A few years ago, I never would have ever even considered eating my placenta. Like most people, the word “placenta” probably would have grossed me out all on it’s own. But pregnancy brought out a whole new version of myself that I never even knew existed. A natural side that was in love with my body and embraced all of the amazing things it was doing.
I was also beginning to get nervous about postpartum depression. All my pregnancy books warned me of how common it was. They say about 80% of women suffer from some form of PPD. A woman I know who had her baby a few months before me texted me one day warning me of how awful postpartum is. She said that she cried all day and never wanted to get out of bed. I struggled with severe depression my senior year of high school and depression also runs in my family so I felt like I was even more at risk. I had been off of my antidepressants and depression free for about 2 years and definitely did not want to go back. Once I heard eating your placenta can help prevent PPD, I was all for it.
So, I began looking into options for my placenta after giving birth. I still wasn’t brave enough to eat my placenta like a meat in my dinner or grind it up into a smoothie like some do, but I decided I could handle swallowing a pill, so I chose encapsulation. I found a “placenta lady” in my area that had great reviews and even came to the hospital to pick up your placenta after you have your baby & then drops the capsules off at your home when she is done! My family thought I was crazy. My dad shook his head and said I would never go through with it.
When I was giving birth, I reminded my midwife multiple times to save my placenta, worried she would just trash it somewhere and it would be gone forever. But she didn’t forget. After my beautiful baby was finally in my arms, my placenta sat in a tiny cooler on a shelf in the hospital room. My husband texted the placenta lady and later met her outside of the hospital and handed her my placenta. Weirdest thing ever right? I picture them in an ally doing some kind of sketchy exchange with my organs in a box.
I began breastfeeding immediately and got the hang of it pretty quickly. I felt natural doing it, my baby had a good latch but unfortunately, my milk wasn’t coming in. Three days later at our first pediatrician appointment, it still hadn’t come in. Not only was my baby weighing a lot less than his birth weight (which is normal) but he was dehydrated (not normal). His sweet little mouth was so dry, his tongue felt like sandpaper and his lips were are cracked and flaky. I was devastated when the doctor recommended supplementing with a little formula.
Finally, the placenta lady dropped off my capsules to our home the next day. I was instructed to take two capsules, three times a day for the first two weeks. Then after two weeks I could reduce to one or two capsules a day or just take them as needed. I opened the bottle and took two right away.
The first thing I noticed was the smell. It smelled like blood, or like raw meat. I popped them in my mouth and quickly swallowed them with water but still tasted them. It was disgusting. They tasted pretty much exactly like they smelled. However, I continued to take them. My milk came in the next day.
Despite being up all night with a newborn baby, I was full of energy. In fact, I never wanted to sleep. I’m still not sure if this was because I was just too excited about my baby or because the placenta pills were giving me so much energy. But either way, it was nice. I did struggle with postpartum insomnia in later months, but this wasn’t like that. There was no insomnia in those first few weeks, I was just full of energy.
We had been warned of how a baby can cause trouble in a marriage, but to our surprise, my husband and I were getting along better than ever. Even our family noticed it and commented on how well we were adjusting and what a great team we were as parents.
I took the pills as directed for the first two weeks. Then I reduced to two a day. Then I forgot about them completely. It wasn’t until about 5 weeks postpartum that I realized I had forgotten about them. I started to get very annoyed with my husband. I mean really annoyed. At one point I found myself googling, “I hate everything my husband does”. It felt like the lack of sleep from the past 5 weeks caught up to me all at once. I was weepy and grumpy and just wanted to lash out at anyone who tried to talk to me. I suddenly became very aware of my new postpartum body and stretch marks.
Just as I was getting ready to call my doctor and discuss antidepressants, a light bulb went off. My placenta pills. I immediately ran to them and popped two in my mouth. Since then, I’ve tried to remember to take at least one a day when I take my other vitamins but honestly, I skip them a lot. A major reason for that is because I’m such a baby about the smell and the taste.
Now, I’m 5 months postpartum and pretty much only take them “as needed”. I still exclusively breastfeed and have more than enough milk. I’m not tired anymore and have a good amount of energy. I no longer feel full of rage because of the way my husband snores or want to leave him when he puts the toilet paper on upside down (okay, that still annoys me, but you get my point).
I still have occasional days where I feel exhausted or just want to go into the shower and cry. On those day, I take a placenta pill. It’s sort of like my natural, as needed antidepressant/anti anxiety pill. A lot of people say it doesn’t actually do anything and it’s all just a placebo effect but who cares? If it gets you through the day and keeps you from developing postpartum depression, I’m all for it.
So overall, I would definitely recommend placenta encapsulation. And bonus, the placenta lady also preserved our umbilical cord in a heart shape and sent me a picture of my placenta before she encapsulated it! My family was totally grossed out when I sent it to our group chat. Oh well. That wonderful organ kept my strong little boy alive for almost 10 months. I’m a big fan of placentas.
Ps. Make sure you find a trained & certified “placenta lady”. Mine was Rachel McCloskey. I totally recommend her to any moms in the Columbus area. Here’s her site, http://www.placentaencapsulations.com/about-us.html