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Psychedelics, Motherhood, Pregnancy, & Child Development Ft. Mikaela de la Myco

Join us for an eye-opening episode of the Psychedelic Passage podcast as host Nicholas Levich sits down with the remarkable Mikaela de la Myco, an Indigenous mother, mushroom educator, and community ceremony facilitator. 

In this conversation, they delve deep into the world of psychedelics and their intersection with motherhood, pregnancy, and child development. 

Mikaela, hailing from diverse ancestral backgrounds, shares her insights and experiences from Italy, the Caribbean, and the mountains of Mexico. 

She provides a fresh perspective on the rematriation of entheogens and how it ties into the stewardship of psychedelics by Indigenous women and Earth-centered communities. 

This episode will challenge your perceptions and offer a much-needed spotlight on the role of women in psychedelic practices. Explore the uncharted territories of psilocybin’s presence in the mother’s body during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Discover how the earth’s medicines, like mushrooms and cannabis, are being integrated into the journeys of mothers seeking alternative approaches to wellness. 

Mikaela’s in-depth research, anecdotal evidence, and survey data reveal the potential benefits of these plant allies on emotional resilience, cognitive development, and enhanced communication between mothers and their children.

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For harm-reduction purposes, we provide links to online psilocybin vendors, local stores, delivery services, and spore vendors for growing your own medicine at home.

Episode 57 – Psychedelics, Motherhood, Pregnancy, & Child Development Ft. Mikaela de la Myco

Nicholas Levich:

Welcome to the Psychedelic Passage podcast. My name is Nick Levich, and I am so grateful to be with you all today. Once again, it’s just me in the studio. Jimmy is out taking a little break from recording. 

And with me today, I have a very special guest, Mikaela Dela Mico, and we are gonna be talking about the topic of mushrooms, motherhood, pregnancy, and all things womb related. And before we jump into it, I just want to give a little background on Mikaela. 

She comes from a blended ancestry. Her people come from Italy, the Caribbean, and the deserts and mountains of Mexico. 

She is a mother, a mushroom educator, and acts as a community ceremony facilitator in an occupied Kumeyaay territory, also known as San Diego, California. 

She serves all people with ancestral practices with focus in serving cycling people, folks within the birthing continuum, and people navigating natural birth control and pregnancy releases. 

She holds quarterly community circles where people can journey through the dark Amenta to cover ancestral messages, rewrite trauma wounds and make meaning with mushroom and other earth medicines. 

Her platform, Mama de la Myco, centers on the remaduration of entheogens and stands at the intersection of medicine woman, psychedelic mother, and sacred hoe. Thank you for joining us today, Mikaela.

Mikaela de la Myco:

Thank you so much for having me. It’s an absolute joy to be here.

Nicholas Levich:

That was a bit of a mouthful. I hope I did you justice.

Mikaela de la Myco:

You did so great. And what I would love to maybe respeak is the rematriation of entheogens. And I think it is so beautiful that this conversation is actually really around the rematriation of entheogens. So can’t wait to dive into it and seek to understand more about what that means.

Nicholas Levich:

For sure, thank you for that. And, you know, ultimately in this episode, we’re talking about all things motherhood, pregnancy, conception, and womb related. And I just recognize and want to acknowledge that this is a hot topic and also tends to be a very controversial one.

And so I’m particularly excited to have you on because this is a question that we get a lot in our support inbox from readers, from listeners. Folks are very curious about the interaction of plant medicines and specifically psilocybin mushrooms as it relates to all things motherhood. 

I want to start by just acknowledging that there are several stages for womb holders from conception to pregnancy to birth to postpartum to motherhood and even menopause later in life. 

I recognize that, you know, I’m a man, so I can only speak to this to a certain extent. And so I’m grateful to have your perspective and just acknowledging that each stage here is filled with, um, revolving transition and transformation.

Mikaela de la Myco:

Mm-hmm, it absolutely does. And although you are in the body that you are in, I still feel like this kind of education is for everyone because we’ve all come from womb. 

We all got someone who’s a friend of ours with one and the general literacy, I think, really needs to come up in this space. So I’m actually really happy that I’m having a conversation with you about this. 

And I can’t wait for this to touch, move, and inspire the listeners that didn’t even feel like this kind of education was related to them in any way.

Nicholas Levich:

Totally. And the other thing that I think about is like, I’ve often been thinking about how Mother Earth is like the big womb that holds us all. And so you know, even in that capacity, like we’re all interacting with that womb like energy just by existing on Earth and being sustained by her.

Mikaela de la Myco:

This is the rematriation of entheogens. To rematriate is to give the responsibility and the stewardship back to namely indigenous women and women who are of the earth. 

And the stewardship of this entheogenic space, I think really does and has been missing a lot of that influence and energy for quite some time.

I think one of the last few caretakers of the Western world is, who’s held up on such a beautiful pedestal, is Maria Sabina, you know, and then for the most part, like in the Western consciousness of entheogens, we don’t see a lot of matriarchs kind of at the helm of this movement. 

And as people that care take the earth through identification of plants, different mushrooms, the caretaking of children, the caretaking of the culture of the entire society–

I think it would be really nice to see those people just come back into more of a steering role and more of a role within leadership in the space. And I think what often gets criticized about women or people that are cycling and leadership is that we’re inconsistent because we cycle, right?

Nicholas Levich:

Mhm.

Mikaela de la Myco:

But truly, if we are living on a living planet, the planet is also cycling.

Nicholas Levich:

Yeah, we got seasons!

Mikaela de la Myco:

It’s not situated in this constant state of labor and production. I think that really destabilizes the system that we’re in. 

So I totally understand why we don’t have a seat at the table always or “building the table with people”, so to speak, but I feel like it’s the very energy that’s so needed so that we can really address the needs of the planet right now. 

And we’re totally seeing that with what’s going on in many parts of the planet with natural disasters and also man-made disasters on the face of the earth.

Nicholas Levich:

Totally, yeah, I appreciate you bringing that forward. And I wanna start with this question that I feel like is on everyone’s mind and it’s probably the one related to motherhood that we get the most, which is are mushrooms safe for mothers?

