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David Hines [userpic]


March 23rd, 2010 (11:21 pm)

Let me tell you about my evening, by which I mean, "let me cut-and-paste-and-edit some of my Tweets." This happened tonight while the GF and I were watching TV.

On Discovery Health, a married couple take something frozen in a baggie out of the freezer. It is a placenta. They're defrosting it.

A few minutes go by. They talk about family stuff, parenting styles, etc. ME. "WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING DEFROSTING A PLACENTA."

The mystery is revealed: they are going to use it to nourish a tree. They see this as an educational/spiritual thing for their kids. WHUT.

The girl whose placenta it was enters the kitchen as her dad is decanting the placenta from the baggie to a bowl. She looks about 10.

Repeat: *she looks about ten.* They have HAD HER PLACENTA IN THE FREEZER FOR TEN YEARS.

HIPPIE DAD. *enthusiastic* "This was your placenta! When you were born I cut this cord!" HIS DAUGHTER. "That's *disgusting.*" Tell 'im, hon.

They are determined to make this a Meaningful Thing for their children. Their children would rather be anywhere else on the planet.

I feel worst for the girl whose placenta it was. Her wee face! Never have I seen such mingling of terror, embarrassment, and DO NOT WANT.

The worst part was during the decanting. I am sorry I could not screencap the TV, but picture a lovely shot of the hippie dad decanting a freshly defrosted, blood-dripping placenta, and imagine it filmed in such a manner that his arm and the placenta frame the horrified, mortified face of a young girl who is experiencing precisely two thoughts: "OMG I AM GOING TO THROW UP" and "DAAAAAAAAAAD!"

I mean, you watch this knowing that the producers persuaded them to do weird hippie stuff for the camera, but if somebody asked me to do weird hippie stuff, my answer would not be, "Sure! I have my daughter's placenta right here in the freezer!" GOOD GOD, people.

Originally posted on my DW. | comment count unavailable people have commented there. | Do so yourself, if you like.


Posted by: Sara LaKali (sara_lakali)
Posted at: March 24th, 2010 04:04 am (UTC)

WTF indeed. Any fool knows you bury the placenta at the base of a tree as part of the baby's naming ceremony. Duh.

Posted by: Dessie Octavia (dessieoctavia)
Posted at: March 24th, 2010 04:04 am (UTC)

In the South, it used to be a tradition for the father to bury the placenta under a dogwood tree. It was supposed to bring the baby good luck. It had the advantage of the baby being too small to know what was going on.

Posted by: st_aurafina (st_aurafina)
Posted at: March 24th, 2010 04:13 am (UTC)

I saw a documentary where they made the placenta into pate, and served it at the baby's naming ceremony. On little crackers.

Posted by: Sage Autumn (sageautumn)
Posted at: March 24th, 2010 04:48 am (UTC)

Yes, I saw this too!

And.. I admit... I thought it was kinda like cannabalism, so maybe if I ever had a kid, I could do that and find out what people taste like. Which sounded like a--another good reason to not have a kid, and b--like a thought like that is (albeit small) a part of why I shouldn't!

Posted by: st_aurafina (st_aurafina)
Posted at: March 24th, 2010 05:02 am (UTC)

It's totally cannibalism!

I ever had a kid, I could do that and find out what people taste like

I mean, what you taste people - and they're really, really tasty? What if you don't want to stop tasting people? It's a worry.

Posted by: Sage Autumn (sageautumn)
Posted at: March 24th, 2010 12:28 pm (UTC)

They'd have to be pretty darned tasty to make up for the ick factor... I can't think of a single food that upon tasting I couldn't replace with something else. Even my favorite meat, so long as I didn't rule out ALL meat of that type, I'd probably find a replacement.

That said... ...I guess I'd just have to keep getting knocked up. Or... make a deal with a local hospital. Or sneak in and steal people's. Or make a million dollars so I could buy unwanted ones at will.

However, that makes me begin to ponder... ...is it MORE disgusting to eat your own placenta, or to eat someone else's? Cause to me, they are both really really cringe-worthy, in totally different ways.

Posted by: tried to eat the safe banana (thefourthvine)
Posted at: March 24th, 2010 06:19 am (UTC)

The sad part is that I consider that really no big deal (except for the part where they decided to do the Your Placenta: In the Ground reveal on TV when the girl was ten, because, wow, that's over the privacy line, there). When I was pregnant, people told me to save the placenta for two reasons:

1. Eating it would prevent me from developing post-partum depression, and
2. "It's the only meat vegetarians can eat!" (I'm a vegetarian.)

None of this was a surprise to me, though, because placenta eating is everywhere. One of the couples I know that did a home birth, when the midwives left, they put the placenta in the freezer "for later" and shaped the umbilical cord into a heart. And on one of the pregnancy and childrearing blogs I read, the blogger posted a picspam of her placenta dining experience.

So I totally expected your story to be about how they cooked it and served it. (Except I've heard, for best effect, you're supposed to eat it raw. I assume, because I am me, that the "best effect" in this instance is "greatest likelihood of projectile vomiting.")

P.S. I did not save my son's placenta. And I certainly did not eat it.

Posted by: Sage Autumn (sageautumn)
Posted at: March 24th, 2010 12:33 pm (UTC)

I wonder if it's supposed to help with post-partum depression as a hormonal thing (which I would guess is the deal) or as a "if you're strong willed enough to eat this, you can lock that PPD stuff away and deal with it in bits as needed" (because, damn... that'd be a willful woman to up and decided to do that, and be open about it).

