Moms on Mushrooms is both a movement and open-armed community. But can microdosing psilocybin really improve parenting?
They’re not hippies or college kids on the search for existential epiphanies. Nope. They’re moms, and they’re coming out from the psychedelic closet and into the sunlight to share their secret to super-powered parenting: microdosing psilocybin. Moms on Mushrooms is both a movement and an open-armed community bringing moms together through the age-old sacred practice of using plant medicine for healing and growth – and it’s gaining traction.
Between carpools, Zoom calls, art projects, cooking, and keeping everyone healthy, how does a mom get her hands on magic mushrooms? And, more importantly, when does she decide that psilocybin is what she needs to reconnect herself and the universe at large?
Many are pointing to Michael Pollan and his book – the catalyzer of the Psychedelic Renaissance – How to Change Your Mind. “Only a science nerd could have led me to the Darkside,” says Christina Rivera Cogswell, one of the first microdosing moms to narrate her experience. In her Huffpost Personal piece published last year, she credits microdosing mushrooms with helping her “look deeply into the eyes of [her] own extinction.” With gut-churning guilt for the tumultuous world we’re leaving behind for the next generation –- one threatened by drought, wildfires, pandemics, greed, and global warming –– Cogswell pursued microdosing in desperation to find a small glimmer of peace.
But is there really anything “dark” about pairing your morning coffee with a little Psilocybe cyanescens? Both public opinion and science are shifting toward an exciting conclusion: no.
Learn to microdose with our free guide.
Though Cogswell’s essay may read like a shocking overshare to the unpracticed, she is hardly alone. With mushrooms decriminalized in Santa Cruz, Denver, Oakland, and a dozen more cities, “Plant Parenthood” or “Psychedelic Parenting” is becoming a more open and accepted practice.
Moms (and dads) who microdose claim that small amounts of psychedelics –– not enough to see faces in trees and bushes but enough to, theoretically, awaken a deeper consciousness –- help them deal with the depression, stress, and anxiety that can come with raising children. Mary, a Western New York physical therapist and microdosing mom, told Retreat that “microdosing helps me connect with [my] children and approach parenting from a more sympathetic lens.”
One Oakland mother, Natalie, even gives microdosing credit for saving her life. In an interview with Insider, Natalie explains that she sought psychedelic mushrooms after postpartum made her depression debilitating.
“I had a lot of rage where I wanted to hurt my baby. Sometimes she wouldn’t stop crying, and I just had so much anger inside of me that I was afraid for her, which caused me to want to kill myself because I was afraid that I was going to hurt my kid,” she confessed.
Now, she begins her days with a 100 mg magic mushroom pill from her Oakland dispensary and a meditation practice before waking up her daughter.
Natalie microdoses every other day for one month then takes a two-month break — and she credits this with transforming both her parenting style and inner world. With the support of her microdosing routine, she now takes on motherhood with a grounded sense of presence and purpose.
A growing body of research shows psilocybin benefits people suffering from depression, anxiety, and PTSD. We know that priorities and pace shift under the influence of psilocybin: take a heroic dose, and you may enjoy an altered sense of reality, see faces in trees, and have a mystical awakening. But what about microdosing? Can microdosing change our perception enough to be effective? And what changes in perception are microdosing moms chasing? For Mary, those changes are “no mental fog, more calm, and more creativity.”
Mary, Natalie, and Christina aren’t stretching the truth either. Science has a solid answer for why psilocybin has this grounding and unifying effect on people: psychedelics address the part of the brain known as our parahippocampal retrosplenial cortical network, which is understood to have a hand in our ego and sense of self.
Michael D. McGee, the chief medical officer at The Haven, an addiction treatment center in Pismo, breaks this down in an easier-to-understand manner for Allure, “When you take psychedelics, you loosen up and reduce the egoic experiences of identity and self, and it allows people to feel more connected, not only to themselves but to people and to the environment.”
When most think of mushrooms, they think of artists or rebellious college students searching for truth or enhanced creativity (or just a goofy, good time), but the effects microdosing has on mothering may be the most profound of all.
Mary, whose last name was withheld to protect her identity, also shares that microdosing helped her break the harmful cycle of transgenerational trauma. “I realized how much I was seeing my childhood trauma through my own kid,” she continues, “it was affecting my parenting skills. I realized the cycle of trauma needs to end with me.”
When intergenerational trauma feels impossible to beat, anecdotal evidence from microdosing moms shows that microdosing can not only improve how we view our pasts but also help us feel more confident about our children’s future.
Parenting has always been the most important and challenging job on the planet. Now, with the climate crisis and other existential uncertainties abounding – the end of the world is a seemingly in-reach and terrifying reality – mothering is more complicated than ever. Anything that can help us maintain optimism in an uncertain world and break bad thought cycles is a needed antidote to the trials of modern parenting –- even if it’s not fully legalized everywhere.
Even with clinical trials of MDMA and ketamine getting eyes throughout the research community and a number of states and countries have now either legalized or decriminalized psilocybin, it could be years before usage of psychedelics in a recreational manner comes with standardized dosages or proven knowledge of how parents can reap the benefits of psilocybin. But for those mothers who have already figured out how to safely and serenely self-dose mushrooms— experience is the only evidence that matters.
Learn to microdose with our free guide.
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