i’m certain what i’m about to write about won’t sit well with many people. of course, if you’ve been reading the blog for any amount of time you can see jp and i aren’t the most traditional of sorts. or maybe we’re really traditional and that’s what sets our lifestyle apart. either way. we had our baby at home. in a big tub (really a feed trough) in our dining room. and we made this decision based on lots of research and feeling out what felt the most right for our family.
there’s more decisions to make when having a child. well, often people who give birth at home with midwives are asked the question what you would like to do with the afterbirth. from the get-go i knew, at the very least, we would keep it to place under a tree planted in little bean’s honor. but then the more reading i did about home birth the more i learned about the benefits of consuming one’s placenta. ingesting one’s placenta is said to stem postpartum depression and helps to contract the uterus after birth. wikipedia explains placentophagy (and also explains the controversy behind it as some people refute the health benefits of it).
don’t worry. i did not eat my placenta.
i ran it by jp, my personal chef, and he –quite surprisingly (and that is not sarcastic)– was not ok with cooking it up or throwing it in a smoothie for me. i was a bit bummed but then our midwives informed us there was another, perhaps more palatable, option. in chinese medicine, the benefits of the placenta for mothers after giving birth have long been understood and respected. so we agreed to xnay the cooking and home preparation of any placenta and decided to have the placenta brought to a chinese herbalist who would dehydrate the placenta, grind it up, and encapsulate it.
i have taken most of the pills and am saving the remainders for future transition times with ramona that may prove hard on me (teething, when she stops sleeping with us, potty training, first day of school).
this is my only pregnancy and childbirth so i can’t say for sure if the pills made a difference in my recovery and emotional well-being. i will say that i did recover fast and, save for last night when i only got 3 hours of sleep due to a little girl that just wanted to stay up and play, have not felt overly exhausted or worn down. i did have a couple-days stretch that was really hard when i was learning to soothe her through her fussiness. was it the pills that came to my rescue? the impeccable timing of the visits of my midwife and doula? or perhaps the check-ins from my amazing community and supportive family? or that jp is, for the most part, here when i need him to be? these all, as well as not having to recover from any drugs put in my body during labor, are important aspects not to be disregarded as to why i have had such a healthy and energetic three and half weeks since ramona’s arrival. but the pills didn’t hurt. and if nothing else, the symbolism of returning that life force to my body is beautiful.
and as if that weren’t granola enough: the herbalist dried ramona’s umbilical cord for us as a keepsake.
i promise i will not take it out to show her first boyfriend. but i may have to pop one of those pills.