Article by Paul Gaita, The Fix
Most new mothers experience some form of depression after childbirth—anxiety, sadness, anger—that lasts a few days after delivery. But for a very small percentage of women, the depressive symptoms continue beyond that time period, and develop into a debilitating condition that can last for several months or even a year.
Approximately 6.5% to 12% of new mothers experience postpartum depression, an unpredictable mood disorder that remains largely unexplained by medical professionals.
Therapy and personal support are often suggested as early treatment for the condition, but a growing number of new mothers in Austin, Texas are turning to marijuana to contend with the emotional pain of postpartum depression. Though it’s proven successful in many cases, they must use cannabis in secret due to the Lone Star State’s strict policy regarding marijuana use for specific medical conditions.
However, a new bill has been introduced in the Texas Senate that seeks to expand marijuana use for a wider array of health issues, including postpartum depression.
The Austin-based television station KXAN spoke to several women who have turned to marijuana to aid in their struggle with postpartum issues. Some, like Celia Behar, spoke openly about her experience, which began with crippling depression after the birth of her eldest daughter. “I couldn’t get out of bed,” she recalled. “I didn’t want to hurt her or anybody else. I just wanted to hurt myself and more than anything, I just wanted to disappear.”
A doctor prescribed Prozac, which left Behar with numbness, tremors and migraines, but after the birth of her second daughter, she turned to marijuana, first in joint form and later as an oil and edible. “It worked right away,” she said. “There are no lasting side effects. [And] my rage was gone – I didn’t have that anymore.”