Before you jump to all kinds of images in your head and about what people will say about you...STOP...and THINK...
We are the only mammal that does NOT eat our placenta. We're not animals, right? Yeah, we kinda are! Have you listened to a woman laboring? She sounds like a primal animal who is working very hard, doesn't want to to "think too much", allows movements, and sounds to overcome her.
So why DO mammals eat their placenta? After years of having animals (long before I was a Doula), I KNEW not to get in the way of an animal and her placenta. I knew the nurtients would replenish her energy and help with lactating. They always "perked up" about an hour after eating their placenta.
Not too long ago, a friend invited me to come stay with her up in International Falls and help with the few remaining calves they were waiting on. It was so much fun. We stayed up late in the barn sipping hot cocoa with her two young boys (at the time 6 and 4 years old) and telling stories. One momma-cow was showing signs and Jody said, "When she decides to go...she goes fast!" It had been years since I saw a calf being born. The last time I was about 8 years old. The momma-cow was moaning really low and stretching out her neck. Her nose was really wet and dripping with mucus (even with mammals, stuff comes out of everywhere!). Her eyes were bright and attentive. Her strong abdomen was making wave-like motions and Colter (Jody's 6 year old son) with his cowboy hat on, work boots, and big buckle he had won that fall in a horse show said, "Yep, she's ready..." I remember smiling and chuckling a little, then Colter winked at me! Gull-darn-it, he IS cute!
Sure enough, a couple more moans she was pushing. She didn't hold her breath, I don't know why I thought she would. I guess it is such common place in the hospital for the staff to want the laboring mom to hold her breath and push. Then I saw feet. The calves legs seemed so long...I was holding MY breath. I looked at Colter and Jody and they were calm...so was I. They were like MY Doulas!
I saw more and more of that sweet little calf. The calf slipped to the ground and instantly was covered in broken bits of straw. I wanted to rush over and wipe it off with a towel! Jody was talking me through the process. Explaining to me we had to leave her alone, talk quietly, and to just watch. The momma-cow immediatley started cleaning her baby. SHE had to clean her baby...if she didnt get familiar with this calf's scent she would surely abandon it. Jody also reassured me it was okay for her to eat all that straw...she will just "poop it out".
The momma-cow let out another moan and out came the placenta. It was HUGE! If you have ever seen a human placenta, they are big...but this was HUGE! Somehow the calf ended up laying on it. That momma-cow pushed her baby away and started eating her placenta. Jody told me once, she got in between a momma-cow and her placenta and she about got knocked over and trampled!
Before long, the calf was dry and suckling on momma's milk. That experience was amazing!
Mammals eat their placenta for nutrients...plain and simple. The birth process is the same for all mammals...you loose a lot of blood, your hormones go berserk, you tear tissue, and you have to feed your baby. Eating your placenta helps with ALL that.
|artwork by ArtofPatience|
Scientists suggest eating your placenta is GOOD for you... well, you are still with me and reading so here is some more great information. Check out Jesse Dykhuis webpage. She is a local woman who is certified in preparing your placenta for you.
|Artwork by Amy Swagman The Mandala Journey|