Original Publishing found at >>> The mama struggle <<< Real talk about the complexities of motherhood. One story at a time.
As a pregnant mother of a toddler, every day is a struggle to feel well enough, and energized enough to take care of my household. The first 16 weeks of my second pregnancy involved constant nausea, some vomiting, diarrhea, extreme fatigue, light headedness, and dizziness. I think we all can agree that motherhood is a beast and that birthing people should do what works to safely manage it. This not only includes out of whack hormone levels, mood swings, and sleep deprivation, but even the management of intrusive thoughts, anxiety, rage, trauma, and even grief. As more resources are being put forth to combat an abysmal maternal and infant mortality rate in the US, we are now more educated than ever about the chemical, physical, and emotional changes that birthing people go through before, during, and after giving birth.
That being said, more and more individuals are taking autonomy over their experiences and choosing to birth and heal from birth on their own terms. Some of those changes include an increase in the use of doulas and midwives, and an increased incidence of home births, especially now during the pandemic. With birthing communities demanding more autonomy in the decision-making regarding birth, we also see an increase in the use of CBD products designed to help manage not only pregnancy and postpartum symptoms Whoopi Goldberg and her daughter started a company that makes products specifically aiding menstruation symptoms. Even Kim Kardashian had a CBD themed baby shower.
As we find out more about the intensity of prenatal and postpartum symptoms that birthing people experience and are more well-versed on details regarding the scope and incidence of PMADs (perinatal mood disorders that include postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, postpartum rage, and even postpartum psychosis), it is no wonder that people are seeking alternative therapies to fill a very real gap in care that the medical industry is struggling to fill. I recently had the opportunity to speak with Megon Dee Cave, cannabis chef and owner of Oracle Wellness Co. to discuss her decision to integrate the use of her specifically designed line of CBD products throughout her pregnancy and postpartum periods.
I asked her specifically how she broached the subject of CBD integration with family, friends, and medical providers. During her first pregnancy in 2011, she indicated that she was met with a lot more inconsiderate pushback than she did with her most recent pregnancy and birth in 2019 as CBD product use has become a lot less taboo and a lot more mainstream. Megon’s approach to cannabinoid integration “is from a perspective of reclaiming the human experience when it comes to motherhood and bringing a new life into the world."
[The use of] cannabis and herbs as medicine in pregnancy is not new and has been practiced for centuries within different cultures to aid in pain relief, inflammation reduction, nausea relief, hormonal migraine relief, and insomnia just to name a few ailments. I pose the question of comparing [the use of] opioids [typical in hospital births] vs. plant medicine as pain management tools. What are the pros and cons? It’s about knowing your options and making the best decision for you and your family.”
The second time around, Megon chose to work with a clinic of midwives (still wary of the negative stigma around CBD use in hospital births) who were pro-CBD and supportive of her choice as long as they weren’t the ones administering it.
At the end of the day, Megon was very open about understanding people’s trepidation regarding CBD products and motherhood. “This backlash/pushback is often from a place of miseducation or lacking information. Education is key to normalizing cannabinoids as medicine. I simply educate them through my own personal experiences of cannabinoid integration. If you are prepared with the facts then there is little room for opposition.” I found Megon’s ability to critically examine the medical industry’s pain protocols while also having empathy for those who may not be supportive of such a choice refreshing.
As a chef and cannabinoid practitioner, Megon has a deep understanding of CBD and gave me a super sciency and technical explanation when I asked what exactly CBD was. She broke it down. “CBD or cannabidiol is just one cannabinoid of over 100 cannabinoids – a chemical compound found in the cannabis and hemp plant. All mammals possess an endocannabinoid system which houses receptors that allow for cannabinoids to interact with our bodies. CBD has no intoxicating effects in comparison to its cousin THC (which provides psychoactive effects), which makes CBD the desirable cannabinoid to isolate and bring to the consumer market as an introduction to normalizing cannabis as medicine.”
She went on to discuss the use of CBD products for managing the prenatal and postpartum periods before, during, and after giving birth. “CBD integration into pregnancy is used to aid in pain management and to [help ease] pregnancy related symptoms including pain relief, inflammation reduction, nausea relief, hormonal migraine relief, uterus contraction relief, and insomnia relief just to name a few ailments. For postpartum [integration, these products aid in decreasing] depression, promoting cesarean healing, promoting hormonal rebalancing, and reducing inflammation.”
