Tuesday, December 28, 2010
The temporary organ
One of the many things that didn't even cross my mind when I had my son was anything that had to do with the Placenta. The extent of my knowledge of this marvelous organ that we grow to nourish our babies for their gestation was basically "Oh, yeah I know what that is, it's this big thing that feeds the baby." and that it can weigh anywhere from 5 to 8 lbs. Well I was in for a knowledge shock and am now going to be one of the crazy moms who ingests the placenta after this one is born. I know what you thinking. I'm not frying it or baking it in the kitchen with onions and then noshing on it that way. I'm not that far gone down the natural path yet.
For starters, I have heard stories about what midwives did with them after births. They were usually taken home and used as fertilizer in the garden or put in the compost pile. I've read stories written by children who were used to seeing one in the fridge after their mom attended a birth.
Some people plant trees or rose bushes with the Placenta at the bottom of the hole, which then fertilizes the plant and they have a nice plant to honor their baby with. Then I heard of people who cook them and eat them after the baby is born. (blegh! All I'm picturing is something like overcooked liver.) What I have decided to go with though is called "Placenta Encapsulation". This is becoming a very common practice with some women. The Placenta is taken, cooked, dried, ground up, and put into pills capsules. Which are then taken by the mother.
You are probably wondering "What's the big deal about the Placenta?" , "EWWWW!!" or both.
The big deal is that the Placenta is full of hormones!! Good ones! Ones that have tons of women saying that it helped them with Post Partum Depression or helped them avoid it completely. They also are beneficial to women who are in menopausal years.
The proof is in our mammal companions. All female mammals eat the placenta after giving birth, even herbivors. Most scientists believed that this was just to clean up the site of the birth, until they noticed they weren't eating anything else but the placenta. So, why the Placenta? There must be something there if they are eating it.
This has kind of become a fascination with me. Some people have started ritualistic things surrounding the placenta. There is a book called "The lost Chaukra" that is about the placenta. People do placental imprints before they are ingested. (The placenta is blotted with paint and pressed on a sheet of paper leaving an impression.) and there is even a green smoothie recipe that I've found that is placenta nourishing. (recipe at bottom).
When I first mentioned to my husband that I had just read something about Placenta encapsulation, he was doing the dishes. He stopped dead and said 'What?" I repeated myself and he then proceeded to tell me it sounded like something out of a Sci-fi movie. "We're going to encapsulate the placenta now Captain." So it kinda became something that I would say creepily just to annoy him, like in those horror movies where the murderer is using an echo to torture the victim. After he got over the heebie-jeebie part and he realised that I was seriously considering having this done, he started to ask about it. Now mind you, I am not doing it myself, some women diy it in their kitchen after having the baby. It is a service my midwives offer and I am having them do it. They take it and prepare it and I get the pills afterward. My husband started asking things like: "They aren't doing it in our kitchen, are they?!"
"Do I have to look at it?"
"I bet it's going to taste funny."
"I'm not kissing you after you take them, just so you know."
Most of which I just laugh the answer out. To be honest though, I'm looking forward to reaping the benefits of this. I didn't suffer from severe PPD, but it was enough to make me feel crazy.
As I thought about it more, the placenta has almost a fascinating power to it. Truly. None of us would be here without one. If something goes wrong with it at any point during the pregnancy, the baby could die, we the moms could die or both. This is an organ that binds itself to us, filters our blood and nourishes our baby. Both mother and child are connected to it for a small period of our lives, but it plays such an important role. Doctors worry about it's health during your pregnancy and towards the end of our pregnancies we may also start to worry about it.
I could go on, but I'm going to stop here. (Enough with the Placenta already, geesh!)
Healthy Placenta Smoothie:
1 green apple
3 Broccili stems
1 handful sprouts
3 kale leaves
zip it through until smooth.
Placenta Ritual Story
Placenta Benefits and Info