So by now, if you haven’t noticed by my discussions on homebirth and breastfeeding, I am sort of into natural family living/attachment parenting (i.e., fancy names for hippie stuff having to do with kids), and all of the “weird” things that go along with it.  Well, not all.  We haven’t tried Elimination Communication yet.  Maybe with the next kid.

But this is really a hidden gem that I believe deserves more attention, for the benefit of countless women who experience the effects – ranging from somewhat annoying to outright devastating – of postpartum depression.
Eat your placenta!

Well, actually, don’t literally eat it, because that’s kind of gross.

During my pregnancy, I stumbled upon some online discussions about the benefits of the mother ingesting the placenta after birth to help fight postpartum depression.  I asked my midwife about this, and she mentioned the name of a CT doula, Stacie Mandeville of Inner Wisdom Birth Services, who is certified in placenta encapsulation.

I contacted Stacie and made arrangements for her to come to my house after the birth and do whatever it is she needs to do in my kitchen to dry my placenta and put it in capsule form for me to take like a daily vitamin.  I forget the cost now but I think it was around $150.  It was great – she brought her own equipment, prepared the placenta, and cleaned up afterward.  She left me specific instructions for how to use the capsules, and I still have a bunch leftover in my fridge that can be used for a mood boost whenever I’m feeling down or stressed (except when you’re sick – placenta capsules in the body will draw in any infection and make it worse, so you must have a clean bill of health while taking them).

I have no idea how it works, but I know I didn’t experience the baby blues or any form of upset or depression immediately after the birth, mild or severe.  In my estimation, money well spent.

Oh, and Stacie didn’t just come up with her own “recipe” for the placenta – she was trained and certified by Placenta Benefits, Inc., which provides the materials and consumer info. for this service as well.

So … why not do everything in your power to stave off possible postpartum depression? I think more women should know about the placenta encapsulation service. Or, you could fire up the grill … and I know that people have done it … but, no thanks.

Another thing that comes to mind, when I think of placentas, is how dazed I was after Mackenzie’s birth and how I have absolutely no memory of one of the midwives showing me the placenta and all of its parts. I do remember lying there, on my bed, holding Mackenzie and nursing her, still naked and covered in blood as the others cleaned up. It was around 6:30 in the morning. My husband was sitting there by my head. The midwife said, “Would you like me to show you the placenta?” Yes, I said. I was very excited, because the placenta is so cool. You grow a whole organ inside you during pregnancy, how amazing is that? My husband has pointed out that it’s actually more amazing that you, like, grow another LIFE inside of you during pregnancy, but for some reason I’m more fascinated by the placenta.

Anyway, it makes me a bit sad, because while my husband remembers detail after gory detail of the midwife’s visual tour of the placenta, in all its dripping, veiney bloodiness (he said it was like a car wreck – too awful to look at but too horrifyingly gripping to look away), I remember nothing of that time. Nothing! I know I must have seen everything she showed me, because my husband says I was wide awake at the time. But I passed out sometime thereafter from exhaustion (from 3 hours of pushing after, oh, almost 3 days of trying to dilate my cervix), and now, alas, have no memory of my amazing, beautiful placenta.

Before she cooked it (haha, you chop it up, boil it and dry it out – so glad she is trained to do this without any involvement from me), Stacie took my placenta and made some impressions with it on paper to form “tree of life” looking artwork with it. When I get a chance, I’ll take some pictures of it and post them here. It kind of grosses me out when I look at them, but then, I’m glad I have some kind of visual of it to replace my lost memories of the real thing.

Something other than the rest of the placenta capsules sitting in my fridge.

Did you take your vitamins today?