Her company, Oracle Wellness Co.creates products consisting of 0% alcohol glycerin-based tinctures, MCT coconut CBD oil, as well as a full-spectrum cannabinoid topical. Each has proven to be effective in reducing pain/symptoms in the above areas. Megon’s own experience with cannabinoid integration, resulted in (wait for it….): pain relief. She reported no negative physical side effects at all. “While in labor, I ingested my tincture Formula 003. I don’t suggest administering the tinctures on your own but have an assigned person who can aid in administering the doses accordingly.”
Megon opted for an at home, water birth which lowered her chances of facing interference and scrutiny from Child Protective Services.
Megon gave very clear advice for families interested in using CBD products throughout pregnancy and postpartum but who may not be exactly sure if it’s the right move. She says families should do the following:
Invest in a consultation with a CBD practitioner such as herself to “discuss personal goals and concerns. When a family consults with me and decides to integrate cannabinoids into their family planning, they also get a custom manual PDF with detailed instructions.”
Weigh your options. Consider what are the pros and cons? It’s about knowing your options and making the best decision for you and your family.
Have your baby at home or in a controlled environment with trained midwives and doulas if you can. Consulting with a doctor can be risky because they are confined to the regulations of insurance and medical boards. (Midwives are also governed by an overarching board and have regulations and stipulations, but tend to have more leeway than an OB at a traditional hospital)
Research the laws in your state around cannabis and child protective services. Announcing your decision publicly around your cannabis integration into your family planning can [result in] backlash because the plant is still not federally legal. Take precautions around your privacy to protect yourself and your family.
Our conversation shifted gears a bit to discuss what parenting has been like during a pandemic. I appreciated Megon’s honesty because, as a parent myself, I know for a fact that we are all doing the best we can. “I am divorced as of July 2020, and we co-parent our daughter. So co-parenting in 2020 has been a whole rewarding adventure. I began homeschooling my oldest almost three years ago, so in a way I was preparing for the transition that we see today in how children are learning. I’ve embraced an unschooling structure, as this works best for our family. It’s not easy balancing motherhood, entrepreneurship, COVID, and dating, but I don’t put too many hard expectations on myself or others. I’ve learned that acceptance is freedom. Accept things for what they are and nothing less.”
I ended our conversation asking her about the events of 2020 and how being in the epicenter of government resistance and Black Lives Matter in Portland has impacted how she parents, how she does business, and how she participates in self care and self keeping. Her response was thoughtful and thorough. There was a recognizable shift this summer during which she “became more protective, hyper aware, and went into survival mode. My experience is that my son was under attack as a black man [and thought of] to be a threat [by our society], before he was even born. From employers to school systems to medical institutions, I’ve had to fight for my son. …COVID allowed me to grow closer to my children. It forced me to rethink how I could find balance in self needs, family needs, and business needs.”
In discussing how her business has changed she states “My pivot game is strong. I’m strategic and lean into challenges and risks. [My] Business has [grown to provide] a more steady foundation. As Oracle Wellness Co. moves into its third year, I’m overwhelmed with the traction, gain, and growth of the business. The people have spoken. These products work for their needs.” As for self care and keeping, that is the basis of her business. “For many years I did not consider what my needs were, nor was [I] given space to do so. I made some life changing decisions and gave myself permission to heal and authentically love myself. Once I realized that I was not operating at my highest potential, I began putting my needs first. As an empath, I love to attract broken energies and attempt to heal them. This act of servitude has proven to be draining and harmful for me [as a result of] not understanding boundaries and [how to put] them into action. Oracle Wellness Co. is my way of helping people without exhausting my boundaries, while fulfilling my need to fix broken things.”
As for her own self care practice, “I start my day with gratitude for awakening to another day where I get to work within my purpose. I practice Nichiren Buddhism and meditate for 30 minutes. This allows me to access my higher self and seek guidance. I use my own products depending on my wellness needs for that day which include my CBD Spray Formula 005 or CBD Tincture Formula 003. Both formulas are for day time use. I read, write, and or listen to an informative podcast. I move my body by walking, jogging, yoga, or biking. [I] drink water and consume my herbal blend of earth. Balance is the goal when activating my wellness ritual. I’m creating the same for those seeking balance in their self care.”
Our country has a history of placing limits on bodily autonomy when it comes to medical decisions; especially decisions around reproductive rights and a woman’s right to choose how she receives medical care. I haven’t personally used CBD products and am not endorsing their use, especially not without the consultation of a medical professional. However, one has to wonder why it is taking the federal government so long to get on board with legalizing a product that the majority of Americans agree people should be allowed to use both medically and recreationally. While we still have a lot to learn about the science of CBD use during and directly after pregnancy, the positive after effects of CBD product use are sworn by. The anecdotal evidence exists, and while I know that isn’t a sufficient enough reason on which to base overarching medical research, it should at least pave a way forward for what research on this topic could look like.