I also just realized--upon hearing it should be eaten raw--I don't want to eat ANYthing that's been in the freezer for TEN years. Much less something that's meat. Much less something that's meat and RAW. Ewwwwww.

I wonder if they had to thaw it out and re-freeze it before taping because of freezer burn. Ewwww.

Posted by: vito excalibur (vito_excalibur)
Posted at: March 24th, 2010 02:42 pm (UTC)

You left out the major reason people told you to save the placenta, which is that apparently people have a huge, uncontrollable compulsion to tell pregnant women what to do, and specifically that they must do annoying, implausible, way-too-personal, crazy-ass shit.

I'm still not over my coworker whose mom told her that she had to start scrubbing her nipples with a toothbrush now.

Posted by: HJ (hjcallipygian)
Posted at: March 24th, 2010 04:08 pm (UTC)

Someone must've been high.

"Dude, I totally dare you to tell your pregnant daughter to scrub her nipples with a toothbrush! She's totally baked on crazy hormones now, dude, she'll totally believe you! You could totally make her do it, that would be hilarious!" [cue twenty minutes of giggling]

Posted by: tried to eat the safe banana (thefourthvine)
Posted at: March 24th, 2010 05:15 pm (UTC)

apparently people have a huge, uncontrollable compulsion to tell pregnant women what to do

Oh holy god YES. I was lucky in that I didn't look very pregnant until fairly late in the pregnancy, but even so, I got a LOT of obnoxious advice. (At least I did not have a miserable pregnancy. Pregnant women who are suffering a lot not only have to, you know, vomit uncontrollably 24/7 and be in constant pain and so on - they also have to hear people tell them they should be enjoying the experience and to smile more (for the good of the baby!) and just generally suggest that they are bad, bad people for daring to suggest that pregnancy is uncomfortable.)

I'm still not over my coworker whose mom told her that she had to start scrubbing her nipples with a toothbrush now.

My mom said that, too! Even though she breastfed and I bet you money she didn't go after her nipples with a toothbrush. (True and amusing fact: in breastfeeding class, one of the first things the instructor said* was, "And, no, you can't prepare your nipples for breastfeeding in advance - don't rub them with a toothbrush or lie out in the sun topless and think it will help you breastfeed." Apparently this is common advice.)

* The first thing the instructor did was show us a movie of dudes playing basketball and talking about breastfeeding. 'Cause, see, one of the dudes was about to become a father, and the others already were and were explaining to him that breastfeeding is, like, AWESOME, because: bigger boobs! And stuff. At the time, I was irritated, but looking back, I am profoundly amused, because - sure, guys, she'll have bigger boobs, but you absolutely will not be allowed to touch them.

Posted by: vito excalibur (vito_excalibur)
Posted at: March 24th, 2010 05:35 pm (UTC)

Because if I had questions about breastfeeding, I would immediately seek out a bunch of guys playing basketball to ask for information.

I get wanting to be inclusive, I do, but it seems to me that breastfeeding really is one of those things where it's okay to be girly.

Posted by: Mara (marag)
Posted at: March 24th, 2010 11:48 am (UTC)

I have a deep freezer full of breast milk. But placenta??? Hell, when Yael was born, the placenta went to the pathologists because they weren't sure if something was wrong with me.

I do not consider the placenta something to eat, bury in my backyard, or store next to the frozen peaches.

Posted by: Mouseketeer Stigmata (trom)
Posted at: March 24th, 2010 12:57 pm (UTC)

I have a placenta in my freezer. As soon as it's warm enough to plant trees, that's where it's going...

Posted by: David Hines (hradzka)
Posted at: March 24th, 2010 04:02 pm (UTC)

I almost wonder if that's what the couple on TV kept saying for ten years. ("Crap! We forgot again!" "Oh, well, next year...")

That's why I'll never put a placenta in my freezer: because I would wind up doing that. Well, no, there are *lots* of reasons I will never put a placenta in my freezer, but that is one of them.

Posted by: Ellen (keyne)
Posted at: March 24th, 2010 11:08 pm (UTC)

That's, um, kinda what we did. Round about year two or three, we tossed it. (sigh)

Posted by: Richard D. Fox (rdfox)
Posted at: March 24th, 2010 03:26 pm (UTC)

Thankfully, my odds of ever having a child are almost nil (I'm male, I choose to use protection because I know I'd be a horrible father, and it's been a ten-year-long dry spell *anyway*), but if anyone asked me what to do with a placenta, I'd tell them *exactly* where it goes.

In the large red garbage container lettered "BIOHAZARD" there in the delivery room, for proper disposal (i.e., incineration).

Yes, many species of mammals eat the placenta after giving birth, but that's to recover the remaining nutrients and protein in it after the very physically demanding birthing process; humans have doctors pumping them full of vitamins and nutrients, so it's unnecessary.

Posted by: greyandgold (greyandgold)
Posted at: March 24th, 2010 06:37 pm (UTC)

I have not given birth to any kids at the moment however, I did get advice for the future from my comic book store owner ('cause apparently I need placenta info with my pull list) - in his wisdom says they should be all cryrogenically frozen in case the cells are needed for medical stuff later.

They even have it in a prenup as to who gets custody of the cells if they break up :P


Posted by: Sara LaKali (sara_lakali)
Posted at: March 24th, 2010 07:13 pm (UTC)

Hey, on the bright side, maybe this experience will inspire the daughter to be extra-vigilant about her birth control when she gets older. I know the experience of seeing photos of my cousin's birth certainly inspired me to NEVER, EVER want to get pregnant. EVER.

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