“Ummm, that’s really weird…” were the first words out of my mouth when my birthing coach told me about placenta encapsulation. To be honest, I was too embarrassed to admit that my biggest fear of giving birth was the actual pain of a possible epidural needle. So, I headed feet first into my next fear: post partum depression.
Months prior, one of my closest friends fell into a downward spiral of post partum depression with a side of psychosis, just weeks after her little bundle had arrived. It was then, post partum depression became personal. Hit home. Became real.
To this day, I have never felt so helplessly out of control as a friend. I was used to being able to restore things. Give absolute advice. Ease pain with a hug. Use humor when the mood was just a bit too heavy. But my platform crumbled beneath us both. I couldn’t fix the situation. My heart broke for my friend in the process. What if this happens to me? What if THIS happens to ME?
I let my birthing coach tell me more about placenta encapsulation. I could tell by the way her eyes lit up and her smile sparkled, that this was something special. She had me intrigued. She then told me that she had done it! Twice! Wow. This woman, has ingested…two….placenta’s in her lifetime.
I am not sure what my facial expression looked like while she was telling me about her personal, placenta adventure… but she reassured me that you can take your placenta in pill form rather than the raw, fresh-out- of- the- womb, form. Well, then. That sounded a bit more doable. I think.
I was shocked to hear that placenta encapsulation had many more postpartum benefits, other than balancing one’s hormones (although that seemed enough for me!). Increase of milk production! Reduce post-partum bleeding! Replenish depleted iron levels! Assist in one’s uterus to return to prenatal state! And, increase energy levels!! Say, whhhat?! AND, it is completely safe for both mama and baby with minimal side effects, if any. Why had I never heard about this before?
I went home in a giddy and curious state. “I am going to eat my placenta!!!” I yelled, as I skipped down the street rubbing my 8 month-old-pregnant belly. Okay, maybe not. But that’s what I felt like doing. I felt empowered. I felt in control. I felt prepared.
Fast forward to my actual due date. January 10th, 2012. Labour came on with a vengence and our baby was coming extremely quickly. And to make things even more memorable, mother nature decided to throw in a snowstorm (very comical, I know). In my birth notes, I had at the top, in bold, highlighted letters, *WANT TO KEEP PLACENTA. Unfortunately, due to the swiftness of my labour and a dramatic ambulance ride, my birthnotes were tucked safely away on my bedside table, at home. In between contractions I could be heard panting, “Don’t forget… I want my placenta!!” And then onto the next contraction I would go. It was evident to everyone in that delivery room, that I was going home with my baby’s placenta.
Our precious, baby boy N arrived with bells on, and life changed. We were a healthy, happy, family. Life felt like it had officially begun. The sleepless nights begun. The challenges of breast feeding begun. Counting and changing poopy diapers had begun. Parenthood had begun.
About a week after I had given birth, a lovely lady from Pure Birth Services came to our home and dropped off all of my placenta goodies!! Not only was there a jar of placenta pills (my placenta made about 150 pills), but she also dropped off placenta broth (which, my hubby and I discussed briefly, both made a funny face, and disposed of it immediately!) and a placenta tincture as well.
I was relieved when my placenta pills were finally in my hands, but I have to admit, I was a bit apprehensive. What if they made me feel strange? What if I had some outlandish reaction (major hypochodirac, right here!)? What if I didn’t notice anything beneficial come from them? My mother-in-law saved the day and said calmly, “You are exhausted, take the pills.” Out came the pills and a glass a water… and my placenta adventure began.
I took my placenta pills for 3 weeks and then would pop a couple of pills whenever I found myself feeling utterly exhausted. I can honestly say, my first month of being a first time mama was wonderful. And I do believe my placenta pills played an immense part in this positive experience. Now don’t get me wrong, I was tired. I was overwhelmed. I was anxious. But, all of these new feelings felt natural and not out of control. My hormones seemed stable. I felt like I had energy to get through the day. My milk was flowing. My body was healing. And I felt…healthy. Most moms can agree that feeling all of these things right after giving birth to a baby, is priceless. It’s as simple as that. I was amazed and grateful for this organ that I had never given much thought to before. Not only did my baby’s placenta give my baby life for 9 months, but also gave me some pretty incredible health benefits post partum (and natural at best!).
My first year being a brand new mom has flown by like no other. I find myself talking with other inspiring mama’s about every parenthood topic under the sun. I often bring up my personal experience regarding placenta encapsulation, and get a wide range of reactions. Some captivated, others repulsed, and the rest are mystified. My goal isn’t to make every mom do placenta encapsulation. My goal is to inform and educate about how incredible our bodies really are. At the end of the day, only I can decide what is best for me, my body and my baby. But, for me… placenta encapsulation made things a wee bit easier!
In case you were wondering…
Where are my remainder placenta pills now? They are stuck in my freezer door waiting for the day my body decides to go into menopause, and needs a little boost (And people say I am not a planner, ha!)
Who was my birthing coach who introduced me to Placenta Encapsulation? She is the lovely, Gemma Stone who is a busy mom of two and an incredible Psychologist, Coach, Speaker and Guide, in Calgary, Alberta. Gemmastone.org
How is my friend who had PPD and essentially inspired me to be pro-active and do placenta encapsulation? She is wonderfully healthy and is an inspiring mama to her handsome, growing boy (who is such a ham, might I add!
And finally, where am I at with my biggest fear of getting an epidural needle? Conquered that with having a natural labor/delivery and realizing the pain I felt was probably much more than the pain of a tiny needle. Ahh- life lessons.
Pure Birth Services (Calgary, Alberta)- purebirth.ca
Written by: Kerri