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Placenta Possibilities

© Flickr user danoxster, CC Licensed.

I work for a midwife and in our cabinet at the office, there is a file folder labeled "Placenta Possibilities." I don't know why this makes me laugh as hard as it does, but I'm guessing it's probably something to do with comparing my previous job (standard stuffy office) to my current one.

Tonight, a friend is coming by to encapsulate a placenta in my kitchen. It's not my placenta, but for a client of hers and I volunteered my kitchen for the task so that I may watch and learn (and, if I'm lucky, help).

A few years ago, I never would've pictured myself in this line of work or discussing what one could do with a placenta. In fact, a few years ago, I'd had no idea you could -- or would want to -- do anything with a placenta other than try not to think about it too much. Now I ooh and ahh over them at every birth I attend and often encourage new parents to take even a quick glance, whether at home or in the hospital. It's an amazing organ that your body grows for just this purpose and I can't help but feel it deserves a brief moment of reverence.

By the time my daughter was born at home in late 2009, I was familiar with some "placenta possibilities," but couldn't decide if any of them were for me. Eating it raw was just too much to consider, smoothie or not. Encapsulation crossed my radar, but sounded complicated. Placenta prints sounded interesting but who has time for art projects in the early postpartum days?

Suffice it to say that 2 years later, I still have a frozen placenta stuffed in the back of my freezer. Whoops.

Somehow, even after all this time, it feels blasphemous to just toss it in the trash. If we had a yard, I'd probably bury it and plant something over it, but I live in a large apartment building in NYC and … yeah. It seems likely it will remain in my freezer for the foreseeable future.

This time around, I'm less squeamish about the whole thing and wondering what I should do with the placenta currently nourishing Boo. Although there isn't any solid peer-reviewed research to support ingesting it (where's the money in that?), there also isn't any research saying it's not helpful, so I figure why not? And it seems I'm not alone. I suppose I could make a print, toss a chunk in a smoothie, and then encapsulate the rest -- but I'm still not sure I'm ready for all that.

I've got about 4 months to figure it out one way or another. I s'pose tonight's kitchen project will serve as a bit of a test -- will I walk away ready to ingest my own or start cleaning out space in the freezer again? I'll keep you posted.

Where do you fall on the placenta scale -- fascinated, grossed out, or somewhere in between? Has anyone successfully brought their placenta home from the hospital? If you were able to keep yours, wherever you birthed, what did you ultimately do with it?

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