“You can also have prints made, the maternal side and the fetal side…”
“I can stop you there, dear. I just don’t want you folks to waste time doing something like that if I’m not really going to use it. I just don’t need it for anything, thanks anyway.”
That was me, being as polite as possible to my encapsulation specialist, letting her know that no, I did not want a painting made with my innards. Inside I thought, Okay dude. I’m buying into this whole placenta hocus pocus, but a frame on the wall made with my bodily organs? Come on.
The truth is, I got my crunchy a little bit at a time along the way. When I was pregnant with my first child, I planned to breastfeed for about 6 weeks. My reasoning was that I didn’t want it to affect the way my breasts looked. Because my breasts were for my husband, duh! Today, I’m nursing an almost-three-year-old alongside my 3 month-old daughter.Throughout this parenting journey I’ve found myself embracing things which I originally would never have considered. Let my baby sleep in my marital bed? Before kids, my answer would have been a resounding “absolutely not!” Of course now, I’ve admitted to my husband that when my 3 year old finally decides he wants to move out of our room, I may just have to sleep on the floor outside his. And of course, I’m eating my own placenta.
Yes, you’re reading that right. I’m taking placenta pills to regulate my hormones. I even drank a smoothie the day after my home birth with a raw piece thrown in there. But while those parts of placentophagy can be backed up by science, I originally thought the placenta print was just a little more hippie than I needed to be. Ah. I’m still learning. And this is why.
If you’re more of a mainstream type mom than me, that’s totally cool. Far be it for me to tell a person to eat her own placenta if she doesn’t want to. But here’s where I know every mom in the whole world can agree with me.
Those little moments.
You know what I’m talking about. The tiny things about our kids that make them who they are, that define them as babies. My son used to wake up with the hugest smile on his face every morning. Until he was about 18 months old, the moment his eyes cracked open in the early hours, a giant open mouthed smile plastered its way over his face and he would greet the day as the happiest baby on the planet, as if each morning was something new that he’d never experienced before. I spent a hundred mornings laying beside him waiting for him to wake up so that I could see this moment. It only lasted for a few seconds at a time, and I was never smart enough to get it on video. And so now, I spend a couple of minutes every week straining my mind, trying desperately to remember that image of him, tiny, laying in bed with a smile the size of Texas. He’s not a baby anymore, and when I shut my eyes really tight and only see bits and pieces of those things I wish I could remember, my heart shatters a little bit knowing I’ll never get it back. No matter what kind of mom you are, you’ve got a list a mile long of things you wish you could get back.
Which brings me back to the placenta. I’ll admit, even in all my crunchy glory, it took a little bit of a jedi mind trick for me to mentally prepare myself to drink a smoothie that was…of myself. So, I get it. Placentas are weird. But there is so much that’s amazing about them, too. For me though, you can keep your descriptions of hormonal balancing, the anti-hemmoragic properties of placental ingestion, and the numerous benefits from boosting milk production to fighting off postpartum depression. For me, I’m in love with placentas because they were the beginning of what connected me to my babies.
I recently took a picture of my disappearing linea negra. That dark line that leads down from my navel across my belly. I will miss it when it’s gone. It reminds me of when my daughter was floating, careless in my womb. She is so big now at 12 weeks. I don’t know what I’ll do with the picture, besides look at it longingly, hoping to remember those moments that she moved inside me.
And so I’ve found myself changing my mind yet again when I see other women posting gorgeous pictures of placenta prints. A few months ago, I couldn’t have told you what a placenta print was, and when my encapsulation specialist offered one to me, I declined. That old mainstream part of myself thought, “why would I want a painting made with my placenta? No, thank you.”
But here I sit pining away for some kind of tangible reminder of when my little girl (maybe my last baby) was still a part of me. Maybe I would never show my placenta print to anyone else. Maybe I would roll it up and peek at it with nostalgia once a year on her birthday. Maybe I’d hang it above my fireplace and drag every visitor in to exclaim, “Look at this!” But more importantly, I could point to it and say, “This is where I shared blood with you. This is what it looked like when we shared the same body. These little lines carried life from me to you, and from you back into me.” It’s those little moments, right?
So I’ll admit it, I wish I had two prints on my wall. The maternal side, and the fetal side. The me side, and the you side. I wish I could go back and say, “Yes. Send me a snapshot of when my little girl grew inside me. Who knows what amazing things I’ll do with it.”
Did you see the impression left in a clients placenta that showed up in the print? Check it out HERE
Stay tuned to see how other mothers uniquely display theirs…