Moms who microdose 'magic' mushrooms say the psychedelic made them better parents

Moms who microdose 'magic' mushrooms say the psychedelic made them better parents
·7 min read
mother cradling her baby surrounded by large mushroom illustrations, on top of an orange psychedelic background
Three moms told Insider that taking small amounts of psilocybin, the ingredient in "magic" mushrooms, helped them with parenting. Marianne Ayala/Insider
  • Three moms said that taking small amounts of psilocybin made them more present and calmer parents.

  • It's also helped them deal with trauma and postpartum symptoms, they told Insider.

  • Research suggests psychedelic drugs like psilocybin have therapeutic potential.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Editor's note: This article discusses suicidal ideation.

When Natalie wakes up in the morning, she takes her 100-milligram "'magic" mushroom pill, meditates, and wakes up her daughter.

The mom of one, who asked Insider to withhold her last name for her family's privacy, said she'd been taking small amounts of psilocybin, the psychedelic found in these mushrooms, for almost a year, after being postpartum intensified her depression.

"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," Natalie said.

Now, with the support of microdosing, or regularly taking a small amount of a substance, she can face motherhood and life with a sense of calm, she said.

Natalie was introduced to the psychedelic a year after giving birth when her cousin struck up a conversation about psilocybin and its therapeutic potential. At the time, Natalie said, the idea of using shrooms terrified her, but the lack of relief she felt from her antidepressant medication made her open to other solutions.

She created a microdosing regimen using psilocybin from a dispensary in Oakland, California, where she lives and where the substance is decriminalized. Since October, Natalie has microdosed every other day for a month, followed by a two-month break - a practice she says has transformed her.

Natalie is one of a growing number of moms using magic mushrooms to enhance their parenting abilities. As the movement to decriminalize psychedelics in the US grows and more scientific evidence suggests magic mushrooms have mental health benefits, people have increasingly become open to the practice.

Three mothers who microdose psilocybin told Insider it transformed them into more patient and present parents and helped with pregnancy and postpartum mental-health struggles.

A mounting body of research suggests psilocybin has therapeutic benefits for depression, anxiety, and trauma. But the lack of research on microdosing means its long-term risks are unclear.

Magic mushrooms
"Microdosing definitely helped me arrive at motherhood in such a well-formed way that I felt like I was just given a boost of optimism immediately," one mother told Insider. Floris Leeuwenberg/Getty Images

Some moms swear by taking small doses of 'magic' mushrooms regularly

Unlike a full-blown trip, microdosing psilocybin doesn't cause hallucinations or other effects that would interfere with a normal day's activities.

There's no agreed-upon dose or schedule for microdosing. Researchers have suggested taking one-tenth to one-twentieth of a dose that would result in a psychedelic trip and repeating that every three days.

Natalie said her microdosing regimen made her feel as if her world is in order and everything is flowing as it should. She's able to watch her daughter all day, study for school, and work, while feeling a sense of calm she never had before, she told Insider.

Mama de la Myco, a 27-year-old in San Diego, said that taking psilocybin on and off throughout college, during pregnancy, and after giving birth helped her avoid passing trauma on to her son, who is almost 2.

She asked Insider to refer to her by her Instagram account name to protect her family's identity. She uses the platform to teach other parents about psilocybin and to talk about how her experiences with the substance healed her childhood and sexual trauma.

"My father was a drug addict, so me taking this medicine, seeing my parents as real people, and knowing they raised me from a traumatized space gives me a lot of compassion for how I was raised," she told Insider. "It also allows me to drop those things they gave me, because I understand I don't have to continue that line."

Mama de la Myco said she took 3 grams of psilocybin (a full, trip-inducing dose) six months into her pregnancy in the form of a tea she brewed. There are no long-term studies on psilocybin use during pregnancy, and doctors don't recommend it.

She said she found the experience so beneficial that she microdosed for the next three months as a way to cope with the stress of being a new mother.

"I didn't even want to go to sleep at night because I knew how hard the night was going to be," she said. "It wasn't until I took that first dose that I was given tools and skills for how to deal with this and how to support myself mentally and physically. Microdosing definitely helped me arrive at motherhood in such a well-formed way that I felt like I was just given a boost of optimism immediately."

Nahea Metoyer, a 36-year-old mother in Texas, also found that psilocybin relieved postpartum symptoms when she started a microdosing regimen in 2020.

Metoyer said she felt too anxious to let her first child out of her sight and developed an irrational fear of heights. Once Metoyer started microdosing, she was able to tend to those fears and work with her second child, who's on the autism spectrum, she said.

Following the birth of her third child, Metoyer was laid off from her job, and her husband began working from home. Despite the hectic environment, she noticed she felt calmer, especially when she compared her emotional state with that of her husband, who had started to become a "helicopter parent," she said.

Eventually, her husband began to microdose, and his anxiety around parenting decreased too, Metoyer said.

Microdosing moms face judgment and threats

Psilocybin is largely illegal in the US, though a handful of cities and towns have decriminalized it, meaning it's the lowest priority for law enforcement.

In Oakland, where Natalie lives, psilocybin is decriminalized. It isn't in San Diego. Mama de la Myco said she knew magic-mushroom growers in her area and used them to brew psilocybin tea for herself and her loved ones.

Both mothers, who became friends over their shared interest, said that their families supported their psilocybin use but online trolls often threatened to call child protective services or told them they were "unfit" or "drug addicts."

Metoyer said she believes so strongly in the therapeutic potential of psilocybin that she's willing to go to jail for her lifestyle.

Mama de la Myco said she once had the same mentality, but decided to keep her real name off of her social media accounts over the fear of her son being taken away.

'Microdosing let me know who I really am'

For some mothers, psilocybin became a lifeline when other options didn't reduce the mental and emotional struggles of motherhood.

Metoyer said that microdosing allowed her to support her neurodivergent 4-year-old in public. She used to be paralyzed with fear over leaving the house with him, she said.

Natalie said she no longer takes antidepressants or ADHD medication.

"Microdosing let me know who I really am," Natalie said. "I go to a therapist every week, and this is the most stable I've ever been in my whole entire life."

She added, "I'm able to parent myself and my daughter in a whole different way, because when I microdose, I know I've got this."

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