Are Mushrooms Safe For Early Mothers?

[00:06:00] Mikaela de la Myco:

Are mushrooms safe for mothers? Well, certainly if you are far into your motherhood experience, your kids are adults now, why would they not be, right? Like, why would they not be safe for you than any other person? 

But I think really what this question is asking and considering is the early mother, right? Is mushroom safe for the early mother? 

The mother who is preconception, in their conception journey, if they are someone who is currently gestating a child, if they’re in the labor room and postpartum and extended or breastfeeding, right? 

Like we are really actually interested with this particular question, with the proximity that psilocybin has to the child.

Nicholas Levich:

Exactly.

Mikaela de la Myco:

That’s mostly what we’re concerned with, right? And so, um, are mushrooms safe for mothers? Yes. Are mushrooms safe for people that are growing children and feeding children? 

Well, that is a conversation that a lot of people want to have right now. And that’s a primary question I feel like my entire life’s work is kind of building the research around–

Because in the National Institutes of Health they have official statements saying that we just don’t have the research, that we’ve never conducted research with pregnant women. 

We’ve never conducted research for people that wanted to become pregnant. We’ve never conducted research for breastfeeding. 

So we can only really look at what the most recent scientific research is in animal studies, which is what we do have, and also the cultural and social practices of people that have these medicines as a part of their cultural worldview. 

So to say if death is a toxic endpoint to mother or child, then no, we don’t have any cases of psilocybin causing harm as far as death goes–

And that’s been proven through the LD50, and also experiments they did with the C. psilocin rat experiment, which I would love to share with you today, because I think it’s a really important piece of evidence that we have.

Nicholas Levich:

For sure. And so I guess, do you feel like for purposes of our conversation, it’s better to address that now or maybe touch on that later as far as kind of addressing any sort of body of work or science around that?

Mikaela de la Myco:

Let’s talk about the body of work because I think that’s what people are really on this podcast to listen to, you know?

Nicholas Levich:

Great.

Current Scientific Research & Understanding on Safety of Psilocin/Psilocybin in Pregnant Women

[00:08:30] Mikaela de la Myco:

And I can talk about my own research later and filling the gaps, but we should know what is actually here. And what is actually here is one piece of research that was done, the C-Psilocin experiment, where scientists injected pure psilocin–

Which is the psychoactive constituent in psilocybin containing mushroom, intramuscularly into a rat mother who was pregnant and they were like, let’s see what happens–

Nicholas Levich:

Hahaha.

Mikaela de la Myco:

–to mom and baby. And so what the scientists found, which is really amazing, is well one thing’s for sure, that psilocybin and psilocin specifically cross through the blood-brain barrier and also through the placental wall. 

So we do know that yes, baby is being entrenched with psilocin and a psychoactive that we are aware of. What’s cool, though, is although the psilocin gets processed out of the fetal tissues slower than the mom, so their journey is–

Nicholas Levich:

is longer.

Mikaela de la Myco:

Going to last longer. But what we do know is that concentrations are highest in the mom.

Nicholas Levich:

Mm.

Mikaela de la Myco:

And so there’s a really nice buffer between. The placenta is an ingenious organ, it’s the only organ that grows itself. Essentially, the uterine grows an organ that’s unique to that body, and then it’s released, right? 

So it’s an organ in itself, and it has a really intelligent layer that communicates resources, minerals, water, and nutrition from mother to baby. 

Oxygenates the child as well as they’re gestating, and so, yeah, psilocin gets through, but mother kind of modulates how much gets in, and the placental wall does that. 

So it’s really smart and what’s really cool is that psilocybin and psilocin are serotonin mimickers. So serotonin is probably the most known neurotransmitter in the whole body and it’s also very responsible for creating better pathways of communication. 

And so we’re also seeing pathways of communication when serotonin is present in the mother that there’s a better modulation of what the fetus needs as far as food and water and oxygen. 

So when mothers are saying things like, I feel more connected to my child, it’s because there’s more of a presence of a neurotransmitter that actually supports that kind of communication. 

What we found in that still is the psilocin study is that, yes, there is psilocin present in the fetus. So yes, mothers will, you know, give that to their children. 

However, there was no fatality in this experiment. We did not find death as a toxic end point and they never furthered the study to see what the outcomes of the live birth of this child would have brought. So there’s a lot to be undiscovered–

Nicholas Levich:

Yeah.

Mikaela de la Myco:

–basically with that.

Nicholas Levich:

I mean, I think the reason we get this question a lot, I think, is not necessarily whether it’s safe for the mother, but what’s the impact on the child. 

And if there’s no human studies done, how does anyone know what’s going on in there? If you’re breastfeeding or, you know, actively pregnant while consuming psilocybin, either in microdoses or, you know, larger doses.

Mikaela de la Myco:

Yeah, and that’s the gap, pretty much. [00:11:44] Because the question is, is death a toxic endpoint? We just know that through the C. psilocin experiment that it’s not. 

We know a little bit about what the concentrations are going to be in the child, but we don’t know what the outcome is going to be, like what does that, what’s going to result from all of that? 

And so that’s when we lean on Indigenous wisdom, that’s when we lean on some of these more anecdotal pieces of information, and that’s what’s really propelled and fueled so much of my research is like… filling in this gap of like, what is the impact of that? 

Because mostly we’re worried about is it safe or not safe and making this black or white distinction and maybe not asking the question of like, what is the potential harm, but what is the potential benefit? And that’s what a lot of my research is sitting on right now. 

So I’ve written quite a lot on this in particular and have built an ebook around what is the traditional and cultural wisdom around these things. 

That’s all in the Entheogenic Earth Medicine Guide and that’s 52 pages that doesn’t only cover psilocybin, but also cannabis, which is a very commonly asked about medicine because a lot of people ingest cannabis during their pregnancy and–

Don’t know if it’s safe and don’t know what’s really there in the research. Covers ayahuasca, because there’s a lot of ayahuasca babies out there and people wanna know about that. 

