To tell, or not to tell… that is the question!

The title of this blog piece, when in the context of being on a doula’s website, implies, perhaps, that the reader is pregnant and has not disclosed this fact to the public (my curiosity is piqued, so I reckon I ought to write that blog piece). Actually, I typed this blog, with the title above, on PlacentaPalmBeach.com, a collaboration between myself and a local colleague Cher Kay, and it has nothing to do with whether or not you should tell everyone that you’re pregnant. Instead, well, you’ll see. It was originally published August 2, 2015. Here goes:

There are many wonderful reasons women choose to have their placentas encapsulated for consumption after birth — claims of speedier recovery, improved lactation, more energy, and less hormonal and mood fluctuation among them.  All are wonderful, valid reasons for placenta encapsulation (PE).  Deciding to have your placenta encapsulated is a no-brainer for many women!

What isn’t so clear all of the time is whether or not to share with others that you are consuming your placenta.  What will others think about you, if they find out what you are doing?

In my own experience, placenta was a taboo word at the dinner table growing up, and from my conservative roots, I was surprised to even find myself on the track of becoming a professional encapsulator!  Early motherhood was a vulnerable time for me, rampant with unsolicited and outdated advice from both strangers as well as those I respected and cared about.  Not knowing anyone else who was cloth diapering their baby, it was nerve wracking enough to tell others what brands of diapers I was using!  I couldn’t imagine telling someone that I was consuming my placenta also!

The most important thing I have learned since then is that my maternal intuition matters much more than others’ opinions or advice.  Secondly, knowing there is a community of other parents making similar decisions as you can be comforting.  If you find others who have also chosen to encapsulate their placenta, befriend them!

Not everyone will struggle with the decision to talk publicly about their placenta encapsulation.  I know of some women who get a thrill out of shocking their peers, and to them, I say, “Thank you so much for making the rest of us look less crazy!” 

Seriously.  If you are among the audacious ones, please, for the love of more reserved women, share the news with everyone around you that you are eating your placenta!  We need you to do this!  It is making a difference!

It is.  The more that people talk about human maternal placentophagy, the more normal and acceptable it becomes.  When I most wished I had the option to do PE, in 2010 and 2012, I was unaware that the option even existed!  Today (2015), in some hospitals around our country, I have been told it is routine for women to be asked if they want to keep their placenta.  Routine!    So, awareness is rising.  Thank you, again.

The other points worth mentioning now are:

1. It really is not anyone else’s business.  If you are more reserved and have concerns about what others may think of you, simply do not share with them your decision to encapsulate your placenta.  Also, as a Postpartum Placenta Specialist, I will never tell anyone that I have encapsulated your placenta, unless you explicitly ask me to.

2. Encapsulation takes the edge off of placentophagy.  If you are on the fence about sharing your PE decision with others, consider talking about the process.  Do not proclaim, “I am a wild, savage beast who eats raw organs as soon as they fall out of my vagina.”  Instead:

  • explain the benefits of the placenta for postpartum wellness, and
  • give details about how your placenta was safely prepared by a professional and encapsulated into pill form.
  • Mention Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and how placenta is considered an herb in TCM and has been used for many hundreds of years to treat a variety of ailments.

In conclusion, the decision to share with others that you have encapsulated your placenta will be situational.  Based partly on your own comfort level with talking about PE and partly on the context of your conversation — who is present and what purpose the information about your PE will serve — it may be wise to avoid the subject in some circles and it may be very helpful to share your experience in others.

Whatever you decide, you are always welcome to talk to me about your PE and any related concerns.  The reason I formed Placenta Palm Beach was concern over the well being of new mothers.  If your concerns are merely with the placenta encapsulation itself, of course, you should contact me, but if you are concerned about how your PE decision will effect your relationships with those around you, then that is an equally important concern for me.  This is why, when you are trying to figure out what to do or say in a potentially controversial conversation, you have my full support.

Peace,

Christine

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