Girl Eats Placenta
When my very pregnant friend called recently to tell me that she had arranged for her placenta to be encapsulated and invited me to come watch the whole process, it was a dream come true. I had been passively bringing it up in conversation for nine months.
“I heard some ladies like to eat their placentas because it gives them nutrients that they would otherwise lose after giving birth.”
“Oh yeah, they’re like, really nutritious and shit…”
But while I talked confidently about the process with my friend, I had heard stories from other women about bureaucratic nightmares that required paying a coroner to transport the placenta from the hospital to a funeral home, and then convincing the funeral home to “release” the placenta to you, so you can take it back to your house and eat it. The people I had spoken with weren’t Canadian, though, and after doing a bit of research, I learned that our laws here are way more lax—taking your placenta home in Canada is as easy as putting it in a plastic bag and saying “bye”. Also, it helps to tell the hospital that it’s for religious purposes. Otherwise they’re all like, “???”
Women choose to consume their placentas, technically known as placentophagy, because giving birth is a painful, kooky process that tends to suck the life out of everyone who experiences it, and the placenta has a buttload of nutrients in it that some say can help curb postpartum depression. Pretty much all other mammals (except for camelids, but I mean, come on, look at them) eat their placentas in a bloody, gore-filled wrath as soon as their babies pop out.
My friend’s placenta, smiling for the camera.
As you can see, placentas are pretty much just as disgusting as any other animal by-product that you would come across in a grocery store. The first steps in preparing it for consumption, I learned, are to remove the umbilical cord and the membrane-sac thingy that held the baby in place, and then drain the veins of excess blood.
Boop. It smelled like metal and pussy.
Stacey, our chef and a former placenta curator from an Amazonian utopia, I’m pretty sure, said that even if the effect her capsules produced was only a placebo, the tedious process was still worth it because postpartum is such a debilitating experience to go through.
As a person who is no stranger to eating her own bodily fluids, it felt really nice to be able to speak with someone who didn’t give a fuck about consuming placentas. She was very knowledgeable and relaxed, with a no-bullshit attitude that made me want to spread the word about weird shit going on in the postnatal health world, even if it is borne out of my own novelty seeking.