Its Okay to Feel Good.
You don’t have to feel guilty about feeling good.
Moms have a hard time doing “selfish” things, “indulging” themselves. The to-do list is never completed, and we can’t let go of the things left undone. We can’t calm our minds. We don’t even know where to start.
I talk to moms everyday that struggle with feeling good. They immediately feel guilty. They think they should be doing all the things, and they don't have the energy for all that, so they distract themselves by scrolling on their phones. We end up wasting so. much. time. This mindset isn’t sustainable, and we end up in avoidance when we should just take a break and do something that feels good and gives us energy.
This guilt about feeling good gets heavy when we talk about Cannabis. We are so entrenched in the war on drugs mindset, that users feel they need to justify their use by stressing that its “medicinal”. Many women don’t admit to using for relaxation and enjoyment. Why? I think it’s because part of us believe it’s wrong, and we fear judgment.
I read something this morning about the need to preserve and pay homage to the old cannabis culture. The people who have pushed for years to bring cannabis to the mainstream are the very misfits and stoners that the industry tries to distance itself from. The industry is getting super clean and palatable to the masses, (no longer using the words “marijuana” or “pot”, trying to distance itself from the stoner stereotype.) This is partly great, and partly sad, because it plays into that fear a bit. It makes it sound like being a stoner is bad, that using purely for recreation is bad.
There is a ton of misuse with cannabis, as there is with alcohol, Rx drugs, food, and pretty much anything else that feels good. Does that mean we should be ashamed? I don't think so. No one uses alcohol “medicinally”. We don't feel like we need to justify our alcohol use. Why should we with cannabis? I think thats where we need to normalize. We don't have to present it like we’re only using it to replace our SSRIs (which I do and I’m seriously fucking proud of). We can use it to relax and have fun with our children. We’re mothers, for fucks sake. We are tired, stressed, often isolated, anxious, depressed, physically unwell because we give all of our time and energy to our families. Why shouldn’t we take advantage of a safe, natural way to feel better? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m a better parent when I feel good, and cannabis helps.
How many of us are prescribed antidepressants? I’m going to guess its MOST of us.
There is a darkness that is present in American motherhood that we aren't talking about enough.
If everyone needs an antidepressant, than we need to address something much bigger than postpartum depression. I believe our model of motherhood is broken, and that we all need to know our worth, stop trying to meet an impossible ideal, take care of ourselves, and get honest about our experiences.
And while I respect every woman’s decision to medicate as she sees fit, I find it concerning that it’s so on trend for moms to drink. Like, heavily.
I feel like I can speak to this because I was a mother who medicated with alcohol. I know where it comes from and I know how it feels. It feels like finally letting go of that endless list of tasks. You feel like you can finally settle down. But it becomes a cycle; you get drunk, feel shitty in the morning, have a shitty day, and then need a drink because you had such a shit day. It was terrible for me and my family. I was physically and mentally sick from it. And alcohol exacerbates depression. My doctor told me that some people with depression notice that even a single drink negatively affects their mood. Now that I rarely drink I absolutely know this to be true. I was taking two prescriptions to combat my depression and washing them down with 3+ drinks per day. It was totally stupid. So as a cannabis user looking back, my perspective is colored. But seriously, if drinking is ok, cannabis is WAY ok. I mean, really.
So, be proud of your use. Be brave! Get a T-shirt, or a button for your bag. Join other moms who use cannabis and share your story with the local paper, or host an event in your neighborhood. The more we can share the truth of cannabis use, the faster we can all get past this lousy prohibition and get on with our lives.
I am Jessica DaCosta, I'm a proud cannabis enthusiast, advocate, and mom of two.