We also have peyote in that study, in that ebook as well as Gombo. So it’s like, there’s a wide variety, an array of potential Earth medicines that mothers might be coming in contact with that they deserve answers to. 

So that’s all in the ebook, like I said, 52 pages. But what’s really exciting, I think right now is this research that we’ve been gathering as far as a survey goes of mothers that have ingested medicine. And we have over 240 submissions–

Nicholas Levich:

Wow.

Mikaela de la Myco:

–of people’s stories. And we’re seeing a lot of trends and getting a lot of really great statistics as far as the people who have chosen this and what they’ve noticed as far as benefit goes.

Nicholas Levich:

And is that specifically capturing data around the mother’s subjective experience or the kind of outcome to the child?

Mikaela de la Myco:

So some of the questions that we have on there is, what did you notice, for example, about your own parenting style that was benefited by your experiences with medicine? 

Because we also know that the way children are parented in their early life also can create a lot of benefit or harm for them later in life. So we really wanted to take a look at what behavior is changing about your parenting style that could impact the child also. 

We asked specific questions too, what did you notice about your child that you attribute to your use of mushroom during either your pregnancy or breastfeeding? What are you noticing about your kid that might be markedly different than like some of their peers, for example? 

And so we’re seeing some really interesting responses and it’s all coming from the mothers, which I think is vitally important, might be biased and so we’re taking that into account as well, but we’re really here– 

What better way for mothers to teach other mothers than through storytelling? And so I’m really excited to bring a lot of this data forward. 

And so we’re working with James Fadiman to help some of these survey stories to kind of color and shape what, you know, the research he’s doing, his frequently asked questions, and also how we wanna steer the rest of research and what we really wanna look at here.

So happy to have over 200 stories of mothers that are, you know, telling us the range of experiences that they’ve had bringing these mushrooms in and if they would recommend this journey to other people. 

And that’s been an important factor as well because a lot of people are coming, mothers namely that I’m serving are coming to this seeking out support and help because the motherhood journey can be very challenging.

And so we were asking people what challenges were you looking to work with the mushroom to help, you know, sort through? And do you feel like it was helpful? 

So, you know, what even brings mothers to mushroom is I think very important, why a person is choosing to ingest, which for a lot of us in the earlier years of this with no research, had to weigh out potential risks for the benefits that we were receiving. 

And now people can maybe rest a little bit more assured than some of us on the first couple generations of this had to just go forward with it. You know, our intuition and just the knowledge that we have of the cultures that do sit with these medicines and raise their children with them.

Nicholas Levich:

Yeah, I mean, it’s pretty amazing that you’re able to capture that much data. Are there, are you able to speak to some of those themes that are emerging or is that, is that still in kind of a data capture phase?

Mikaela de la Myco:

Yeah, we’re always, you know, it’s an ongoing survey. So I’m grateful that there has been no real end point with that. We get new submissions every day, which is incredible just to know that it’s more widespread than people would imagine. 

And a lot of these mothers are younger mothers. A lot of their children are like four, five years old or younger. And some of them do have teenage children. And so I’m really interested to see how the motherhood journey varies from older children to younger children. 

Some of the themes that I’ve noticed, there are some themes that affect mothers and then are affecting the children. So one thing I definitely wanna speak to is like, why would a mother want to even have a relationship with mushrooms? 

What even brings them to this in the first place? And a lot of these impetuses for people ingesting mushroom is that sometimes they are being faced with the only option available to them has now become like an SSRI, for example. And that’s very common. 

The use of SSRIs is extremely pervasive in our world, low key. And it’s become a bit of a, a panacea, like not a panacea, I forget what it’s called when it’s like a cure-all, but it’s like–

Nicholas Levich:

Yeah, well, it’s like, it’s like the easy button. The analogy I always use is like, if your doctor tells you, you got to cut out your sweets and fats and you can’t have your donuts anymore, or the option is to just take a Lipitor. 

Most people are like, well, I want to keep eating the sweets. I’ll just take a Lipitor. And the same kind of thing I think exists with the mental emotional challenges as well as like, do I actually have to work on the core issue or can I just take this thing and feel better?

Mikaela de la Myco: Absolutely. It’s really indicative of the Western way of approaching problems and also the way that microdosing is even being approached now. It’s like, oh, if you just eat microdoses every other day, then like, and everything stays the same, you’re going to be okay.

Nicholas Levich:

Yeah, you’ll be more productive or whatever.

Mikaela de la Myco:

you’ll start like a Fortune 500 company or something.

Nicholas Levich:

Yeah.

Mikaela de la Myco:

So, you know, I’m also seeing that like the person that’s getting sold that narrative is also not like having their dreams fully realized with medicine because it’s like a lot harder work than that. And also this trope of the microdosing mom being like the new like wine mom–

Nicholas Levich:

Yep.

Mikaela de la Myco:

–is also a huge stereotype that like my work and so much of the work of other people is like really trying to stand up against because I also feel like that’s a stereotype that doesn’t quite show the full picture of what is needed and what is actually happening. 

What is bringing a lot of mothers to choose this path is that they’re only given the alternative of potentially an SSRI and either they’ve been on an SSRI and don’t want to anymore or they’re being faced with the choice of having to be put on an SSRI. 

And there’s actually what we do have though is a lot of research and a lot of study around what SSRIs do for gestating women and they don’t want that to be the outcome of their pregnancies because SSRIs unfortunately actually lead to increased risk for adolescent depression in the young. 

So, you know, we’re kind of trying to make a better choice, not just for the mother, but like for our own kids. And I think that’s a very, that kind of like disrupts this ideology that mothers that sit with mushrooms or cannabis are like selfish moms or moms that are very self-serving or like–

Irresponsible or how can you do that that’s so dangerous like why would you ever even ask that question if it’s safe like you should never do it but then they don’t bat an eyelash at the SSRI stuff–

And it’s like well we actually know that SSRIs cause harm and what we’re trying to work through is could these other alternatives or these natural you know these agents be softer and potentially more beneficial. 

Nicholas Levich:

Right.

Mikaela de la Myco:

So that’s what most moms are actually coming for and postpartum depression. Postpartum

depression is really pervasive in our world as well. 

