Two years ago, I fought a nasty battle with postpartum depression. I lost myself completely, missed out on major milestones of my son’s life and nearly took my own. When the fog of postpartum depression finally lifted, I swore I would never put my family or myself through that hell again, yet a year later, I found myself pregnant with my second child.
I was terrified that postpartum depression would once again take over my life and this time, I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to stop myself from doing the unthinkable. At my first prenatal appointment, I started the open dialogue with my new doctor. I told her my story and that in addition to having a healthy pregnancy; I was willing to try all options for a healthy fourth trimester, too.
My doctor and I spent most of my pregnancy building a plan — what I was willing to try and determining at what point I was comfortable with going on anti-depressants. One of the options my doctor suggested was to encapsulate my placenta following the birth of my daughter. She explained that during pregnancy your hormones change and after birth, your body has to re-regulate itself to its pre-baby hormone levels. For some new mothers, that period can be brutal and in my case, led to postpartum depression. The placenta contains your body’s natural hormones, as well as iron, that can help a new mom re-regulate without the dark cloud of depression looming over them, as well as other benefits such as increased milk production and decreased bleeding.
When my daughter was born, I delivered my placenta as normal and my doctor placed it in the container and cooler we had brought with us to the hospital. Once we got settled into our room, my husband drove the cooler home and placed the container in our fridge. The next day, Postpartum Peace came to our house, where my mom was staying with my son, and completed the encapsulation process in our kitchen.
Since I was still in the hospital, I missed out on getting to watch her work, but my mom was there to oversee the entire process. When I got home, my placenta pills, along with Mother’s Broth and a keepsake umbilical cord were waiting for me on the counter with detailed instructions.
Now I know all of this sounds crazy. The fact that my husband drove home with my placenta in a cooler that was then prepared in my own kitchen while my toddler ran around clueless to what was happening and that each day I ingest my own placenta through a pill form. I get it. When broken down, it is crazy. But if it meant being mentally healthy to care of my two children, ages 2 and under, than I was willing to do it and thankfully, my family was more than supportive.
It’s been almost two months since my daughter was born and each morning after breakfast, I still take a placenta pill. I may never know 100 percent if encapsulating my placenta was the cure for my postpartum depression, but I know this: I feel like myself. I can get out of bed in the morning, despite only getting 4 hours of sleep, and not waste away on the couch day in and day out, scared to leave my own home. My emotions are level and I experience them all from happiness to sadness. I don’t feel overwhelmed by the simplest of tasks and I look forward to interacting with the world. My body doesn’t hurt because it’s not crippled with anxiety and dark thoughts.
I feel normal, while still dealing with the sleep deprivation and leaky boobs that follow the birth of a baby. Encapsulating my placenta is easily the craziest thing I have ever done, but it was worth it because it might have just saved my life.