Good morning readers! I'm having a particularly energized morning this Thanksgiving day. So to all reading, I wish to say, Happy Thanksgiving! I've fed my baby in the early am and just placed him back into his bassinet all bundled and swaddled tight for a few hours (fingers crossed) while I prepare to host our family's Thanksgiving dinner today. Not sure what has energized me this morning but I wish to touch on a topic I've been meaning to write about for a while. I wish to share my experience regarding this because I hope to benefit the lives of my children down the road when they begin to have babies of their own. For now, that seems like a far off concept. But perhaps it can be of benefit to other mommies out there.
Topic of the day: Placentas
For years now and 5 babies later I've wondered about this ancient practice that seems to be resurfacing. In all honesty, I've often thought the idea to be gross. Truth be told, I am in awe and can marvel at the magnificence of our bodies and how they can grow and create a whole new organ to support the life that we give to our offspring. That said, growing up, it has never occurred to me to actually consume it. My journey to this state of action has been an interesting one for those of you who already find this practice to be a no-brainer. With my first baby, I never even thought about what happens to the placenta and honestly, I was so drugged at the time that all I wanted after my birth was sleep. Deep sleep.
With my second, I was at home and asked to keep my placenta because I had never seen it before and I figured, I have spent 9 long months creating this amazing organ. I'd like to see it. So after investigating and marveling at all the details and branchings of the arteries and veins as well as how it tied into the cord, I didn't know much about what to do with it. It ended up going into the fridge and later being given to my aunt who had requested it for her own crazy curiosities about using it to create homemade cosmetics. I figured, I didn't know what to do with it, so why not? I parted with it somewhat unsure about this.
By my third baby, I was too busy to figure out what to do with it. After storing it in the freezer for a time, I believe eventually, I tossed it out. I remember feeling like this action was somewhat wasteful but I struggled to understand why and having no other options due to my lack of education on the matter, I now realize it may have been in some ways a prompting to act upon something like this, regardless of how weird it seemed. I'd heard of people consuming their placenta but found the idea to be icky. Not knowing how I would bring myself to either cook it or blend it and then eat it, I just didn't want to do that. What I did know was that oftentimes, hospitals sold placentas to cosmetic companies and I didn't want it to be tossed out by some random person nor taken by someone else to profit from it. Maybe that's selfish of me, but I wanted to be able to decide how my placenta is used. Once again, I admired its strange and intricately laced beauty and that was all. End of story on that one.
After my fourth baby, I did something different. Because I often struggle with post partum depression, I wanted to do something special. I'd heard of people making placenta prints. For me, this was emotionally therapeutic. It was a keepsake. Something I could always have with me long after it was gone. So I made one. I'm the kind of person that feels energies all around me. So this energy brought me many positive vibrations. I feared my husband would think I was strange but I'm grateful he went along for the ride with me. I'd heard of people burying their placentas much like a deceased person in order to enrich the soils. No, we didn't give it a funeral. But at the time, we'd been setting some goals and doing some personal development in our lives and were wanting to let go of some hard feelings and emotions. Together we wrote notes of things we wanted to improve upon and buried the negative things in our lives along with the placenta. We rode out to a quiet spot in an open space amidst lots of trees and found a space to dig a hole in which to bury it. Ideally, I would have liked to own a home and land in which I could bury my placenta in a spot where I could plant a yummy fruit tree down the road. This was seemingly an ancient practice I felt good about. It would nourish the soils and be the home of a plant we could later get nourishment from ourselves. It was a beautiful idea in my mind and it felt good. I felt at peace with it. Perhaps someday, when we own our own home and property, this might be an option again.
This fifth baby, having been my second hospital birth surely was a bit of a harder birth. Both Alex and I worried it might send me into the kind of depression I had with my first. I'm grateful I had a midwife who is so in tune with life, nature and its ways. She highly suggested and encouraged what is known as Placenta encapsulation. A gal she knew would come to the hospital and pick up my placenta, take it home, dehydrate it, pulverize it into a powder, and encapsulate it. Most placentas make anywhere from 100-200 capsules. So this is the route we've gone with this time. Why would I or anyone in their right mind want to try this? Well, that is for a later post. But I will say, that even though my recovery has been physically more difficult for me this time, my emotional breakdowns have been fewer and further apart. Along with that, I have noticed an increased quality in my breast milk, not to mention I make a lot more of it. I've always nursed my babies and over time I've noticed that the quality changes. I realize this could be due to many factors but I do know this because of the way my babies grow. My last two boys struggled to put on weight as quickly as my first two children. Yes, it might all be unrelated and could just be a coincidence in some ways, but I beg to differ. My latest baby seems to be chubbier than my last two and is putting on steadier weight. It could definitely be attributed to recent dietary changes as well, but I do feel that this time around, the placenta capsules definitely had something to do with my hormone regulation and therefore has increased my milk supply and made me feel all around happier. It may or may not be something that works for everyone, but this is simply MY experience. Should others try it?
Here is a short video of some things to consider:
Enjoy this day! Stay tuned for the next post on recent research regarding this practice.