And the data that we’ve been collecting in the survey is that 67% of the people surveyed began their journey after they gave birth in the postpartum period.

Nicholas Levich:

Wow, interesting.

Mikaela de la Myco:

And that’s telling us so much about the pressure and like what it feels like to be in that state and like that intense transformation that occurs after birth and the environmental factor of the state of obstetrics today not knowing really how to support people in the postpartum period. 

So a lot of people are looking for help, a lot of people are looking for more doula support, which I’m happy to see, and I’m really recognizing how these hormonal fluctuations can be very well supported by something that is a serotonin mimicker. 

So this also shows us how fluctuations in the menstrual cycle can also be supported by psilocybin because the lowest dip of serotonin in a person’s body will happen pre-menstruation. So a person with lower serotonin will have stronger premenstrual symptoms. 

And so that’s really guiding us to understand how the role of microdosing medicine or having a relationship with psilocybin and having this kind of constant flow of serotonin in the body is helping to prevent things like premenstrual syndrome, which is really wonderful. 

So could the presence of psilocybin in the body have and yield better outcomes for even the postpartum period? That’s a little bit of what we’re seeing in the survey here. So I’m really happy to see that. 

How Does Psilocybin Interact With Parenting?

[00:22:06] Mikaela de la Myco: On the mother side, not only is psilocybin supporting with these really radical hormonal shifts during pregnancy and also postpartum, but also through the expanded life of the mother into parenting. 

And some of those benefits that we’ve been seeing with mothers is more patient, more creative, more kind, like more reflective, being able to take the opportunity to like step back and respond instead of react. 

And like, they’re actually working through parenting triggers and like the kind of parenting styles that they were given while they’re parenting their child. And so we’re watching like, you know, systems of parenting change in real time with the support of mushrooms to like create new neural networks in the parent while they’re parenting. 

So I’m really happy to see that. And that’s been reported by a number of mothers in the surveys, like this, this not even just the earnest desire to change, but the ability to change their parenting style in real time–

Which has been an incredible outcome and probably the most powerful outcome of them all is that, you know, we need radical change in the way that children are parented. And if we can do that in just a few generations, we can see a very different world here. 

And some of the benefits that I’ve seen mothers comment about in their children, like what are the mushroom kids like, you know, I can definitely speak to my own child–

But, you know, words like bright, emotionally intelligent, playful, social, kind, reflective, and you know, not delayed in their development. And I think that’s what a lot of people worry about is–

Nicholas Levich:

Right.

Mikaela de la Myco:

–okay, like, will this mentally retard my child? And like, not a single person has ever mentioned this part, this “my child has a developmental disability” or they’ve never even mentioned that, you know “we’re seeing like cause cognitive function delay” or that they’re having issues even with school. 

Like I’m watching children grow up per these surveys and in the lived experience of myself and my friends that are mushroom mothers, that the kids are okay. And maybe even a little bit more than okay.

Nicholas Levich:

Right.

Mikaela de la Myco: They’re doing well. Like they’re thriving. They’re healthy. They’re a good size, like they’re doing good. And that I think is a very hopeful thing. At least we know this isn’t like condemning the kids to a life of suffering. I’m watching.

Nicholas Levich:

Right. Or like a mother’s coping mechanism. 

Mikaela de la Myco:

Mhm.

Nicholas Levich:

I think, you know, when I think about cannabis, for instance, like that’s one of those medicines that’s more easily abused, if you will.

Mikaela de la Myco:

Mm.

Nicholas Levich:

And, you know, it’s like, is the mother coping or are they actually working with that plant with intention? And what I’m hearing is like–

When approached with intentionality and reverence, it’s actually resulting in a more, I’ll say, pleasant experience for the mother and actually a benefit to the child as well.

Mikaela de la Myco:

Absolutely. And I mean, shout out to my cannabis moms because they paved the way for us. They paved the way for us. And I do have a lot of respect for my cannabis moms because they came first before the microdosing mom. 

And we needed to normalize like mothers, not just coping, but also celebrating with plants because a lot of my cannabis moms and homies that, you know, do have a relationship with cannabis are also–

They’re leaning on an earth medicine that still brings them a lot of balance, a lot of peace, a lot of calmness, like I ingest cannabis, okay? 

Nicholas Levich:

Me too, for the record.

Mikaela de la Myco:

And that’s important and certain, okay? Like the toddler years were cannabis years for me, okay? The newborn phase was definitely big mushroom energy, but like I needed some peace, like there’s paint on the floor, there’s, you know what I mean? 

He flipped his room inside out and I’m like, I need to channel Santa Maria right now because… It’s not worth fighting for. It’s not worth getting upset about. So, you know, I definitely try never to make a judgment claim on one is better than the other, more angelic than the other. 

You’re doing work in this one and you’re not doing work in this one because shame for mothers just doesn’t, we don’t need to have room for it right now. We’re looking to like really create benefits for mothers with plants and so, and with other Earth medicine. 

So I will say this. Psilocybin use in early motherhood is definitely not a cakewalk. It’s not a band-aid and it’s not a way of saying, I’m just going to do this. It’s not the wine mom energy. 

It’s not the I’m just going to take a chill pill and mom just going to be dissociated as f*ck and like just float around the house like nothing’s bothering them. Certainly not what psilocybin brings to us sometimes. 

Psilocybin in early motherhood stages definitely brings a range of sensations. It is a non-specific amplifier. So that means that what the, you know, the baby crying incessantly for hours at a time with a microdose does not necessarily mean it’s gonna be peace and calm. 

It can mean like, whoa, now I’m being faced with a trigger right now and why is this so upsetting to me? How can I communicate with this child better? 

Like it really helps us dive so deeply in to the nonverbal communication and understanding a being that doesn’t have language involved yet, right? 

And so what’s really cool about these surveys is one aspect of the benefit that we’re seeing in children though is the advanced development of the linguistic centers, which is really interesting. 

So a lot of the survey, the people in the survey have been talking about how their kids have really advanced language skills and are using complex terminology and picking up words–

And have a very alive life around the way that they can express themselves vocally and through music. 

