Friday, June 4, 2010

Send me no wine

(Except that you should actually send me lots of wine. It won't be long until I'll be able to drink it again.)

Continuing my musings on Why Pregnancy Is Gross, I thought I'd share with you all the various disgusting things that can be done with the placenta. As hard as it may be to believe, please keep in mind that I am not making any of this up.

(Also, so as to avoid offense, I should point out that obviously there are plenty of people out there who do these things, and that is their right, etc. etc. I just happen to think it's really gross.)

In ascending order of disgustingness:

1. Bury it, then plant a tree over it. Actually, this is something I can get behind. I bet the placenta would be excellent fertilizer, and it would be nice to have a tree commemorating our child's birth. However, I am not doing this in a rental house, and HELL if I am saving a frozen placenta until we buy our own place.

2. Turn it into art. Apparently you lay a sheet of paper over the placenta to make a print, then frame it. To this I say EW.

3. Use it as a dietary supplement. Basically, you get somebody to dry your placenta, turn it into powder, and put it into capsules, and then you consume your own placenta in pill form. Apparently this is very nutritious and can help with postpartum depression. I am deeply skeptical.

4. Eat it. Yes, there are people who do this. If you search the Internet, you can find all kinds of ways to prepare it. Again, supposedly very nutritious and helps with lactation and depression and blah blah blah. Again, I don't really believe it. Yes, animals do it, and lots of people point out that humans are in fact mammals, so why should human birth be any different or more difficult than other species'? Yes, there is some truth in that, but that analogy only takes me so far - and I draw the line well before placenta-eating. I am not into autocannibalism.

5. Lotus birth, or umbilical nonseverance. This is exactly what it sounds like: Instead of cutting the umbilical cord at birth, you leave it intact until it separates by itself in about two to three days. So apparently you're supposed to carry around a chunk of rotting human flesh along with your baby. As far as I can tell, for this one its proponents don't even pretend that it has any physical benefit - after all, once the placenta is detached, it's not sending anything useful down the umbilical cord anymore. Instead, it has something to do with the baby's aura or some such. Again I say EW.

I personally have absolutely no interest in my placenta. If I were giving birth in a hospital, I would say chuck that sucker straight into the biohazard bin, I don't even really want to look at it. Since we'll be at home, the midwives will wrap it up well and put it in the freezer, and we'll toss it out with the rest of the compost on garbage day. (This is perfectly safe and legal, by the way - I checked.) This is just my personal opinion, however - obviously there are plenty of people out there who disagree with me!


Elizabeth said...

Merry was born by c-section and whisked away before i could see her.

i'm asking if she's alright, and if she is, in fact, a she, when along comes a doctor with my placenta in a dish and sticks it under my nose.

"lookit! this came out of you!"

i think i may have said something very inappropriate.

Tara said...

It apparently does wonders for rose bushes.

Gettysburg Mom said...

Howdy. Here via Dooce.

We had a roommate years ago who told of a horrible, horrible story. He was living with friends out in New Mexico and life was good. One evening, after a few drinks at the local watering hole he came home and was investigating the kitchen for snacks and found an aluminum foil wrapped package in the freezer and opened to investigate. Given the topic of your post, you know it was the roommate's placenta, right? She was saving it to do the whole tree thing.


Amanda said...

EWWW is right!! I have to go scrub my brain now.