I’ve always been a practical person, guided by logic. It’s hard for me to believe in things that I can’t see or feel for myself. I follow science, doctors, experts, those with advanced degrees. As a child and through college and graduate school, math was my best subject. One clear answer. Black and white. Right and wrong. True and false.
A lot of that shifted when I became a mother. For the first time in my life, I didn’t follow all the rules or live life on a strict schedule. My babies sleep in bed with me, eating and sleeping when they choose. I allowed myself to be guided not only by “shoulds” but also by feelings and instincts.
I also had a very difficult time producing breastmilk, no matter what I tried. And my postpartum anxiety was a serious struggle. When my first baby was born in 2013, I powered through as best I could, accepting help from my village along the way. When I was pregnant with my second baby in 2015, someone recommended I look into placenta encapsulation.
My automatic reaction was to laugh. Like Kourtney Kardashian? And hippies? No thanks, I’m good. Eventually, my curiosity got the better of me, and I Googled it. No scientific studies have been done to prove effectiveness. That’s a hard pill for someone like me to swallow (pun intended). I asked my ob-gyn about it.
She said, “There’s no real evidence one way or another, but a lot of my patients have been really happy they did it.”
“Any risks or danger to me or the baby if I do it?”
“Nope. It’ll help, or it won’t. As long as it’s done hygienically.”
Hmm. Back to Google to read about personal stories. Tons of people were reporting how much it helped them with breastmilk production and PPD/PPA. In the end, what did I have to lose? I guess nothing: “It’ll help or it won’t.”
So I did it. And I’m so glad I did.
My second baby was born on Christmas Eve, so the encapsulation process was delayed a few days, and then getting the pills to me was delayed another few days (doulas have lives and families too). When I came home from the hospital, I was in a DARK place. Much darker than I had been with my first baby. Not only was I struggling with severe PPA, but my breastmilk once again wasn’t coming in fully. Twenty-four hours after starting the placenta pills, I began to see the light. It was like magic. And I could feel my milk coming in.
If you’re like me, I know what you’re thinking: placebo. And as we know, there is no way to guarantee that this wasn’t the case. But I can promise you that it felt very real to me (also, breastmilk ounces don’t lie, and I had very low expectations of these pills making a difference).
In the coming days and weeks, my energy was back. There were times when I would even say I felt happy and joyful. I couldn’t believe it. And, of course, when my third baby was born in 2021, I did it again. And again – magic.