How CBD Helped Me Grieve the Death Of My Brother & Cope With Being A Stay At Home Mom To A Newborn Baby
In ancient Greece, it was customary to use cannabis to help manage the pain and sorrow that inevitably came with grieving the loss of a loved one.
I tried using CBD for grief myself when I recently had the unfortunate experience of losing my brother. The grief was excruciating. I pored through articles about grieving online and, much to my alarm, I came across one writer who stated that his personal experience with grief was so haunting and traumatic that it actually gave him PTSD. Not a very comforting thing to read after the death of my only sibling. Imagine losing your brother when you are four months pregnant and, all of a sudden, you are forced to manage grief like a pro because you are single-handedly responsible for somehow miraculously shielding the growing baby in your belly from your intense shock and melancholia.
Before my brother’s death, when I was eleven weeks pregnant, I had a high tech ultrasound done which revealed that my baby had a condition called Gastroschisis. This condition meant that her intestines were forming outside of her abdominal wall and would remain that way until after she was born. Nothing could fix her condition but surgery and there was a 10% chance she might not survive. When the doctor gave me this diagnosis she told me not to look up the condition on the internet and that whatever I did, I should NOT, under any circumstances, cause myself stress over this diagnosis, as that could be bad for the baby.
When I first got the news of my brother’s passing about a month and a half later I began to hyperventilate, which I realized probably wasn’t a good thing in light of what my doctor had just told me. So I did the only thing I could do in the moment and that was to pray. It seemed to work, because a profound feeling of calmness washed over me, my breathing slowed down and I felt instantly comforted as if both my brother were there with me and as if we were also in the presence of divine energy. From that second forward, to the very end of my pregnancy, and up until I stopped breastfeeding a couple of months after she was born, I felt my brother with me.
Feeling his presence from that day on helped me with my plan to prolong the denial stage at least five more months in order to spare potentially causing any type of stress to the baby. Right after giving birth to her, she was immediately taken into surgery where they were able to successfully put all of her intestines back inside her abdomen. Even though the surgery was a success, thank God, she still had to remain in Children’s Hospital for a full month before we could take her home.
It was a few months after having her home with us that those sharper edges of grief began to suddenly poke and prod at me. The world around me felt surreal and my brain was still grappling with the reality of my brother’s death. I calculated in my head how long it had been since his passing and realized I hadn’t really let myself start grieving yet. I had been walking around in a distracted daze. During my pregnancy, I had felt him close to me and my baby and it was almost as if I was imbued with a kind of miraculous grace. It wasn’t long after she was born that the feeling of his presence was beginning to wane. He was finally leaving me and he had to in order for me to be able to allow myself to grieve.
It is quite a strange feeling to experience such immense love and joy for your baby, but at the exact same time feel like your heart is being torn to shreds with grief. Now imagine feeling that way every single day. It was almost unbearable. Nevertheless, my baby was safely outside of my womb and although I knew my heavy emotional state couldn’t pass through the placenta and directly affect her anymore, I still didn’t want to be a depressed basket case of a mother around her either. I was worried how my stagnant sadness and depression, my bouts of anger and denial, and all of these extreme emotions that were running through me were going to affect her, especially since I was her primary caretaker, and I was the one who had to be around her the most.
People said that talking to a professional would help, which I had already done, and that meditation and prayer could help too, but it’s no easy feat to meditate while you are taking care of a baby almost entirely alone day in and day out.
How I Used CBD For My Grief
The one thing I found to be of the most help to me during this time was the 25mg CBD gel caps. I hadn’t even thought about taking them until I came across an article on CBD that stated that in ancient Greece, the Greeks had used the cannabis plant with great success to help them grieve the loss of loved ones.
Why not? I thought. It could be worth a shot. I reached for the gel caps and began taking one to two a day, one with my morning coffee and one in the evening after getting the baby to bed. I also would like to note here that I was no longer breastfeeding at this point. If you are considering taking CBD in any form and are either pregnant or breastfeeding, please consult your doctor first.
After taking the gel caps, I began to notice positive changes right away. For one thing, I was able to fall asleep and stay asleep, (as long as the baby did too of course). For another thing, I felt more energized during the day, which allowed me to continue to be productive as a work from home mom in addition to giving me the energy I needed to keep up with the demands of taking care of a baby all day long. The sleep issue is very important when it comes to taking CBD, since taking it allows me to sleep soundly but not too soundly, which is crucial when you have an infant to monitor throughout the night.
Before taking the CBD for my grief, I felt more alone, stressed, angry and sad. After my journey with taking CBD regularly, I felt more hopeful and positive in the face of my depression. I felt less lonely too. I was more relaxed and able to take on the burden that this overwhelming grief had laid at my feet. And in the midst of this incredibly painful loss I was experiencing, I somehow began to feel the slightest bit empowered. I was able to more easily keep things in perspective and keep my eye on the bigger picture. All of this has helped me enormously through my grieving process. I’m no longer as numb as I used to be and I sometimes burst into tears without warning, but I know that that’s OK. What I think is most miraculous is how the CBD has helped me to feel like I can cope with this immeasurable grief AND be a fully present and loving mother to my baby all at the same time.
I think the ancient Greeks were onto something.