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How Weed Managed My Postpartum Pain & Improved My Mood

 August 08, 2023  Written by Kim Westerhold
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Why weed was crucial to my birth story

I’ve given birth three times to four kids (one set of twins) and I’m here to say that it doesn’t get any easier (all my births were via C-section).

When I was 19, I went to the hospital to get induced. I was past my due date and she didn’t want to come out, so this was the next option. I was excited and ready to meet my girl. They checked me in, got me hooked up to the monitors and I thought it was only a matter of hours before I met my first love. Sadly, when they went to check my cervix, we discovered I wasn’t dilated at all.

My doctor decided to give me medicine to help my cervix ripen.

Cervidil was placed inside my birthing canal and I was then told to wait 12 hours before my cervix would be ready to go. This wasn’t the case for me. I didn’t dilate at all and was still where I started when I arrived 12 hours earlier.

That's when they decided that I should have a C-section because of my failure to progress. Back then I wasn’t fazed by this outcome and was honestly happy to just get it over with. Now that I’m older, those words hurt. Again, failure to progress! Knowing I would never experience birth the natural way hurts. Still, I’m grateful I was blessed with four beautiful children and no complications, even if that meant three c-sections.

Why I needed weed to make my postpartum pain manageable

I don’t remember much about the birth of my oldest, let alone those first few days as a new mom. I do remember that I forgot to take my pain meds before heading home from the hospital. I told myself I’d just take them when I got home — no big deal. But then I fell asleep (for obvious reasons as giving birth is exhausting). And when I woke up, I was in so much pain.

Tears rolled down my eyes and I couldn’t even get out of bed. I remember my mom taking me into the bathroom to help me shower and crying because my body ached so bad that I could hardly stand. At that moment, I told myself I wouldn’t miss taking my pain meds again.

I remember how tired I was and how I would nod in and out while feeding my new baby. The exhaustion is pretty much all I could remember. I was in so much pain I couldn’t even take in the joys of becoming a new mom. It's all just a big, blurred memory of exhaustion.

The second birth I remember much more vividly.

...But maybe that’s because it was only four years ago. I remember how I faithfully took my pain meds every four hours. I didn’t miss a single dose. I was still tired and still nodded off while I nursed the twins, but I wasn’t in pain, which I took as a win. Until a month had gone by and I still hadn't had a bowel movement.

Now all my moms reading this know what I’m talking about — just how hard it is to make that first bowel movement.

You know what makes it even harder? Opioids. Yup, the little, tiny pills that were making my pain tolerable were severely constipating me. No one had told me there might be other options (like weed) to manage my pain. I had excruciating gas pains. I would sit and strain so hard just trying to get out one tiny, little fart and nothing.

I would cry because I was in so much pain and I just couldn’t release all this trapped gas let alone go #2. I wouldn’t wish this pain on my worst enemy. It was bad. I mean on all fours yelping kind of bad. I took laxatives, vitamins, and stool softeners, and nothing would work. No one had even suggested I try smoking weed to help, so I didn't think about it either.

I finally had to insert an enema up my butt (TMI I know) but hey this is what you experience after birthing tiny humans. This is what they don’t tell you about. I was so relieved when it finally worked and I could have sworn I lost ten pounds in a week just from going to the bathroom. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating slightly, but it was still such a weight lifted off my body.

When I made the switch from opioids to weed to manage my postpartum pain

When I got pregnant this last time, the only thing I dreaded was the afterbirth. I suffer from IBS so my bowels are already working against me. Add in a major abdominal surgery on top of that and it just spells a recipe for disaster.

I did not under any circumstances want to go through that pain again.

I stayed fit during my pregnancy in hopes it would keep my bowels moving properly and I drank water hoping to keep my system flushed out. This time around I told myself I wasn’t going to be taking pain meds every four hours. So here I was having my third (and hardest) c-section. Trying to heal from a c-section, while nursing a baby and trying to keep your twin toddlers off of your incision is not for the weak.

Unlike my last births, I wasn’t able to just lay in bed and rest. My oldest was in school by the time I had the twins, so I got to lay in bed all day and heal. But this birth I still had two littles at home with me all day that needed my attention. So here I was taking care of twins, doing schoolwork with my oldest, and nursing this new baby, yet my pain was manageable. Instead of taking pain meds every four hours, I was only taking them once a day in the morning.

So how did I manage my pain throughout the day, you ask?

By consuming weed. I found that going out to the garage and taking a couple of tokes here and there was all I needed to help keep my pain at a tolerable level. I wasn’t nodding in and out while feeding my new baby either. To know that I’m fully present because of weed this time around instead of drugged up and barely conscious on pain meds made me so happy.

I’m able to fully take in and remember this experience. I can sit and actually admire my newborn learning to nurse instead of struggling to keep my eyes open. I have been so calm and aware this time around and I’m so here for it — and it's all because I started smoking weed.

As of right now, I am two months postpartum and have been able to successfully go #2 and pass gas like a pro. I switched pain meds for weed and it was the best decision for me to heal during postpartum. I’ll choose weed over pain meds and their poopy side effects every time (no pun intended).

We all deserve to be present in those early days, they go by so fast. Weed made that possible for me this time around and I’m going to embrace every moment to the fullest.

Learn more about Kim Westerhold on the St. Louis Cannamoms website

Please note that this blog is not to be considered medical advice. Always consult your physician for more information and/or questions related to your specific medical history.

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