You ate what!?
It all started when my sister had postpartum depression. This was the sister who recommended her midwife to me, (whom I LOVED) and recommended getting a doula (also turned out to be invaluable). So when it came to birthin' babies I definitely trusted her advice. After emerging from a few rough months she suggested something to me that at first made me go, "Ew, um probably not". Eat your placenta. Yup. Think of all the nutrients your body has stored in there over the past nine months. Well I'd seen a placenta (a blog for a future date - when my brother Jon and I were there for the birth of a calf while our parents were away - all I remember thinking is, "should we boil some water? After we boil it what do we do then? Is it the steam that's helpful? Maybe I should just pat her head..."). The placenta does NOT in any way resemble a chocolate cake, or a muffin, or even a salad. It is what you would expect from an organ and I'll leave it at that.
There is some research that suggests that eating your placenta will help with postpartum depression, milk production, and helps restore the nutrients that you lose by giving birth.
Yeah, but your placenta? Gross. But wait, the thought stuck with me. I realized that humans are really the only mammals that don't consume their afterbirth (I grew up on a farm remember? I'd seen our cow get her munch on right after giving birth to her calf - she was all "that's right, I'm totally doing this"). Great, but I wasn't about to cook up a placenta omelette. That's when I talked to my midwife who had heard that it could be freeze dried and put into pill form. Now we're talking. I was still trying to wrap my head around the whole; eat-one-of-my-organs thing, but putting it into pill form made it much more palatable and possible. Then I started to think about postpartum depression. Being one of the artsy-fartsy types, I'm no stranger to bouts of "melancholy" as Schumann perhaps would have worded it (especially while taking birth control - but that's another story entirely). But I am lucky to never have truly had to deal with full blown depression. Having had a taste though, I realized I was willing to do just about anything to avoid having to sit down at that table for a full meal.
So I did it. I freeze-dried my placenta. Well, I paid someone to freeze-dry it and put it in pill form. That's right. After Bean was born they put that puppy in a bucket and we took it home, froze it and gave it to a lovely doula who specializes in that sort of thing et... Voila! The next day I had a bottle full of organ just waiting for me to get my munch on.
Perhaps I just subscribed to a bit of hockum, but I don't really care. My post-baby experience was pretty awesome. I still did experience some emotional ups and downs, especially when I forgot to take the pills, but all in all it has been a relatively smooth ride. It's still a bit weird to pop one of those little pills and think, "hmm, I saw what this looked like raw and it certainly wasn't pretty". But would I do it again? You betcha. Thanks, sis.