Being a mom is hard. Not like “training for the Pittsburgh marathon hard”, but “having someone depend on you day and night for the rest of your life” hard. I always wanted to be a mother. I remember at the age of 8, I was already picking out names for my children. In the long run, I actually picked out a name for my first born from my 8 year old list. I wanted a dozen children.
I always knew I was different then other kids my age growing up. I loved having time to myself, I never really had an itch to go to parties, and I would much rather listen to music then be out all night. The one thing that singled me out from most kids my age, was the amount of anxiety I had. I never knew what it was when it was happening, and I always had trouble talking about it to my parents. I felt like there was something wrong with me medically, and at that point, I just didn’t want to know what it was. Anxiety came to me at the age of 10. I remember having my first real panic attack thinking this was it the end of my life. It wasn’t until the 11th or 12th time I realized I wasn’t dying, I was just going through something I thought would pass.
Fast forward 14 years later. My first baby girl was born in 2009. My husband and I were very nervous, excited, first time parents. You see, my husband and I, polar opposites. He is a very mellow man, goes with the flow, and definitely does not dwell on the little things. He’s my rock, he keeps me grounded, and sane. The year I had my baby, it was one of the best, and worst times of my life. I’ve always tried to keep my anxiety at bay, by myself, with no help from doctors, parents, family or friends. I always considered myself to be a very strong willed, hard headed individual, so getting help from anyone but myself never seemed to be an option for me.
About 9 months into my first year of motherhood, something was happening to me that was taking over my entire life. It was Postpartum depression. I remember feeling ashamed. I was so disappointed in myself, that not only could I not get out of this slump, but everyone else around me was paying the price for that too. The bond I ultimately knew I would have with my baby never happened. I feared the worst every time i held her, gave her a bath, or even fed her. Trying to put on a face of ease was out of the question at this point. I eventually broke down and told everything to my husband, who them got me in to see a doctor immediately. This doctor ended up saving my life, and I’m very thankful to her everyday I wake up.
Eventually, I was put on medication, and felt normal-ish again. I’ve come to learn from years of having anxiety, that usually if you’re feeling good, that too will pass, and you go back to square one. Years of switching medicines, doctors and therapists had become just as exhausting as being a full time mom with a part time job. My anxiety amped up again this year. I knew I had to explore other options, when my rock, my best friend, my husband said to me compassionately “I just don’t know how to help you that way anymore.” I was not upset about his comment , it was more of an eye opener. I had been so busy putting my pain on other people around me, I knew I had to do something about it. I’ve always worried that I wasn’t a “perfect” mom. It’s something that always lingered in the back of my mind. And anxiety and motherhood just don’t mix well together at all. There had been many times where I would be at the grocery store and had to leave my cart, full, in the aisle, because I felt as if I couldn’t breathe. I would take my girls out to the park and it would be the same situation. I knew I was hurting them, and interrupting their childhood because of my anxiety. This year I started to see a therapist. I wanted my husband to know that I wanted to try to get better, not only for me, but for my family. I want nothing more than to enjoy the life I was given, because it is a beautiful one. I’ve felt at this point I was running out of options. Talking to a therapist was nice, but i was still missing something. That is when she had recommended to me, medical marijuana.
I know, I just said the words that others scrunch their nose about. I was the same way too. When medical marijuana became legal in Pennsylvania, a part of me thought it was so silly. I never saw the medical benefits to it, but I really didn’t want to either. I was stuck on what half of us were thinking “all it is, is just getting high.” That is, until I tried it for my medical condition. I have a few issues under my belt, but my main focus was to feel like me again. My views changed immediately when I actually had conversations with other women at the dispensary. They were not there to get high, they were there to take care of chronic pain they endured every single day. And most of them say the same thing, they just want to be better parents to their kids. That was the reason I was there. It took some trial and error, but I’ve found something for me. Watching my children every day, being my oldest’s uber driver, being the prime caretaker of our house, and teaching painting classes, I can’t afford to be high all the time, and I’m not. I can function like a normal adult, without having the leave my full grocery carts in the isle at the store, and without dragging my girls out of the park. I just feel like, me. After decades of dealing with this, I finally feel some relief. I can’t remember much of how I felt before the age of 10, but I like the way I feel now. I no longer carry that heaviness in my chest, I feel free from it. I still go to therapy, and it has helped tremendously. And I think I’m turning into the person I was always meant to be.
I’m a mother who uses marijuana, and I’m not ashamed of that one bit. It took a little research, reading others stories and trying it myself, to know that it shouldn’t be as taboo as it has become. I know I’ll never be that “perfect” mom, but my kids aren’t looking for perfect, they look for love and happiness and that starts with the parents. I don’t want other moms to feel ashamed or embarrassed, if they too use medical marijuana. This has helped me more than any other prescription medicine I have ever taken, and in my opinion, it is a ton safer. It took a long road to get where I am today. I wouldn’t change a thing from my past and what I went through. It was a huge learning experience, and I’m glad I get to share my story for other women to read. Sometimes you just need to know you’re not the only one struggling to feel better, to want to be a better parent, or maybe you are struggling to find a medication that will help with whatever element has come your way. Keep an open mind. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s hard being a mom, and dealing with your own personal issues. A little push can go a long way. Just don’t give up on yourself, keep trying, something will work for you. It’s out there, you just have to find your way towards it.