“What are you doing?” my mother-in-law asked Ben as he ran through our kitchen with a cooler in his hand at 6:45 am.
“Just putting Ashley’s placenta on the porch,” he said, like he was checking his email or washing the dishes.
She sat on the couch, stunned and confused. Did I hear that right?, she thought.
My mother-in-law was staying with us for a couple of nights after I gave birth to Ivy. It's a crazy time for all new parents and she was prepared to help with whatever we needed. But she wasn't prepared for this.
To this day, she says that the placenta story still makes her laugh.
So, why was Ben doing this? Our doula was on her way to pick up my placenta so she could encapsulate it for me.
Yes, you read that correctly.
I had my placenta dried, ground up, and encapsulated into pills, which I then took for over a month after giving birth. Doing this was the best postpartum recovery decision I made.
￼When I got pregnant, I started reading about natural ways to heal my body and mind ￼after giving birth and came across the possibility of eating my placenta. I was as ￼intrigued as I was horrified by the idea of eating my own organ. Still, I decided to look into it further.
WHAT IS A PLACENTA?
After conception, the placenta begins to grow in the mother’s body, attaching to the wall of her uterus. The baby’s umbilical cord then attaches to the placenta, which serves as the source of life for the growing baby.
The placenta provides nutrients and oxygen to the baby, protects the baby from internal infections, produces hormones to support a healthy pregnancy and eliminates waste from the baby’s blood.
After the mother gives birth, she delivers the placenta. Without the baby, the mother no longer needs this extra organ.
Since the placenta contains excess hormones and nutrients that were passed from mom to babe, many women around the world believe that an important part of postpartum recovery is to consume it after birth.
Some women incorporate it into a special meal, some freeze it into small chunks and then blend it into a smoothie, and some encapsulate it and ingest their placenta in pill form.
Consuming it is said to help regulate postpartum hormones, increase milk supply and improve the mother’s overall mood. Since I had a very difficult first trimester of pregnancy with pre-baby blues, I decided to do whatever I could to prevent postpartum sadness.
I had no idea how difficult it is becoming a mom, and the first month was such a foggy haze that I don’t remember much of it at all.
Two weeks after I had Ivy, I got my placenta pills. From the moment I took the first one, I called them my “happy pills.”
I felt instantly different. They gave me confidence and made me feel like getting through the day was possible. They gave me tons of energy after having a sleepless night. My milk supply was overabundant and my overall mood was elevated.
Although there were many struggles while I was adjusting to being a mother, I can’t imagine going through the initial weeks without my happy pills. The placenta is a beautiful, miracle of an organ and consuming it, giving the nutrients to my body and Ivy's a second time was my way of honouring that. I am so grateful I did it.