beautiful baby boy, weighing in at a whopping 10 lbs 11 oz (so much for all that nonsense I read about the dangers of underweight babies with cannabis use!) with big bright eyes and dimples identical to his daddy’s. From the moment we brought him home, he blessed us with his forever happy demeanor and love to sleep, even through the night. All that shaming I read about pregnancy and weed? Nonsense. My baby was healthy, happy and would only continue to do so. He didn’t get a cold till he was almost eight months old, barely cried and would eat and sleep like a grown man, all without that gross spit up phase most babies go through. Then, before we knew it, he was a year old and walking, absorbing every word and place we went, all while always maintaining such a pleasant and sweet personality.
My only slight point of questioning myself was earlier this year while I waited for what seemed like months for my son to really talk. He said lots of single words, but would never string them together or fully express himself. And because all moms seem to love to torture themselves by comparing their child to others, I was worried that somehow something I did or was doing was contributing to his lack of speech. I read to him everyday, and tried my best to speak slowly on his level, often naming every object in a room. My family always reassured me, explaining that my husband and I talk so much that Carson didn’t really need to speak much (truth!), or that all those crazy noises he was constantly making were the verge of a ‘word explosion’. And just like they predicted, he literally woke up one morning and decided to show off all those conversations he’d be saving to have with us. And now we can’t get our friendly little chatterbox to stop talking, he’s even been known to show off his singing skills.
I felt the need to share my personal experience because the subject is still so taboo, and perhaps with more awareness will come more acceptance, which could very well lead to that big social change in perception that the marijuana legalization movement needs. I’m a firm believer that moms are the key in the ending of cannabis prohibition: now more than ever, moms are taking matters of their childrens’ health into their own hands and witnessing incredible results with the use of medicinal cannabis. It’s use to battle some seriously traumatic health issues experienced by truly suffering children is amazing and has been known to literally reverse the effects of multiple diseases and injury, improving quality of life and sometimes curing them all together. More mothers need to support these amazing results and push to move away from the chemicals pushed on us and our families by Big Pharma. Recognize that this beautiful gift of nature is about so much more than getting high, and stop making families live in fear because they are doing whatever possible to help their children, even if that way is not yet legal nationwide. And if you’re like me, a mother and wife who discovered long ago that marijuana was just meant for me; don’t be ashamed that while other mothers drink a glass of wine or three to wind down, you simply smoke a bowl. After all, I dare anyone to say they’re more ‘in the moment’ with their kids than I am, and I dare them to claim that alcohol is safer than marijuana in any instance, kids or no kids. My amazing bond with Carson is the only reassurance I need that I’m doing NOTHING wrong.