I Ate My Placenta
Flashback to 2008, in my OB/GYN’s office. We were making jokes about women that mixed their placenta into milkshakes and smoothies, and some that even fried them up. I think we got a few good minutes of belly laughs in that appointment. I had placenta previa with my first, so it was actually a very mysterious and powerful organ to me. It was the cause of strict bed rest for a good part of that pregnancy, and even some nights in the hospital. I didn’t think twice about my placenta in 2010, except to make sure that it wasn’t covering my cervix again. It wasn’t, and I didn’t think about placentas again until 2013, when I got pregnant again.
When I got pregnant last March, it was right after my mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Perhaps part of me was in denial, but I honestly didn’t think she wouldn’t make it the nine months to meet the baby. Well, about 7 months later, when we went to visit her, I knew it was the last time I’d see her. She was so thin, and she knew she wouldn’t make it either. She cried to me that she’d never see her grandkids again. Facing losing a parent is hard enough on a normal day. Doing it pregnant? There’s a whole gamut of emotions. I knew that I would need some help to get through the already ups and downs of post partum, but with the added sorrow of a permanent good-bye. Twelve days before my baby boy was born, my mom passed away.
Encapsulating placenta was starting to become more main stream; I was reading about it on the net, and knew that some celebrities were being mocked for doing it too! I did a little research, and contacted Valerie, of The Feel Good Company. Was I skeptical? Yes. Was I hopeful? Yes. Does that make sense? I was pregnant, remember?!
Eating your placenta is supposed to:
- prevent and lessen post partum depression
- increase milk supply
- replenish vitamin B
- decrease fatigue
- and more
I say supposed to, because these benefits have never been studied, so all testimonials are from people like me. I knew the jury was out on the effectiveness of eating your own placenta, but I figured it couldn’t hurt, either. In other countries, like Brazil, China and Italy, it’s actually pretty standard. If it’s not ingested, it’s buried underneath a tree, and those trees are the healthiest fruit bearing ones in the forest. Most animals eat the placenta, actually. Humans are one of the few mammals that don’t.
Val came to pick up the placenta that night! She was so kind, and easy-going, that I had no doubt I was in good hands (we had ‘met’ via Skype but her softness really came through in person). She returned two days later with my placenta package: my pills, tincture, artwork and instructions. I’ll come back to the artwork later.
The placenta is dried, ground up, and put into capsule form. I followed her instructions and started taking the pills. The tincture needs to sit for about six months. Here is where you should read carefully: it really worked. It REALLY worked, guys. This was my third baby, and I remember very vividly how I felt after both my older ones. It was an instant love, admiration, and awe. I never had postpartum depression, but definitely went through baby blues and roller coaster rides! With this guy, about 15 minutes after taking those pills, it was like a surge of a new kind of happiness was gushing through my whole body. Skin-to-skin was on a whole different level. And this was just in the hospital!
MrMuffinTop was cynical from the first moment that I mentioned I wanted to try it. He attempted to convince me not to do it, and save the money. Yet when he saw the profound difference in me, even he had to admit that it was not just hype. As a matter of fact, he even said to me, on a particularly cranky day, “Did you take your placenta pills yet, honey?” I hadn’t.
I now keep the pills in the freezer, and can use them for PMS symptoms, and the tincture for menopause! It was definitely money well spent. Not just for the very clear lack of hormonal highs and lows, but the abundance of energy as well! However, there were some drawbacks. I’ve never taken herbs or chinese medicine before, so I didn’t know what to expect in terms of smell/flavour. Be ready for a really pungent, unpleasant taste on your tongue and if you belch. I found that taking them with orange juice helped, while Val suggested putting them in peanut butter. My milk didn’t come in any sooner than the earlier times, and postpartum bleeding lasted just as long as well.
Now, remember when I said that Val came back to the hospital with my placenta package, and it included artwork? Amazing woman that she is, Val creates unique pieces from your actual placenta and umbilical cord. And then gives it back to you. Yes, I think I’m pretty damn cool that I did something so outrageous like ingesting my placenta. But I’m still not cool enough to appreciate this kind of art. I’m keeping it safe, though, if one day I’m eventually magnificent enough to acknowledge the extreme beauty that it is. But you can decide for yourself. See:
If I had to do it over again, I would. And if there’s a baby #4 in my future, I’ll definitely contact Val for another round. I’m convinced. What do you think? Would you encapsulate your placenta?