I’m approaching the end of my second pregnancy and my hormones have kicked into high gear. The first time around, I had thought it was just one of those silly precautions you don’t really have to listen to. Ya know, like ”don’t eat the soft cheeses” or ”stop drinking booze.” (Wait, there’s truth to those, too? Sheeeeiitt). Now I understand how real and challenging those emotions can be when entering the postpartum period. That’s why this time around, I’m completely on-board with eating my placenta.
During my first pregnancy, I remember thinking that once I had the baby, the stress and the sleeplessness would improve. Ya know, once I could sleep on my belly and not be kicked in the ribs all night long. (HAHA. I know, who was I kidding, right?) I hadn’t yet realized that the third trimester was just preparing me for the emotional roller coaster and years of sleepless nights that lay ahead. But I wasn’t prepared, not in the slightest. I mean, is anybody?
Perhaps some women can effectively avoid all this. Perhaps motherhood rolls in like a gentle wave and when that newborn baby is placed on her chest all is good and right with the world. Perhaps to some breastfeeding is the most natural thing they have ever done and the only tears are tears of joy. Perhaps hormones are more like a pesky mosquito rather than a huge black widow tracking her every move.
I, however, am not one of those women.
I am a woman whose hormones can make her feel like a little bit of a whack job, who struggles with perhaps a wee bit of PPD (or at the very least, baby blues) and a woman who cares deeply about breastfeeding but doesn’t 100% love it at midnight and again at 2 am and 4 am and all freaking day until my nips are raw and my body is like ”EFF THIS CRAP!” And I don’t think I’m much unlike most other women. At least, women in real life without wet nurses and Super Nannies.
The postpartum period is rough without the proper support and the expectation that you should be bouncing back in no time. That’s why I’m not going to feel bad about asking for help or doing something that is good for my body and my mind. That’s why this time around I’m absolutely going to be eating my placenta. I know it’s a little unorthodox, but the benefits are seemingly vast on both a physical and emotional level. And knowing myself, I will very likely need the boost.
After talking with other moms who have done the same, I can’t help but feel I’d be stupid not to eat my placenta. The benefits can include increases in energy, lowering stress hormones in the body, increased milk supply, replenishing depleted iron levels and reducing postnatal bleeding. It’s no wonder than many eastern countries have been encapsulating placentas for centuries. Not to mention, most other mammals eat their placentas immediately after birth. Though perhaps they’re just really tired and hungry and don’t feel like hunting for food after crapping out a litter, eh?
Before you go all ”EWW! SICK! WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU?,” hear me out. I’m not cooking my placenta in the oven and serving it to my family like beef stew. No way! Though I think the placenta is totally cool, the thought of that still makes me gag just a little. I mean, it’s huge and blood-filled and OMG. I can’t. So I’m having it encapsulated like any normal human being. Not that I’m judging anyone who happens to enjoy the taste of placenta. More power to ya.
But in all seriousness, I think placenta encapsulation should be standard procedure (unless women don’t want it, of course). It can truly help to stave off the baby blues and even postpartum depression which can be a scary and even dangerous condition for both mom and baby. With the high rates of PPD in the US, we should really be utilizing our bodies own natural remedies to cope whenever we can. Surely, it is not a magic pill for everyone but many moms who have encapsulated say they’d never dream of going through postpartum without it again and that’s pretty powerful stuff.
The placenta is truly amazing and when you really think about it, it’s makes a lot of sense to put it right back into your body rather than letting it rot in a dumpster. I mean, your body made it therefore it’s nutrient and hormonal make-up is completely unique to you and your needs. Though I’m not adverse to taking medications when needed, if possible, I’d rather take a pill that contains something my body grew, that has no side effects and has the potential to bring my body back into balance after pregnancy, labor and delivery.
I, for one, don’t believe there is any shame in taking a little extra precaution that will make me a better parent to my newbie and hopefully, feel like myself a little bit sooner. It’s also a lot cheaper than therapy, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed there’s something to this whole placenta-gobbling thing.