And what’s really interesting and cool about that is that Terrence McKenna in the Stone Ape Hypothesis was talking about how, because of ingesting psilocybin or early ancestors, expanded the linguistic centers of their brain. 

And so I really am seeing this happen in real time and I can attest to it with my own almost four-year-old who speaks like a first grader. So it’s fascinating and it’s really cool to see even how some of these hypotheses are getting played out and–

Also how indigenous knowledge and indigenous worldviews and the way that they incorporated mushrooms into their practices are being proven through the lives of modern people. And a lot of us are indigenous. I’m an indigenous Mexican person. 

In the areas that I’m from, there’s rich use of peyote mescaline-producing cacti. And a lot of the peyote and mescaline-producing cactus are a really synergistic medicine for nursing mothers, in particular. 

It’s part of the origin story of peyote and also part of the lived practice even today, and that those folks are moving out of this question of is it safe into how does it benefit myself and child. 

And particularly for peyote, a masculine producing cacti, it has a really interesting co-relationship with the production of breast milk. So, it’s, and also like the thickening and the strengthening of the placental walls. 

So we’re actually seeing pretty tangible relationships between these entheogens and the mechanism and the body chemistry of a birthing person, which is phenomenal and amazing. 

And I just look forward to being able to share this data out a little bit more publicly because if people saw these outcomes and heard the outcomes by this many people, they might make a different choice when faced with the possibility of either bringing in an SSRI or trying something like psilocybin mushroom.

Nicholas Levich:

Yeah, I mean, I, as, just as someone, like I’m fascinated by, by what you’re sharing and there’s a lot of people, whether mothers or not, who are approaching earth medicine, plant medicine, because they want to get off of their SSRIs or they want a different alternative. 

And just objectively, as I listen, I’m sitting here going, okay, well, if the option is take an SSRI and have a baby with an increased potential for depression, or use earth medicine, something like psilocybin and have a baby who’s bright and creative and well, it seems like a no-brainer. 

And so I’m curious, are there risks or downsides or considerations that mothers should make when evaluating these options?

What to Consider & Where to Find Answers on Psilocybin & Motherhood

[00:31:16] Mikaela de la Myco:

Oh my gosh, thank you so much because yeah, there are definitely considerations and it’s not, yeah, a fix it, you know, there’s a lot of variation, right? 

There’s a lot of having to work through the lifestyle that you have to work medicine into your life. There’s a lot of trust that needs to come with that relationship. 

I think people weaning off of SSRIs and bringing in psilocybin is this whole other different care system that I’m not an expert in whatsoever, so I can’t necessarily speak to that, but what I will say is like when given the option, it’s a no-brainer. 

And what are some things that we should think about when deciding to make this choice? And I think for pregnant people, a huge concern obviously is like how to talk to this with your healthcare professionals, if you do at all. 

And not all healthcare professionals are privy to entheogens. Certainly becoming more popular now, especially here on the West Coast and the more decriminalized areas. 

But there’s plenty of spaces in the United States and abroad that absolutely outlaw this kind of thing. And so absolutely, I would say probably the biggest consideration and the biggest pitfall of taking this path and walking this road is–

How will you be received by the community and the care providers that are currently tending to your pregnancy and the people around you while you’re pregnant?

Nicholas Levich:

I mean, we deal with this even if you’re not pregnant, but the second a child is involved, all of a sudden, it’s under like a thousand times more scrutiny. 

Mikaela de la Myco:

Mhm.

Nicholas Levich:

And so what do you typically advise for mothers who choose to walk that path? Is it, is it essentially discernment on who you share with, or is it honestly just keeping it private?

Mikaela de la Myco:

Yeah, I would say it’s a mix of, I mean, it’s quite a wide spectrum, right? Like depending on the community that you live in, this could be like completely accepted and endorsed, or you can be like–

Nicholas Levich:

Ostracized.

Mikaela de la Myco:

Yeah, ostracized or fall victim to assault even, you know what I mean? So we definitely don’t want that. And so taking a litmus of your community with this kind of decision making, I think is really important. 

I think mothers that have supportive communities have better success, honestly. Like it’s not just about eating medicine, it’s also about being involved in a community that does celebrate, that does care for, and that does allow the tending of the integration period–

The ongoing integration that entheogens require in order for us to get positive outcomes, you know, because it’s like we can have a massive experience and then go back to a home that’s violent maybe, that has emotional- that they’re not emotionally available to the person. 

And so like it, it all can kind of fall away very, very quickly. The space and the environment in which a person decides to make this choice, I think, is a determining factor of how well a person feels during their journey, first of all. 

And, you know, talking about it with a medical professional, it can be really tricky. And what’s really nice though, is that psilocybin doesn’t show up on a pee test. So most people are pretty good about that. 

And for the most part, urine tests are not testing for it. And if they are, it’s only present in urine for 24 hours. So it’s like a very, yeah, you don’t have to say anything if you don’t want to say anything. 

I think a person can walk through in their pregnancy experience with their healthcare provider not knowing that, plenty fine and successful. 

I think what becomes a little bit harder and I think something that I wanna name too is a good litmus is mentioning use of other things that are legal, like mentioning things like, oh, like wine, like see how that sits with your practitioner–

Okay, like mentioning cannabis, see how that sits with your practitioner. You can kind of, you don’t have to zero to 60 it, like you can kind of titrate like their responses and based on their responses to you, you can see if they feel like a safe person to speak to about this.

Nicholas Levich:

Yeah.

Mikaela de la Myco:

And I’ve found that in this space of birth, there are people that tend to have a little bit more openness towards this kind of thing. 

And if not your OB-GYN or doctor, then maybe someone on your birth team like a doula, for example. Someone who’s like a birth attendant or a traditional midwife that might be able to talk to you about these things so that you don’t have to bring it to your primary care provider. 

Of course, their advice is never to replace the advice of a healthcare provider. However, at least there can be someone to talk to that might not be a mandatory reporter, for example–

Nicholas Levich:

Right.

