In college, I distinctly remember my friends and I discussing how
disgusting it was that hippies ate their placentas. One of my roommates' boyfriend
spoke up, saying that he thought it was a good idea. My then boyfriend, now husband, offered to be
a vigilante placenta stealer, swooping into the delivery room and whisking
away my dear friend's placenta before anyone could consume
it! Little did we know that one day,
many years later, that noble man would be reminding a labor and delivery nurse
that we needed to take my placenta home. Yes, that's right, I am now one of those weird
hippies. Although, before you get too
grossed out, I didn't fry it up and serve it with a side
of potatoes. I had my placenta
encapsulated, and I highly recommend it!
Placenta encapsulation is a process in which your placenta is
steamed, dehydrated, ground and placed into capsules for you to swallow like
pills; no chewing required. So what led
me from judgmental coed to placenta pill popper? The quest for a better postpartum experience. With my first
son, I suffered from postpartum anxiety and struggled to fully enjoy my tiny
bundle of joy. My physical recovery was
slow, and mentally it took a whole year to feel like myself again.
The promise of more energy and less crazy was enough for me. I shelved my previous convictions, ponied up the cash and hired a placenta encapsulation expert.
When I was pregnant the second time, I
decided I would do everything I could to avoid repeating history. I learned
that eating one's placenta is thought to aid in the
postpartum recovery process. Being high in vitamins and minerals, including iron and zinc, it helps replenish
vital nutrients. Many believe it also
helps regulate your hormones; the mood boosting hormone oxytocin is present in
the placenta, so ingesting it is supposed to help you feel happier, less anxious and more energetic. The promise of more
energy and less crazy was enough for me. I shelved my previous convictions, ponied up the cash and hired a
placenta encapsulation expert.
Next, I worked up the nerve to tell my ob-gyn that I'd
be needing my placenta—not to plant in the ground, but to return it to the system from whence
it came. She thought it was strange, but
less so than burying it in the backyard, and she said that if nothing else, the
extra iron couldn't hurt. Then there was the awkward request to borrow
my dad's ice chest. And last
but not least, my husband had to make sure the nurse bagged and chilled my
placenta and then call the placenta gal to come retrieve it.
A few days later, I received my magic pills,
and while it could totally be the placebo effect, they really did work! When I first unscrewed the cap on the jar,
all I could think was that they smelled weird. But I sent two down the hatch, and about fifteen minutes later, I had an
incredible rush of energy. I took two
pills, three times a day until I ran out. I felt so much less manic. My
hormones were much more even, and I had none of the anxiety I experienced the
first time around. I was sleeping less
and was far busier with two children, yet I had more energy. And best of all, I felt like myself after
just two months instead of twelve. There
could have been many factors that led to this much happier outcome, but I know
this for sure, those pills didn't hurt; and if I ever have another
baby, I'll have my placenta gal on speed dial.