y husband and I followed the birth plan template from “Peaceful Beginnings Center” to the letter.
Nowhere in those two typed pages did it mention anything about placenta disposal, so how did we end up bringing it home with us? I don’t know, but what I do know is that I’ve had a placenta in my freezer for three years and I’m starting to resent it.
As best I remember, Azalea Jane had just latched on to nurse for the first time when the doula and midwife started yammering on and on about how the placenta had, “nourished your baby all these months.” They made it seem like throwing it in the garbage would make us seem ungrateful or give us bad karma. Plus, there was all this stuff in the news about stem cell therapies at the time. Turns out those are in the umbilical cord. God only knows where that ended up.
This placenta situation just keeps getting more out of hand. My husband and I hosted both our families last Thanksgiving. Drue, my younger brother, sent all these group emails asking if the turkey was going to be stored next to my “afterbirth.” He was being such a dick that we bought a second freezer for the basement just to avoid any more hassle.
So now we have a whole large appliance with a significant carbon footprint devoted to a 1½ pound shrink-wrapped wad of flesh. And you know what really pisses me off? I’m a vegetarian, but I didn’t pitch a fit about Drue’s goddamned bird carcass in my fridge.
I might have gotten rid of it during Azalea’s first few months if it hadn’t been for my mother-in-law. She’s a pediatrician, a fact she drops into every single conversation as she questions my parenting decisions: the birthing center, co-sleeping, breastfeeding on demand, cloth diapers, you name it.
For some reason I decided to take my stand with her on the placenta of all things. Now, every time I go downstairs to get blueberries for my smoothie, I see it back there next to our wedding cake topper and I begrudge her for it. It might not make sense, but it sure feels right.
I mean, I don’t think I’m keeping it just to spite her. I do feel a weird sentimental attachment to it. It’s like an ugly family heirloom at this point. But last summer the power went out for a few hours and I found myself hoping I would have to toss it out. I knew then that I had to do something, so I looked online for help.
The bitchy trolls on mommy sites were no help. One innocent question and I got:
“You’re disgusting! I hope someone calls CPS.”
“You endangered your child by not giving birth in a real hospital. I hope someone calls CPS.”
“I can’t believe a mother would be so shallow and selfish. Why didn’t you eat it right away and pass along those wonderful nutrients to your baby?”
Well, it’s totally freezer burned now so I won’t need those recipes, GaiaMother1978, but thanks anyway. I hope someone calls CPS on her.
I like the idea of burying it next to a tree. That way it can nourish something else and go back to the Earth. But since we can’t even keep the racoons and possums out of the compost bin, that’s not happening. And the last thing we need is our pit-bull mix Daisy getting a taste for human flesh.
I’m due with our second this spring. If I don’t get rid of this placenta before then, I’ll guilt myself into keeping the second one so that I don’t feel like I’m playing favorites. Christ, it’s going to end up looking like Jeffrey Dahmer’s place down there.
I have to get this placenta out of my house before the next one shows up. That has to be my absolute deadline.
I guess I’ll just put it in the garbage bin, still frozen, right before garbage pick-up next Wednesday morning. I should probably at least take a picture of it first, right?