Mikaela de la Myco:

Or someone that might potentially cause problems for that person in pregnancy. So I would say if you can talk to an, you know, an advocate or an ally, and I do that for a lot of people. 

That’s a lot of my role in this world is talking to people about this. And because there’s not a lot of people to talk to. And if you can, a doula, a traditional midwife and try to, you know, like source that and diversify the viewpoints in a gestational care experience.

Nicholas Levich:

Yeah, I think that’s really great advice. And, you know, Jimmy and I previously had recorded a whole episode dedicated to how to speak to your healthcare provider about psychedelics. 

And I think one of the things that I feel called to bring up is just that a lot of these primary care physicians and doctors are doing the best that they can. 

Like they’re in a very tough position where even if personally they may agree with it, there’s a whole ensuing liability thing that is associated where their licensures on the line. 

And they don’t want to be on the hook for this kind of stuff. And so their stance is typically just risk mitigation, just like, you know, I don’t want to be on the hook for any of this–

So I’m just going to say, you know, I would advise against it because that’s kind of the official policy. And so I feel like candidly, a lot of these doctors are in a challenging position.

Mikaela de la Myco:

Thank you for bringing that forward because it almost might be more compassionate for you to almost not bring it to–

Nicholas Levich:

Yeah.

Mikaela de la Myco:

This place because they’re going to be forced to maybe say something that they don’t believe or that might put their work on the line. 

I would say there’s a lot of entheogenic doulas out there nowadays. There’s a lot of traditional midwives that do have knowledge of this. And in my own gestational experience, I was cared for by a primary care doctor, like a clinical, a more clinical nurse/midwife practitioner. 

And I also, as a comparative, went to a birth center as well. And I really wanted to compare the care as my first pregnancy. So I was like, how much do these systems know? 

And like, how accurate are these systems as they relate to each other? Can they be part of a whole care system? Can they, do they talk to each other?

Unfortunately the naturopathic traditional midwives and doula systems don’t always have access to what the clinicians know. And unfortunately, the clinicians don’t always regard traditional birthkeeping and birth centers as legit.

Nicholas Levich:

Yep.

Mikaela de la Myco:

And so they don’t talk to each other very much. So it’s unfortunate, I got two very different levels of care. And so I didn’t bring my psilocybin and cannabis use to my nurse practitioner, but I did take it to the birth center and got really great advice from them. 

And a lot of nuanced responses and supports from them during my journey. So it’s cool to see and I don’t ever want to make a blanket statement saying that all birth centers are going to be cool with this–

But they might be closer to someone who might be at least open-minded and that they don’t have so much of that licensure stuff on the line as maybe a doctor.

Nicholas Levich:

Yeah.

Mikaela de la Myco:

Yeah, something to think about.

Nicholas Levich:

Definitely a great kind of comparison of different options that are available. And it’s one of the things that we talk about in this show a lot, which is, find your support team and that may look very different based on your belief system, your upbringing, your relationship with medicine. 

Like it’s important to tailor it to you. And there’s definitely certain people who feel more comfortable in a traditional medical model and there’s other people who feel more comfortable in a more holistic naturopathic model. 

And I don’t think it’s about right or wrong. It’s just understanding that there’s a spectrum of care available.

Mikaela de la Myco:

Absolutely, and I appreciate that this is not a space that dogs any one side or the other, because I do feel, as you said, some people do feel safer in a medical model, and those are people, unfortunately, that I’ve noticed have tended to be over-medicated–

Because those are the medicines that are available in that system. And so people that might be coming off SSRIs are really seeking out more research driven, more protocol driven, because that’s what they’re used to. 

I really respect that there’s room for this kind of care as complement. And what I like to use is complement over alternative, because if the whole natural world was guided by plants for healing since the beginning, then this system that we have is the alternative, right? 

This is the new one. And especially as it concerns midwifery and obstetrics, this is certainly the new way. It only really just crossed over in the late 1800s, early 1900s.

So I really actually like to look at traditional midwifery as like my body of understanding around the needs of gestating and birthing people, because there’s just more, there’s more experience there.

And so I think with other, you know, concerns and considerations for people, that are seeking this out at different points in their experiences that, you know, we know that psilocybin and psilocin can cross the placental barrier.

I think that a consideration people need to make is how safe do I feel with this particular medicine so much so that my child will be growing with it’s presence in both of our bodies, and that’s a judgment call. 

I mean, some people have this long standing relationship with it. They know this is safe. They have trust in the spirit of the medicine. They know that this is a benefit and they move forward doing that. 

And that is with the understanding that psilocybin and psilocin and all of the other incredible constituents in these fungi will be playing an influential role in the growth of our gestating children. 

So I think that’s a consideration people need to make, and it’s ending up in the breast milk too. People say, oh, pump and dump. First of all, please don’t ever dump breast milk, period. 

It takes the body so much energy to make breast milk. It takes calories, like thousands of calories, thousands, thousands of, just so many thousands of hours to combine like the plasma of the blood to create milk. 

If we are going to remove or make a wall between our child and ingesting psilocybin through breast milk, then find something creative to do with breast milk. 

Like, put it on your face, put it on your hair, put it in your bathtub, like drink it yourself. I definitely drank some ayahuasca breast milk and that sh*t was slappin’.

Nicholas Levich:

Hahaha.

Mikaela de la Myco:

Like after ceremony, I was still very much feeling it and so I know it’s still very present and when people ingest medicine, and this is a question I get asked a lot, and they’re breastfeeding, they will say, is it okay for my child? 

And I’m like, well, what are you noticing? Are you noticing your child is having any issues with sleep? Hyperactive, unable to focus, like, please look at your child because it varies from person to person. 

Some babies sleep really, really well. Some become more activated. There was one mother that I was caring for that she was feeling so guilty. She’s like, I feel like every time I microdose, like they don’t sleep as well. And I’m like, well, how old are they? 

They’re like, oh, they’re like six months. And I was like, well, also six month olds, like really vary in their sleep cycle. So are you noticing that it’s attributed to the medicine or is it, you know, just a part of their growing in the first year?

So it’s really user dependent, which is important. I will say, with breastfeeding, there’s some really great articles that are out right now. 

