This is my revolution. I'm pulling my seat up to the table. I found out I was pregnant, for the first time, while cultivating medical cannabis for a Black-owned cultivation center in DC, I had to make a really tough decision. I didn't know how I would coexist as a Black woman in the cannabis industry and now, a young Black mom in this space. There was no way. The taboo was way too apparent. The stereotypes, the misinformation, the propaganda and the stigma is all too real in Black communities. For example, you'll likely find that "there isn't enough research done on the benefits or harm of cannabis during pregnancy" yet cannabis received official medical recognition as a childbirth aid in the 1850s.
Essentially, the hard labor of cultivation was causing me a lot of physical stress (lifting 5 gallon buckets of water all morning is not easy when you have morning sickness) and the grow environment wasn't safe. So I resigned from my job, after really feeling like I had no choice. I was pregnant and isolated in a male dominated industry and no way to support or advocate for myself and my needs as a pregnant person. I resigned from doing something I'd wanted to do for so long--GROW Cannabis!
From there, I was drawn to birthwork where I began to cultivate my love of birth and supporting mamas and babies. Having little support during my pregnancy, especially in the first five months while I was working at the cultivation center, I became empowered to advocate for myself and other expectant families. One thing I've noticed since starting this journey, is the shame present in mothers who do decide to use cannabis. And there is a lot of us. And a lot of shame. Cannabis is the most used "illicit drug" by pregnant women. So, my questions now became: why are we so ashamed? So many women, mothers, I've personally worked with and talked to use cannabis to treat all types of pregnancy concerns. From severe nausea, to pain relief, to postpartum depression! First, I had to do a lot of my own self-acceptance when it came to cannabis use. I do consume cannabis, medically and recreationally, and as a black woman, mama, birthworker, and cannabis entrepreneur, I stand by that. &I applaud other women who are choose to. 👏🏾 So often Black mom's get discouraged from seeking doula support for the fear they have of being judged for their consumption!
In order do my best work as a doula, I think it is so important to bring my whole self to the table, so that I can truly advocate for us. I've been working tirelessly to combine my knowledge and experience in the cannabis industry and my work as a doula. I recently realized I've been educating pregnant people about cannabis this whole time. Moms need access to safe cannabis. Moms need education on methods of consumption. We need to talk about harm reduction. Families need support in order to talk to their doctors about their cannabis use. We need safe spaces as black women without threat of our babies being taken from us for cannabis consumption. Black women deserve the same respect as other women who use cannabis while pregnant. In one article I read recently, it described white women reportedly using "marijuana cigarettes" and black women as "smoking joints" during pregnancy. That language there is fucked up. Black women are criminalized for illicit drug use during pregnancy and white women are revolutionary hippie moms using the latest alternative medicine, or trailblazing into a male dominated industry. Not while I'm here. I'm taking up space. I will be seen and heard on this topic, with the hopes of providing education to break stigmas and stereotypes. We deserve birth equity and cannabis equity at the same damn time.
The prohibition of cannabis and the War on Drugs directly impacted Black women and our families. I believe that cannabis can potentially restore our health and well-being individually and collectively. Becoming a doula, for me, is about selflessly caring for birthing people, being nonjudgmental of people's birth choices, and providing them with or connecting them to evidence based information and education. I'm providing the care that I desperately needed as a first time mom. Unbiased, holistic birth support. I'm creating herb and cannabis infused goods for the body, bath, and home especially catering to women's health, pregnancy, and postpartum. I'll be collaborating with other women run brands in the cannabis space and other birthworkers with the hopes of creating honest dialogue and thorough educational and eventful workshops.
Thank you for your continued support. I'll be sharing more of my experience via Patreon.