I wish that I could say, “I consumed my placenta, it’s the best! So you should too!!” But that just isn’t my testimony with this one. I was in fact NOT a placenta consumer myself. “So why?” you ask, “Why do you urge us so, to consume our own if even you do not know first hand what you are offering?” Yes, I hear ya- but sometimes these kinds of wonderful things aren’t delineated so simplistically. So, I will share with you what I know, what my own truth is about others consuming their placentas.
I gave birth to my oldest daughter in 2010, and I was not the crazy birth person that I am now, not even close. I remember catching wind of the concept and scrunching my nose, shaking my head, saying out loud, “now really, what kind of nutty-hippie-wackadoo thinks it’s a good idea to EAT your placenta?!” I might have even been scared of using the word placenta and said something safer like,’ afterbirth’ or ‘that thing’. This is what we lovingly refer to as, ‘Before Birth Tiffany.’ And I already gave away the ending- nope didn’t eat the placenta from that birth.
Two years later, I am in full bloom as ‘After Birth Tiffany’… (haha, I like that After Birth pun, totally accidental but we’ll keep it). I am rocking the doula world, teaching childbirth education, making plans to become a midwife and I am pregnant with my second daughter. YES I will plan to encapsulate my placenta, I am all about it now. YES I still think it is gross, that’s quite a doozy to get over, I mean really. YES I am planning to do some other nutty-hippie-wackadoo things with this pregnancy and birth, I’ll let your imagination run wild with that one. But unfortunately the placenta in this pregnancy was definitely not cooperating, go figure. And I birthed my sweet baby girl by cesarean due to placenta previa- that’s a whole other post in itself. The hospital I birthed at were a-holes at the time about “letting” mamas take their placentas home with them right away and I was in no shape to fight for it, so alas that placenta slipped through my grip.
What happens next is how I am 99% certain I could have 100% utilized the benefits of my placenta postpartum. This is what we hesitantly refer to as ‘Jacked up Tiffany’. I am a hot mess: I’m recovering from delivering my baby out of the middle of my body (I don’t recommend this method as a first birthing choice), I am brushing up on my nocturnal skills while also effectively remaining diurnal (it means I am awake during the day…nothing to do with urine or anal), I am loosely parenting my 2 year old (god bless her, she survived on goldfish and Dora for about 3 days straight), I am trying my absolute best to keep my new baby alive despite her inability to eat or sleep on command (gah, newborns, right?). And so this scene goes on for quite some time, since apparently barricading yourself indoors for weeks on end essentially stops the earth from turning. If you know someone who just had their 2nd kid, earn yourself a human being medal and drop some chocolate and wine at their door several times a week around 9am.
I say I am 99% sure because I guess I just can’t say for absolute certain that placenta would have cured me of that portion of my motherhood “journey”. (Journey is a nice word for, ‘there is gonna be some shit, you will have no choice but to walk through it, so lets not call it “shit”, it will scare the nice ladies who aren’t moms yet.’) What I was really dealing with in those days was exhausting, mood swings, feelings of inadequacy, sadness about my birth outcome, and just all the way around dumpy. I thought almost every single day of the benefits of placenta encapsulation and feeling certain that I could have had a better go of this transition if I was able to get those hormones and iron back into my body. I even seriously considered buying sheep placenta pills online- yes that exists, no I don’t know why- it was a desperate and dark place…
Eventually my body figured itself out, my baby slept and ate and survived my care, my toddler developed enough bad habits to adjust to life as a big sister, I started getting more and more rest, I began processing my birth story and I turned out okay. It was a good year before I felt like myself again. I eventually went back to working with pregnant couples and shared my own experience. I passed on all the wonderful testimonies of families I had worked with before that marveled at their placenta encapsulation results. I always acknowledge that it is a personal choice, but that I wholeheartedly endorse the practice of consuming the placenta after birth. Last year I finally picked up the skill of processing placentas myself. It really has been such a treat to personally provide postpartum wellness to my doulas clients and childbirth students, but I am also thrilled when I am able to reach a mama who reaches out to me independently from my other services. Here’s to placenta consumption and all the many more joyful transitions into parenting it provides! Love, Tiffany