Double Blind Magazine did a breastfeeding and all different kinds of medicines article that I highly recommend. There’s no one size fits all. For me personally, and so many of the other mothers in the survey, we chose to continue breastfeeding on low dose and high dose. 

And so we’re really looking at kids where psilocybin is in the body at the moment of conception or in the time of conception, and then moving through all of pregnancy and then into breastfeeding. And we’re looking at kids that have that experience. 

And then we’re also looking at kids that only had experiences that were a little bit segmented because maybe breastfeeding wasn’t something that the mother chose to do. We just don’t have the research and the evidence. 

So the consideration is, do I trust this molecule enough to give it to my kid? Because that’s what we’re looking at. I think that’s the reality of when we’re pregnant and when we’re breastfeeding with psilocybin. 

And I know that some people are concerned about how much is safe. Like, is just a microdose cool? Or can mommy’s high dose? And so what’s really beautiful about the survey is it’s not just a microdosing survey. 

Nicholas Levich:

Mm.

Mikaela de la Myco:

It’s a survey that is covering the range of dosage. And we’re seeing some really interesting results in that as well.

Who’s Actually Using Psilocybin During Motherhood & How?

[00:445:16] Nicholas Levich:

So one of the things that you’re touching on very clearly here is this relationship with the medicine. And I’m curious because we see this with especially psychedelic curious or first-time journeyers, where they’re like, I don’t understand this concept of relationship with the medicine.

Like, what do you mean? And then they go and do a journey and they’re like, oh, I see what you mean now. Like, there is a spirit or a presence and intelligence here. 

And what it makes me curious about is, do you find that these mothers have a pre-existing relationship with psilocybin before? Or are they making that judgment and establishing the relationship while they are in the conception or gestation phase?

Mikaela de la Myco:

So, per the survey, 67% are post-birth. So, most of the people in the survey, most of the people in the survey, are building their relationship with mushroom in their relationship with motherhood, which is really neat. Which is really–

Nicholas Levich:

Meaning they’ve never journeyed or microdosed before.

Mikaela de la Myco:

Exactly.

Nicholas Levich:

Got it, okay.

Mikaela de la Myco:

First time. First time and it’s like described as that, like having a relationship with mushroom or ingesting mushroom in general. And so that’s coming up more often in–

Nicholas Levich:

Wow, so motherhood’s becoming a catalyst for people building a relationship with–

Mikaela de la Myco:

Like the needs of motherhood are driving them into the arms of mushroom–

Nicholas Levich:

Got it, okay.

Mikaela de la Myco:

–which is really cool. That’s 67%. So the rest of the people have had previous experiences with mushroom. So this relationship sometimes comes just hand in hand with the motherhood journey or we are carrying our relationship with mushroom into the motherhood journey–

Which was very much my experience and the experiences of quite a few others is, you know, I started ingesting mushrooms nine years ago. And so I received an incredible amount of insight, experience, and learned a modality that really worked for me–

Learned a modality where I sat for myself often, like I was microdosing myself before there were protocols, before there was anything else, like we just had each other and we had the mushrooms. 

So I really gained a firsthand experience with them and learned what I liked to, how I liked to be with them. I think what we’re also toeing the line of a little bit is like, how does relationship look? And relationship with medicine can also be like how you interact with the physical mushroom too, okay?

Nicholas Levich:

Mhm.

Mikaela de la Myco:

Like relationship with medicine is not just who you are on the trip and who you’re seeing while you’re in there. It’s like how do you engage with its physical presence?

Like having a relationship with mushroom for some people, maybe they’re not ready to ingest, but maybe they can put a small mushroom like on their altar or by a candle or just hold it and smell it and touch it–

And taste it and get in a more sensory experience with the mushroom in its physical form, I think is also part of relationship. 

Meditating and like holding mushroom and like letting that have its own journey, I think can be really important. For me, I always say mushroom doesn’t have to start with consumption.

Nicholas Levich:

Right.

Mikaela de la Myco:

It does not have to start with consumption.

Nicholas Levich:

That’s a good point.

Mikaela de la Myco:

So, you know, I’d been connected to the mushroom long before I ever ate it. Like I’d been drawing pictures of mushrooms and lots of kids are doing this too.

Nicholas Levich:

Mmm.

Mikaela de la Myco:

Like, kids are drawing mushrooms, kids are starting to, I’m seeing children drawing amanita mushrooms, it’s part of our cultural consciousness, like they are tripping–

Nicholas Levich:

It’s the Mario mushroom, I mean it’s everywhere.

Mikaela de la Myco:

Yeah, like especially with amanita because I’m a big amanita fan and sometimes I serve amanita and share it with people and they’re like, oh my gosh, I’ve never had, I was like, it’s the mushroom that everyone knows about but has never tried.

Nicholas Levich:

Yep. For listeners who don’t know what we’re talking about, it’s the red mushroom with the white dots. It’s like the quintessential Mario mushroom.

Mikaela de la Myco:

It’s the emoji mushroom!

Nicholas Levich:

Right.

Mikaela de la Myco:

It’s the mushroom everyone is posting, you know, and it’s cool to be in relationship in non-consumptive ways. That’s also about decolonizing our relationship with medicine is like, how do you engage with this being in a non-consumptive way? 

For the case of this conversation though, sorry for the sidetrack, but a lot of the mothers are coming to mushroom because they’ve had a relationship. 

And I really want to speak to that too, because as someone who had a relationship with mushroom and this was a powerful healing modality for me, I became pregnant and I was like, do I stop this very helpful relationship? 

For what? And that actually is what dove me headfirst into research development, like asking elders. I thankfully had access to some elders. I was able to sit in a sweat lodge with some elders. 

I was able to be served mushrooms from someone who’s from a culture where there is no break in the chain of relationship. 

And that was, I think, such a beautiful permission for me and a peace for me that absolutely has carried with me forever is that when I went to the Abuela and when I talked to her about- I have a relationship with this medicine, I am pregnant now, what do I do? How do I move forward?

