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“But I’m a vegan…”

I had a homebirth with Tammi in April of 2010. It was my first birth and though Tammi had mentioned placenta ingestion and sent me information on the practice I wasn’t really sure what my decision would be until the birth. I’m a biologist so I know that even herbivores typically ingest their placentas. The practice may be to help avoid notice from predators, but it also makes biological sense that this organ that the body put so much energy into growing would provide much needed nourishment to the mother postpartum. Logically, ingestion made sense to me and I didn’t want to see my placenta wasted. But I’m a vegan and had been for 14 years when my daughter was born. Even if it came from me, the thought of eating “meat” made me a little queasy.

When my daughter was born Tammi asked me if I wanted her to prepare the placenta. My husband was supportive and noted Tammi’s instructions for preparing smoothies each day so I agreed. He prepared the shakes each day so I didn’t even have to see the placenta and I drank them dutifully for about a month. I couldn’t tell that there was a tiny piece of placenta in each shake – I just looked forward to drinking them! I got really spoiled because it wasn’t until the placenta was gone that I realized how much I had been enjoying drinking them.

In the weeks immediately after my daughter’s birth I faced a few challenges including an unexpected death in the family and my daughter’s perpetual colic and reflux. On reflection it wasn’t until a week or two after the placenta ran out that I started to feel the weight of these stresses, and others. Did the placenta even out my hormones and help with the transition to motherhood? I can’t say for sure, but I think it did. In the end it didn’t bother me and I know that it certainly didn’t hurt! I’m due with baby number two in six weeks and I’m planning to ingest the placenta again.

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