It stands on a wooden bureau in our living room. Right next to the sewing machine that I inhereted from my mother when I set forth after my A levels, a couple of matryoshka dolls from my Moscow visit and a miniature figure of Walther “Heisenberg” White from my man’s beloved TV show Breaking Bad. Filling a preserving jar up to its half, it catches almost every guest’s attention. Their assumptions include the funniest examples: tea, magic mushrooms or weed pills (remember, we do live in Amsterdam), poison, room scent or a simple “What is this?”; we heard it all. We would think that these ideas could not be topped by anything stranger but each time when I explain what is actually filling this jar our visitors react really surprised. At first, the sentence “This is my placenta” generates facial expressions that feature nuances of slight disgust. This is in particular the case if they don’t have children yet.
However, somehow this answer also increases their interest. They want to understand so they ask “why do you have your placenta in a jar…in your living room?”. So I start to talk about how I read this book by a German mid-wife and got carried away by the all natural birth approach and how to prepare for the recovery phase. That the placenta is supposed to strengthen the mother’s body and soul and help her to cope with mood changes. I mention Thiago’s birth. The two- day-long and exhausting labor which had started in a birth center but had to be continued in the hospital. How I had surprised my man that, once our son was born and taken to the NICU, I still had the brain and power to tell the hospital staff not to through my placenta away. I mention the assistant doctor who asked ” Do you want to see it?” and us simultaneously answering. Me with yes. My man with “NO”! “It actually looks like a big bloody steak”, he always says at this point. While laughing, we remember the assistant doctor checking the red and glibbery placenta, touching it over and over again with his fingers like small children do when they play with food.
I talk about the nurse who put my placenta in a plastic bucket, how I handed it over to my midwife to encapsulate this steak that had nourished our baby for nine long months. “It has done such a great job so it can only be god for your body, right?” is how my man and I end the story. Whether the effect is actually true or just placebo, we don’t mind at this point. What we know is that these memories, both funny and creepy, are simply amazing and just priceless!
Do you have a placenta story? Did you encapsulate it? If so, I would be thrilled to hear your story 🙂