Monday, September 10, 2012

Let's Talk About Those Placenta Pills

When I initially wrote my first post about my PPD, I tried my best to accurately describe what I was feeling 5 and 7 years ago after giving birth to my first two.  But living in the thick of the newborn stage the last two weeks, and having my experience this time around be so startlingly different than the previous 2 times, I've been able to pinpoint just exactly what PPD felt like for me several years ago.

Simply put, I felt like an entirely different person, a stranger living in my body, looking in on my life.  I know that seems and sounds so out there and ridiculous, and perhaps unless you've experienced depression on some level, you can't fathom what that means.  But I literally felt like I was living another person's life, which is why it was so hard for me to bond with my newborns at first.  They were in a nutshell, little strangers.  I knew I loved my babies because they were born from me, but I felt no real connection for the first couple of months, other than what I knew I was supposed to feel.  There was no instant falling in love, no baby moon that I witnessed others experience and talk about.  They were my babies and I would love and protect them and care for them because I was supposed to, but it took me months to actually feel that (and have no doubt, I did eventually feel that way, it just took a little while), more than just believe it as a rote response to nature calling.

And the only reason I can differentiate the two feelings, is because this time around, I feel that love with every bone of my body, down to my core.  And it's beautiful and refreshing and awe-inspiring, and it also sucks because I feel on some level, a form of guilt for my other two, because I wasn't able to experience those feelings and that connection immediately with them.  My greatest fear is that one day my 2 older kids would read this and believe that I didn't love them at first, and that couldn't be further from the truth.  Rather, I did not bond with them at first, and that's an entirely different thing. Perhaps I will eventually pull this post to prevent those questions from even coming up, but for now I think it's vital to note the differences between the different postpartum periods. 

The good news is that I feel blessed to finally feel that intense love that I've always heard about, and I know that I am capable of feeling that love, which will serve as a reminder to me if the PPD does sneak up on me in the next few weeks.  But for now I'm hoping that this feeling doesn't leave me.  It's not so much a feeling of elation or even happiness, but just contentment, which might be even better than happiness.  I feel at ease, relaxed, and in love.  I guess maybe it is happiness.

So let's talk about those placenta pills, and how much of this contentment has to actually do with them.  First off, I want to set the record straight and, think it's worth mentioning, that I am not "eating" my placenta, I am "ingesting" it.  There is a difference.  Eating implies chewing, which I am doing none of.  Rather, the placenta was taken by a certified and trained doula and dehydrated, then ground into a fine powder and encapsulated into a pill format.  I take 2 pills a day, just as you would a vitamin, and the pills are odorless and don't really taste like anything.  I haven't felt any "side effects".  The doula delivered 250+ pills to me, so they should last me for a few months, but she suggested I save about 40-50 for when my period returns and/or I stop nursing.

I've had a few people, including friends, mention how gross they think it is that I'm doing this.  And while I can certainly understand people getting a little freaked out by the thought of it, let me also put something out there.  With both previous bouts of PPD, I took Zoloft, a pill baked up in a lab consisting of who knows what type of chemicals, additives, and overall unknown ingredients.  Now this is not a statement against anti-depressants, and both times these pills helped me.  But when you really think about it, what's more bizarre and gross, taking a pill that you have no idea what it is really made out of, and where the ingredients came from, or taking a pill that is a completely natural byproduct of YOU?

The other thing I would say to those that think it's "gross", is that they must not have dealt with  Postpartum Depression, because if they had, they would be willing to try anything if they thought it would help, and/or prevent it from happening again.

So are the placenta pills really helping me this time around?  Well, I don't really know, and quite honestly I don't care.  I don't want the pills to work so that I can prove a point.  I want them to work because I want to feel good, and continue to bond with my baby, and experience happiness and peace during this time.

Beyond the placenta pills, I've been more devoted to taking care of myself and being mindful of what I need to stay content and rested.  I truly believe that chemically, PPD is out of a woman's control, but I do believe that we can do things to ourselves and put ourselves in situations that will add more stress to our lives and make our lives more taxing, which can prove to intensify the feelings of PPD.  It's pretty common knowledge that everything seems more insurmountable and bleak when exhausted, so I've been taking extra care to give myself rest.  Saying no to visitors if I'm tired, asking for help from family, taking a nap when I feel tired, not waiting for my next chance but taking it when I can get it.  We also introduced a bottle much sooner than we ever have with our other babies, and Hayden has been doing great with 1 feeding a day off the bottle and continues to breastfeed just fine.  Art has now taken the midnight feeding so I can get a good 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

