May is Mental Health Awareness Month and although we converse and spotlight mental health all year long, I wanted to take time to highlight some mental health topics and folks in our community who are doing amazing work.
I am so happy to highlight the work of Nina Yasmin as she was kind enough to write a piece about her experiences exploring psychedelic healing as a parent. Nina is a LMSW, a Brooklyn-based holistic healer, and psychedelic assisted psychotherapist & complex trauma specialist. She specializes in treating complex trauma with ketamine and oxytocin psychotherapy.
She has an extensive background working in trauma as it relates to childhood experiences, parenthood, pregnancy, birth, postpartum depression, anxiety and new families. Nina and her husband Justin run an amazing, educational podcast and blog exploring consciousness, relationships, parenting, human potential and growth called Lunita.
This month Nina is offering a piece on psychedelics and parenting. This topic is something that our community has shown SO much interest in and I am grateful to Nina for sharing her experience. I hope that you all have a moment to check out her work and her post on our site!
Parenting While Exploring Psychedelics by Nina Yasmin
Shortly after the birth of my first child, I was hit with the most crippling postpartum depression I could have imagined. It began with me feeling totally detached from my body in the early hours after labor. What I hoped was a light mist quickly shifted into a thick fog, preventing me from seeing myself or the world around me clearly, and at times at all.
After an extremely difficult time breastfeeding, I felt betrayed by my body. "Why can't my body just do what it is supposed to do?" was my daily mantra. Throw in a few bouts of mastitis, a colicky baby, no sleep and even less support, and I was fully in the eye of the perfect storm.
It wasn’t until I hit the lowest point I have ever experienced in my life that I was able to begin to rebuild what had crumbled. I began with microdosing small amounts of psilocybin in capsule form. Primarily using the Stamets and Fadiman methods in combination with regular exercise, meditation and weekly talk therapy, I eventually resurfaced to a baseline.
As time went on, and I began to dive into the world of psychedelics for healing, gratitude washed over me as I experienced the profound realizations and self-discovery I came to with the assistance of plant medicine, and I also saw myself exponentially growing as a parent.
A large part of how postpartum depression functioned for me was that it made me feel guilty all of the time. I was constantly second guessing my intuition and abilities as a mother. I was struggling to form a bond with my baby and blaming myself every step of the way. Psychedelics helped me get out of my own way and step fully into the mother I was destined to be.
I distinctly remember taking my wobbly 19-month-old to the park the day after a particularly ferocious storm. There were puddles everywhere and my daughter was just learning to walk. Before heading out the door, I consumed a small amount of an LSD microdose in tincture form. Very quickly, I noticed a slight sub-perceptual shift in my consciousness. Of course, I would not have taken a dose unsafe to be alone with my child, but I was able to engage in play in a much less inhibited and organic way.
I remember crouching down over a puddle, taking two small sticks and explaining to her how ripples form on water. Again and again we sat on the damp concrete and laughed as we created ripples in small puddles. Old me would have been concerned about her shoes getting wet or some other minute material detail, but this time I was able to fully engage in play for the joy of it. Free from restrictions and hesitations, my daughter was able to experience something truly magical -- her mother at her core.
It has been in the moments when I am in the afterglow of a psychedelic experience or in some stage of a safe microdose that I am able to step away from all the pressures I have allowed society to place onto my shoulders. It is in the small details -- catching snowflakes on our tongue, dipping twigs into puddles, choosing to walk the long way home so we can catch a view of the sunset -- that psychedelics have shown me so much of parenting is about letting go, releasing yourself of expectations and allowing yourself to step into who you are destined to be as a parent. These are some of my most fond moments with my daughter and ultimately ones that have strengthened the bond that I once believed was broken and irreparable.