I’ve always been a bit of a pooh-pooher when it comes to alternative therapies. In fact the nearest I’ve come to being remotely ‘alternative’ is the odd Bikram yoga session and a maybe cup of camomile in front of the telly. If I’m really wild, I’ll leave the bag in!
I used to scoff at the hippy dippy types who’d do bizarre things like EAT THEIR PLACENTAS, or worst still, BURY THEM. But then at around 30 weeks in to my second pregnancy, something weird happened. I had an epiphany. I decided I absolutely MUST have my placenta encapsulated, for the benefit of my post partum body (which had been rudely ravaged by an emergency caesarean section 15 months before and was about to undergo another one) and for that of my soon-to-arrive baby girl.
The wellbeing of me, my baby and frankly, the whole of mankind, suddenly depended on me ingesting this nutrient-rich organ. It had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that January Jones had just done it. Absolutely not.
My husband Rob looked at me like I was mad. “It’s a bit like cannibalism isn’t it?” he said. “You’re literally going to eat your own organs”. Well yes, I stressed, but it was actually only one organ. In a slightly eye-rolly manner, he dutifully agreed to go on Placenta Watch to make sure my hard-working organ ended up in the right hands after our daughter’s birth, and not, say, on the black market.
I have to admit I did feel slightly crazy when I called out feebly to my obstetrician over the green partition, mid-op, “Erm, don’t forget to save my placenta. I’ll be eating it!” But he very professionally zip-locked a clear plastic bag, placenta inside, and popped a name label on it.
As instructed, Rob called the doula who was making my capsules and arranged a cash-for-organ swap in the hospital car park. “I just SOLD. AN. ORGAN,” he muttered, dumbfounded, upon his return. “You sell it, I eat it!” I brightly replied.
Three days later, to coincide with my milk coming in, my dehumidified placenta was returned to me in capsule form, with instructions to save a handful for the menopause (hell, I know vitamins last a long time, but streuth!). And though I was completely grossed out when I downed the first pill with a cup of sweet tea, I felt like I was helping my body to heal.
I totally credit the capsules for easing a whole range of postpartum ailments like blood loss and recovery from the op. But what surprised me most was my milk supply. After a few days I was producing so much I could have stocked my own section in Coles (very unlike the birth of my son).
Was the experience weird? Yes. Was it worth it? Yes. Would I do it again? Hell, yes! Only next time I might fry it up with a nice glass of Pinot….
Over to you - would you eat your placenta?