Supporting Moms Through Trauma With Terri Butler Brown
Wow! This chat was deep as we talked about supporting moms through trauma and addiction recovery, and yes, of course we talked about herbs. My guest in this episode was Terri, a licensed Chemical dependency counselor, caretaker of her 9 year old grandson, and a superstar member of our online herbal mentorship, Apothecary Momma. It's truly amazing (and an honor) to hear the growth and transformation not only for her, but her grandson, who's loving learning about herbs alongside her, and her husband, who's old ideals just may be shifting. So, cozy up, cause this one brought about all the heartfelt emotions!
Not only is Terri a passionate herbalist, she's also a licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor. We focused a lot on the deep pain that the women Terri worked with carry, especially those who are pregnant or are mothers. These women, who are shaping the future, often pass on their trauma to their kids. It's not only heartbreaking but also very thought-provoking. From my own experience with healing trauma and understanding how it affects generations, I realize how deep these wounds are and how important it is to have consistent support on your healing journey.
Through her work with women, Terri noticed that especially in those trying to recover from addiction, there is usually less support. Societal expectations of women, their roles as caregivers, and the tough judgment they face, often leave them isolated and without the support they need. Pregnant women dealing with addiction and mental health struggles often feel more guilt and shame than their male counterparts. This is fueled both from themselves and from society and creates a harmful cycle that makes their situation worse.
Terri believes herbs can play a key role in healing and recovery, revolutionizing the process for women in recovery and expectant mothers. Yet, there's a big obstacle - lack of funding. Many clients depend on Medicaid, which doesn't sufficiently cover holistic treatments. Terri hopes to see wider coverage for herbal treatments, paving the way for more holistic support.
Terri first turned to herbalism while dealing with health problems that led to a total hysterectomy. The reality of not being able to have more children was tough, but she found joy in her existing grandchildren.
Her path into herbalism deepened when her grandson's parents, battling substance use and behavioral challenges, moved in with them. Their concerns grew for the boy, as he was exposed to a tumultuous home environment, poor nutrition, and unsuitable living conditions. Thankfully, Terri and her husband were able to secure full custody. This allowed them to step in and make critical health decisions, sparking Terri's intensive journey into the world of herbs to improve her family's well-being.
At six months old, his doctor suggested Zyrtec for his allergies. Terri, wanting to find a more natural solution, managed to get him off the medication. It was a daunting task, with the fear of being responsible for the little boy's health initially overwhelming her. Even with a busy schedule and full-time job, Terri took the plunge into the world of herbs, carefully introducing them into her grandson's diet. She also began carefully using essential oils, ensuring they were safe for him.
During this time, she started attending Apothecary Momma classes and began making fire cider at home. She started using different herbs and spices in their meals, with her grandson enjoying the process of picking out which ones he wanted in his food and his cider. This became a fun part of their daily routine.
To aid her husband's recovery, she took on the challenging task of brewing essiac tea. Discovering and learning about nettles was a major milestone that confirmed she was on the right track. Even with some lingering self-doubt and issues with confidence due to past traumas, Terri started to call herself an herbalist, a title her grandson proudly uses when talking about her. They often enjoy time together, smelling and discussing different herbs.
They collect a variety of plants from their backyard, including dandelion leaves and purslane, while leaving the flowers for the bees. Her grandson loves mixing clover and dandelion leaves and eating them straight from the garden. The herbs, especially chamomile tea, have been really helpful to him. They help him stay calm and focused, which is useful during his baseball games.
Terri shared her journey of rediscovering her love for plants and natural remedies.
As a child, she was fascinated by nature and would even dabble in flower arrangements, pondering the purpose of each plant. However, her passion faded as she grew up, busy with life and influenced by societal expectations. But recently, she's come full circle and embraced her love for plants and nature, with the support of her family.
When Terri started working with tinctures and glycerin, it sparked a revelation for her. She felt a mix of excitement and overwhelm from this newfound interest. She was surprised by the wide range of alcohol choices available at the liquor store for making tinctures. She also talked about her shift to a more eco-friendly lifestyle, where she prefers reusing glass jars and minimizing waste. To her surprise, her family has even adopted a plant-based diet, including her husband, which she never expected.
Reflecting on her past, Terri remembered her interest in horticulture and her desire to cultivate beautiful plants, including marijuana. She believes that cannabis and hemp are not fully utilized for their medicinal properties and their ability to cleanse toxins from the soil.
In the last part of our chat, Terri talked about her desire to bring old herbal wisdom back into her family life.
She strongly believes that important knowledge about herbs has been lost over time because of changes in society and misleading information. With her Irish and Native American roots, Terri values the healing power of herbs and thinks we should pay more attention to old, traditional knowledge, which has been unfairly dismissed as ‘old wives tales’.
I agreed completely, noting the immense loss of traditional wisdom over the past 150-200 years often due to profit-driven motives. We also celebrated the wonderful chance for Terri's grandson to learn about plant care and the unique qualities of each one. We discussed how societal changes have fragmented families and led to the fading of knowledge that was once passed down through generations.
A fun moment came up when I asked Terri to choose just one herb as her favorite.
It was like she had a mental spinning wheel of options. First, she thought about rosemary but then switched to garlic. Why garlic? Well, it's got great benefits, can be used for prevention and treatment, and let's not forget, it tastes awesome! Terri even laughed, saying she often says sorry for loving garlic so much, because it can leave a strong smell. I joined in the laughter, telling her I'd given up saying sorry for the garlic smell.
When I asked Terri about her experience with the 'Apothecary Momma' and 'Medicine Makin' Momma' programs, she expressed gratitude for the guidance and knowledge she's acquired. She particularly praised the balance of "milk and meat," or basic and in-depth information, provided in the programs.
She appreciates that the Apothecary Momma program offers a starting point for beginners, while the Medicine Makin' Momma program delves deeper into the art of creating herbal remedies. She acknowledged how this journey has not only benefited herself but also her family. She expressed deep gratitude to me for the opportunity to learn from these programs.
Terri's passion for her work, her unwavering dedication to healing others, and her eagerness to integrate herbal medicine left a lasting impact on me. Our conversation not only deepened my admiration for Terri, but also shed light on the profound trauma that many women experience and the urgent call for a more holistic approach to support.
I am so grateful for Terri’s participation and shared excitement in helping herbalism #spreadlikewildflowers. If you have time to listen to this episode or share with another momma, I encourage you to, it is a heartfelt conversation filled with great insights and personal stories.
If you're inspired by Terri and wish to become an Apothecary Momma, join our list to be the first to know when enrollment starts! Have a beautiful day!