She said, well, in our community, we don’t stop eating mushroom, even though we become pregnant. And I think that’s something that’s really gorgeous and important is that I think a mom is expected to put her entire life on pause when pregnancy happens. 

And what’s really neat about this is like the level of safety that this medicine can have in a person’s body is that for those people and the people that like I first ingested mushroom while pregnant with–

That it’s seen as a helpful medicine and it’s seen as a medicine that doesn’t warrant the disconnection. When we transition as changing woman from a maiden and move into motherhood and then from motherhood like into parent–

That it can help us all along the way, which is really neat and actually can really help like weave the ends together so that that’s a very smooth transition.

Nicholas Levich:

I love the reframe because I’m sitting here going, well, objectively, if something is healthy, helpful, contributing to your overall mental, emotional and spiritual well being. Why would you stop it? 

Like, what are the reasons that are valid for cutting that out? And if fear or the unknown or whatever is the only thing, like I could see how that’s a challenging decision to make as a mother.

Mikaela de la Myco:

Absolutely, and what a lot of mothers I think are really desiring in this journey is some kind of permission. A lot of us know how to listen to our intuition and a lot of us don’t. 

And what sometimes feels more validating than anything is another mother that says, you’re safe and it’s okay. And that’s often, that was what was given to me. 

There was no pressure to make the choice because I should or have to, but instead, a mother to a mother saying, this is how we do it, and we think that it’s okay. 

And maybe that’s not enough for the Western mind, and maybe that’s not someone, you know, who really wants to just speak to a medical professional. 

But for some people, that felt safe enough for me. And I’m really glad that I did, because my mental health and my emotional health and my physical health–

The gestation experience for me was very wonderful and peaceful and I gained a ton of insights with high dose mushrooms during my pregnancy. I ate up to three grams when I was seven months–

Nicholas Levich:

Wow.

Mikaela de la Myco:

And that had so much positive consequence in my birth experience that it would have been a very different experience had I not done that. And so I was able to tackle some very interesting and important hiccups that made and created a higher benefit for my birth. 

I will always attest that my journey as a pregnant mother increased benefit for my birthing experience and my postpartum experience and became an absolute catalyst for positive change during my postpartum experience. 

That is what I’m reading in these testimonies is mushroom during postpartum, mushroom during pregnancy is like the impetus for positive change in these mothers’ lives. And I have over 200 stories of that very same narrative. 

I’m not just now listening to one mother from an Indigenous tradition, which I’m very grateful to hear, but now I’m listening to a sea of mothers saying very similar things. And so I don’t take that lightly and I feel that other mothers really deserve to hear those voices as well–

Because I might not reach every mother in the corner of the earth, but I would love for that to be kind of part of the collective consciousness that mushrooms can be really helpful in all phases of the motherhood experience. 

When I say like bonding the edges of the changing woman phases, um, what mushrooms do so powerfully is as master decomposers help material transition from one phase to another. 

And that’s happening on both a spiritual, emotional, and psychological level and also a very physical level as we’re changing from cycle to cycle and then into the portal of motherhood and birth and postpartum. 

There are massive like symphonies. of chemical and physiological change that the mushrooms, because of the serotonin that they give the body or the perceived serotonin they give the body, can ease those transitions ever so gently. 

And the way that we celebrate those things too is I’ve had a practice of doing what are called motherhood blessings. Some people call them blessing way, but it’s very late in the pregnancy. 

It is like a way of celebrating the mother from a pregnant person, a maiden into a mother. And so we, as a community, sit with mushroom and celebrate the mother’s transition. 

And I think that’s kind of missing in the culture. We always say, oh, this baby was born. We don’t say the mother gave birth.

Nicholas Levich:

Hmm.

Mikaela de la Myco:

We lose the mom in this work. And we lose the celebration of the changing woman in this experience in the Western birthing space. And that also shows up in the way that we celebrate motherhood, like a baby shower. Where is mom, right? 

Oh, we’re gonna just give you a bunch of material objects that are gonna parade the baby that’s coming. And yes, that’s welcome, but where is the care for the mom? 

Where is the acknowledgement of the transformation that this person is now undergoing? The mushrooms can be that for some people. So the question is, are mushrooms by themselves enough? We can’t remove culture from medicine for me. 

Like there is a culture of, it doesn’t have to be a religious or a belief system, but it has to be a set of practices that reinforces the teaching that the medicines provide. And for us, a lot of that has to do with rights of passage work is very important. 

These significant experiences of like the changing of consciousness is very important through sometimes prayer, sometimes altar work, sometimes blessing food even, or blessing water, or praying to these natural elements of the earth. 

This is all kind of sounding woo and whatever, but this is really just our relationship to the planet, as you so beautifully mentioned. 

And if we are a microcosm of the macrocosm, the honor and the reverence that we’re giving to the journey of motherhood is equivalent to the honor that we have the capacity to give to the earth. If we can’t serve moms, how can we serve the big mama?

Nicholas Levich:

So true, you are just full of wisdom. I love this. This has been just, it’s an enlightening conversation for me and I’m immersed in this space. 

And so I can only imagine for our listeners who, you know, there’s very few people, as I mentioned, when we started, who are even willing to like openly discuss this. 

And so, you know, I just want to acknowledge you and thank you again for your courage as we work through this. And, you know, I certainly have a couple more questions if you’re open to it.

Mikaela de la Myco:

Absolutely.

Nicholas Levich: That brings us to the end of today’s episode. My discussion with Mikaela has been so in-depth that we decided to chop this up into two different episodes, so a part 1 and part 2. Thank you all so much for tuning in to part 1 and we’ll be releasing part 2 next week. 

Part 2 is specifically going to focus on how to actually use psychedelics in motherhood and so we’re looking forward to sharing that with you all next week.

Thank you so much for tuning into the Psychedelic Passage podcast. Please subscribe, rate, and review us and we always appreciate when you share with a friend, see you all next week. 

Additional Resources

MushWomb by Mikaela de la Myco: https://www.mushwomb.love/about 

Mushrooms & Motherhood Survey: https://bit.ly/3OVD6bz 

Earth Medicine Motherhood Guide: https://bit.ly/45tRHC5 

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