Twelve High Chicks thanks Jennifer Laudonio (Marihuanamom), founder and CEO of Smiling Buddah Inc, for this week’s article on pot and pregnancy for our Pot & Parenting Chick. 

Canna-Mom Myth

I am a Canna-Mom. I make this statement proudly, yet we live in a society where many moms who do smoke will choose to do so in silence, not wanting to deal with the judgement and criticism of others. Worse yet they fear that their children will be taken by social services.

I refuse to hide my use of cannabis, despite being judged. I’m here to tell you all the ways it helped me get through pregnancy and the early stages of motherhood. 

While I was pregnant, a woman who I have not talked to in over eight years sent me a message via Facebook. This is what she had to say about pot and pregnancy:

“I honestly think it’s so disgusting how you are smoking pot during your pregnancy and don’t even try to deny … You should be ashamed of yourself harming that child with that shit. If you can’t be a good parent then you probably shouldn’t have gotten pregnant. I mean come on Jen 7 months pregnant hitting a joint wtf is wrong with you!! I’ll be making sure everyone knows what kind of parent you really are!”

Disdain and persecution like this is not fair, but neither is it uncommon. Had this person chosen to do some research instead of bullying me over social media, she may have realized that cannabis is way safer during pregnancy than she had assumed. In fact, it’s safer than most (if not all) pharmaceutical drugs while being pregnant. I have done the research, and that is why I will choose cannabis over pharmaceutical drugs any day.

Pot and Pregnancy

Pre-pregnancy, I was a frequent cannabis user. I wasn’t planning on motherhood, so when I found out I was carrying a baby I instantly cut back my regular usage.

However, pregnancy is no cake walk. Hollywood glorifies pregnancy as this magical experience where women glow and feel fabulous. Newsflash, it’s all a lie! Yes, some women love it, those lucky few. I hated it for so many reasons: I won’t go into all the gross details (moms will know what I mean), but I will mention that I had nine months of morning sickness and all-day nausea, an inability to sleep, body aches and pains, depression, and eventually, this terrible inability to shave my own vagina. I even ended up in the hospital with food poisoning! TWICE!

Throughout my pregnancy, the doctors tried prescribing me pharmaceutical drugs for my morning sickness, sleeping, pain, and allergies. None of the drugs offered had been on the market for longer than ten years, and therefore long-term effects were still unknown. This made me feel very uneasy about using any of them. There was, however, something that I knew would help: naturally grown cannabis. 

Now, it wasn’t like I was smoking a lot, as I was only using it medicinally. I had completely given up recreational use and began smoking out of necessity. Times when the baby wasn’t getting any nutrients because my nausea was so bad. Or when I was so sleep-deprived and in pain that I was barely functioning. 

Breastfeeding on C-Section Medication

When it came time to having my daughter I had to go the C-section route, which was something that I was extremely nervous about given that it was my first surgery. She came out extremely healthy at 8 pounds 4 ounces (despite the misbelief that cannabis causes low birth weight).

After the surgery, they gave me (and everyone who has a C-section) three pills that included an anti-inflammatory (cannabis does this), an antibacterial (this too!) and a Dilaudid for pain (three for three?).

While breastfeeding (and after the stress of the C-section subsided), my partner asked what was in the pills they gave me. We learned that Dilaudid is a form of hydromorphone, which is an opioid pain medication that crosses into the bloodstream.

We told the doctor we didn’t agree with me taking the Dilaudid because I was breastfeeding. And against their wishes I decided to stop taking it. Doctors are okay with giving you addictive drugs that will go through your bloodstream, into your milk, and to your child. But many are not okay with cannabis, a natural plant that has not been proven to be addictive at all. (Smoking pot is not recommended for breastfeeding mothers if it can be avoided, although there is no known neonatal risk.)

Being a mom, you have to learn about this stuff and make your decision wisely.

Cannabis after a C-Section

The next day my partner returned with some cannabis-infused edibles. I had about 50mg of THC. In about an hour I was up and moving around for the first time since my surgery. Cannabis was clearly the safer alternative to the doctor’s prescribed medications. 

A fun fact you may not know is that since women (and everyone else) have an endocannabinoid system, the body naturally produces cannabinoids in breast milk. In fact, human breast milk is an abundant source of endocannabinoids. But more specifically, it has a type that basically teaches a newborn how to eat.

If not for the cannabinoids in our breast milk, newborns may not know how to eat or necessarily have the desire to do so. Similar to how adults get the “munchies,” a newborn child who is breastfed naturally receives doses of cannabinoids, which trigger hunger and promote growth and development.

So, to all the Canna-moms of the world, let’s unite! Let’s be proud of our parenting choices, and choose not to feel guilty next time we smoke a joint. Let’s remember that parenting is hard enough without worrying about being judged or bullied for the way we choose to raise our babies. If they are safe and healthy, that’s all that really matters.