Psychedelics and parental mental health is a relatively new, and yet vitally important field of exploration. Parents experience a heightened amount of stress, particularly after welcoming home a first child. Incidents of postpartum are frequent among parents of all genders, and can often go undiagnosed. The pressure of parenting can also lead to increased isolation and difficulty finding time to care for oneself, including seeking therapy services.
Parenthood is such a complex life chapter.
Some individuals have to come off of medications just to safely get pregnant and are white-knuckling it thereafter. The changes from hormones also take a long time to settle, and it can be a roller coaster guide. Hormonal and mood changes can actually happen for any parent, not just the one who may have given birth. Then you add in difficulties with sleep, physical recovery, needing practical support, and trying to bond…
The journey to parenthood is unique for everyone.
There’s no real way to fully mentally prepare for pregnancy or welcoming a child. I often hear therapy clients and friends struggling with reconciling their actual experiences with messages seen by others. If it doesn’t match, parents feel like something is just really wrong with them. And then there’s the difficulty of how you rest or have time to get movement, let alone trying to get mental health help.
Reasons people seek alternative medicine options.
There are many reasons that folks seek alternatives to what is commonly available in our medical care. Although anti-depressants can be helpful, for some they are not effective or cause challenging side effects. A parent may also worry about what they are putting in their body, not only during pregnancy but also while breastfeeding.
What do we know about psychedelics and micro-dosing while pregnant and beyond?
This is all to say, that parent mental health, including for folks who have a uterus or identify as mothers, needs a lot of attention. But when it comes to psychedelics, little is known because it is a really tricky thing to study. Offering a treatment that is consumed means there may be a risk to both the parent and the child. More research is needed before clearer recommendations are available, but for now, parents may be left on their own trying to figure out if psychedelic medicine is an option for them.
The legalities of Psychedelics.
I recently went on a podcast with Ligaya to give a brief overview of the state of legality in terms of psychedelic medicine, explain what is Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy, and offer resources for folks seeking more information on psychedelics. My goal in offering these resources is to help with harm reduction, meaning to increase safety and reduce adverse effects.
Please note that I am not a medical provider and cannot provide any medical advice and that most psychedelics are illegal in most states.
Why did I focus on ketamine-assisted psychotherapy for postpartum?
I specifically focused on ketamine-assisted psychotherapy not only because it is a legal option in all 50 states, but also because
1) Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy already has promising results for the treatment of acute suicidality, persistent depression, support with trauma work, and pervasive anxiety.
2) Even if folks cannot access KAP, ketamine treatment (medicine only) may still be a possible option to explore
3) Research shows that ketamine clears the body quickly, offering the potential that individuals who are breastfeeding may be able to benefit from this option even if they are lactating.
The resources I put together include a few books.
Books on Micro dosing Psychedelics and Psilocybin for Women:
The Microdosing Guidebook: A Step-By-Step Manual to Improve Your Physical and Mental Health Through Psychedelic Medicine by CJ Spotswood
This book talks not only about various substances in a way no other book I’ve seen covers, but it also gives over the basics of what microdosing is and how to do it with increased safety.
The Psilocybin Handbook for Women: How Magic Mushrooms, Psychedelic Therapy, and Microdosing Can Benefit Your Mental, Physical, and Spiritual Health by Jennifer Chesak
This is an easy-to-read book that covers what is and isn’t yet known about psilocybin. It is a great intro for someone new to psychedelics and particularly curious about topics specific to folks with a uterus, including menstruation.
Podcast on Psychedelics During Pregnancy and Nursing:
The spirit pharmacist, who offers consultations regarding psychedelics, talks about psychedelics during pregnancy and nursing on this blog, and the podcast below it.
The spirit pharmacist also has a guide online that you can bring to your psychiatrist or medication prescriber to wean off of medications that would be contra-indicated with psilocybin use.
Psychedelic Community for Mamas and Parents:
Psychedelic Mamas Group with Christine Pateros in the Denver/Boulder Area of CO:
This is a therapy group offered by one of my PRATI mentors, Chris Pateros. Reach out to find out about the next offering of ketamine-assisted psychotherapy for mothers:
Moms on Mushrooms Instagram Community – the name says it all! They also have their own platform with a private community:
Research Articles on Psychedelics and Maternal Mental Health:
Article on the theoretical framework for postpartum and how psychedelics, including psilocybin, could be potentially helpful:
Article on Ketamine in Breastmilk:
The group that did the breastmilk research is developing a protocol for Ketamine for postpartum (no guidelines are out yet)
Outcome studies more broadly on ketamine:
How to Find a Psychedelic Provider:
– You can look for terms like Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP), Psychedelic Therapy, and Psychedelic Integration on websites like therapyden.com and psychologytoday.com
– You can also google the psychedelic integration group near me or find one online. They may be run by peers (other folks from the community interested in psychedelics), psychedelic guides, various healing professionals, and therapists.
– Similarly, if looking instead for Spravato or infusion clinics, you can Google for those near you (please check reviews!)
– Use the Psychedelic Support Network and search for someone near you or by area of specialty:
– Reach out to an organization that trains medical and mental health providers and ask for alumni near you; they can be slow to update online directories so reaching out can expedite it! You can also look for folks who graduated from programs like IPI and CPTR.
Test your Psychedelic Medicine:
Whether you are sourcing for yourself or have a guide (outside of a therapy or medical environment) providing you with medicine, it is important to test before you ingest! This is particularly important in recreational settings such as festivals, where impure substances commonly circulate and there is a risk of fentanyl poisoning. You can get many uses out of a test kit, so it will last you.
Although I am unable to provide any medical advice or sourcing information for psychedelics, I hope that this resource list is helpful for you or those you care about!
Ready to Learn More About Psychedelic Medicine? Reach out to The Project yes Today!
If you are interested in learning more about healing through the use of psychedelics, we have answers for you. Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy is a proven alternative treatment that can address mental health issues that have proven treatment-resistant in the past. At Project Yes, Dr. Kholodkov is trained extensively in the KAP Process and is here to help you on your journey to healing through Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy and beyond. Follow the steps below to get started:
- Fill out our convenient online contact form here.
- Learn more about Dr. Kholodkov.
- Begin your journey to improved mental health and well-being.
Other Services Offered by Project Yes
In addition to Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy, we offer Psychotherapy Services for Anxiety, Insomnia, Integrative Health, OCD, and Trauma and PTSD as well as Yoga and Meditation Options. We look forward to guiding you on your journey toward optimal physical and mental well-being.