So overall, I guess I feel pretty fantastic all things considered (lack of sleep, recovering body, sore nursing boobs and all).  I pray that I continue to feel this way, but if the other shoe drops and I start to feel the symptoms again, I know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, that I will get through it and so will the kids and my husband.  It just feels so good to be like this today though, and that's what I try to focus on.  One day at a time.  I'm sure it also helps that so far, Hayden is a pretty spectacularly easy baby.  I've never had one of those, so again, I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop and don't want to get too excited since he is only 2 weeks.  But I've heard that easy babies do exist, and so maybe I got my baby unicorn this time ;)

Thank you all for your love and support and kind words.  If you have it in your heart, please continue to lift me up in prayer if you think about it, and pray that I continue to feel this good.  Because at this point, I don't ever want this feeling to go away.  It's pretty crazy, but finally, after all these years, I understand why people love newborn babies.  It does feel pretty fantastic to hold a sleeping baby on your chest and smell their heads while doing so.  Nothing really can compare, can it?

Thanks guys...I'll continue to keep you updated.        


  1. can't tell you how much I love this. I've been in the throws of PPD (although I didn't know it at the time) and truly felt that out of body experience. I felt CRAZY. It would come and go but I was pretty much on auto-pilot. I also didn't feel that instant rush of love upon birth and was just kind of 'meh' about it all. I loved her fiercely but it wasn't what I'd heard about or imagined.
    Looking back I see the difference in how much more quickly I bonded with this baby than I did with my daughter. I say kudos to you for taking all the necessary steps you need to ensure that you don't end up in the dark place again. It's hard enough to deal with all the postpartum emotions while trying to do it all so good for you for taking control!
    keeping you in my thoughts and prayers!

  2. my heart is so happy for you and that sweet baby!! i am so glad you are having a more positive and wonderful experience this time. i don't blame you for doing absolutely anything to help your body handle all the adjustments and prevent PPD... i hope you continue to have only amazing days with your family!

  3. Love, love, love this post. I can totally relate to your different experiences. I believe i was struggling with ppd... I never diagnosed because i wouldn't talk about it and hid it from every one... Only my husband knew. (i guess that's my M.O. When I feel like crap or get depressed, i go into hiding)... But I too feel totally different this time around! I finally understand what everyone is talking about! You put perfectly into words what I am feeling! God is so good! He hears our payers!

  4. Love, love, love this post. I can totally relate to your different experiences. I believe i was struggling with ppd... I never diagnosed because i wouldn't talk about it and hid it from every one... Only my husband knew. (i guess that's my M.O. When I feel like crap or get depressed, i go into hiding)... But I too feel totally different this time around! I finally understand what everyone is talking about! You put perfectly into words what I am feeling! God is so good! He hears our payers!

  5. So glad you shared. And so so happy you are having a better experience this time around.
    As someone who had ppd the secOnd time but not the first, you hit the description on the head-including the feelings of guilt .

  6. I'm so glad that you are getting to feel the joy this time around. I know exactly what you mean with feeling a little bit guilty about the PPD with your first two. I had it with my first and started taking anti-depressants immediately (I never even HEARD about placenta encapsulation) after the birth of my second. The difference was absolutely AMAZING and I feel so blessed to have gotten to enjoy those newborn moments. It's hard to look back and see the difference at times, but I think we just have to remember we didn't love them any less, but loved them differently - for teaching us so much about ourselves. I'm praying for you that your happiness continues.

  7. Hi Andrea,
    I am so glad you are feeling great. It makes me happy to read this post.

  8. I so admire your courage and honesty! I know it's hard to hear criticism about choices you make. I think people criticize and question what they do not understand. Sadly, it can make a person feel badly. I don't think people mean to do this but...they do. Depression is extremely misunderstood. Someone I love dearly has been through it. It's so easy for people to say "get over it"..."move on". It's really insensitive to say or think that way. Would you tell someone that has lost a leg or any other medical issue to get over it? It's a medical condition just like any other...and it's real. I'm SO HAPPY that you are feeling well and that what you chose to do is working for YOU. That's all that matters. Great post Andrea! You have a beautiful family.

  9. Yeah! Go gurrrrl!! So happy and excited for you that things are going so well!! Baby H is delightful and I love seeing all the pics! Praying the other shoe never drops and you continue in your mommy bliss!

  10. I had a BAD case of PPD 23 years ago after giving birth to my only child (coincidence... maybe)I am so thrilled that this issue is discussed openly now and that there are both natural and chemical wasy of managing this terrible intrusion of what should be a purely joyful time for a mom. I love your attitude and how your taking your health into your own hands with something that works for you- BRAVO!!


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