Erica Purnell

If you’ve never had a child, it’s almost impossible to understand just how amazing it feels when your baby is born. It’s like the happiest sensation imaginable, times a thousand. It’s pure, eye-opening bliss, and to be honest, it’s actually a better high than I’ve ever gotten from taking ecstasy.

And I’ve done a lot of E.

It’s a cliché, but you just don’t know what real happiness is until you see that little baby lying there on your chest. So pure, so innocent. I’ve had some great drugs in my day, but seeing my baby for the first time? I wouldn’t trade that for all the ecstasy in the world. Not even the crazy shit I used to get from this guy in San Diego. “White Versace,” I believe it was called.

Of course, I never could have prepared myself for the intensity of giving birth. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, but when I finally looked into the eyes of my little Jasmine, it was more powerful than the time I danced to Crystal Method for 11 straight hours. That was an awesome night, to be sure, but feeling my daughter clasp my finger in her tiny little hand was even more awesome.

I used to spend almost every weekend rolling on E. It’s an amazing party drug, because you love everyone around you, and music and sound seem to move through you like a liquid, but it can be a quiet, introspective drug, too. Well, when I heard my baby make her first sweet coos and gurgles, it was like that, but more intense.

Without the amazing body buzz that you get from ecstasy, though.

I can definitely say having a baby is better than weed, though I don’t really smoke these days because it doesn’t do shit for me anymore.

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Trust me, I’ve put every kind of mood-enhancing chemical imaginable in my body, but none of them compare to the rush of joy and peace you get when you come home from the hospital with your newborn. Although that one time me and the Wizard went to Joshua Tree was totally bonkers. We peaked under that massive, eternal sky, and we were literally, like, fucking the stars. That comes close, but overall the baby thing was still better.

I have to warn you, though: When you see your baby in pain, it’s the worst feeling in the world, worse even than coming down from ecstasy. Oh, God, the time we took that dirty E—it must have been laced with meth—I literally lost five pounds of sweat in one night and tried to push over a tree and take it home with me before having the worst panic attack of my life, which felt like I was trapped in an endless black cave filled with dead souls. I didn’t just want to die; I wanted to obliterate any record of my having ever existed. When Jasmine has a fever, it’s exactly like that.

It’s possible that feeling my daughter’s heartbeat, her tiny little heartbeat in her tiny little chest, may not be as mind-blowing as dropping ecstasy and LSD together, but tripping is totally its own thing, and it’d be unfair to compare the two. Nothing feels as good as that. Except maybe having a baby on LSD or psilocybin. That would be incredible. Seeing all those doctors dissolve into a swirling shimmer of color and emotion. Little Jasmine’s first cries echoing through the whole hospital like a thousand golden trumpets. That would be fucking amazing.

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I can definitely say having a baby is better than weed, though I don’t really smoke these days because it doesn’t do shit for me anymore.

The truth is, I never expected to be a mother. All I ever wanted was to party and get high, to feel good all the time. I can tell you firsthand that holding my little angel in my arms is so much better. So much more real. Though I just popped some Molly, which is supposed to be pretty fucking intense, so we’ll see if I still feel that way in an hour or so.