Women are eating their placentas after childbirth. Besides the obvious “stop the planet, I want off” aspect of this - it is unspeakably revolting to contemplate and the slideshow alone will ruin any attempt to eat your lunch for the next three days - there is an obvious cannibalism/ritualism angle. It is basically treated and approached like a near-human sacrifice: the cooking, preparation, dehydration, and grinding by a specialist (a woman who is, basically, a high priestess of placenta-preparation); the draining (and sometimes drinking) of the blood, and then the consumption of what is, or is perceived, as a living human organ.
This is, naturally, explained as something “natural.” Apparently almost every land mammal eats its placenta after childbirth — but then every land mammal doesn’t have access to our vast Western diet and nutritional supplements. As for “natural,” 8-year-old human boys can be observed “in the wild” to pick their noses and eat what they find, but you don’t see that becoming a movement whipping across the bored, guilty mommies of Gentrified America. Also, it seems odd to consume something that came OUT of your body, in the same way that you wouldn’t, for instance, create dehydrated snot roll-ups or sweat Jell-O.
Anyway, here are the most repulsive clips from New York Magazine’s well-written story. And really, do check out the slideshow. Particularly if you want to become a vegan.
"It was on the large side, with a liverish texture and a bluish tinge; it measured nine inches in diameter and weighed a pound and a half."
"In 1930, the researchers Otto Tinklepaugh and Carl Hartman described a female macaque monkey eating her placenta. “After licking the afterbirth, she begins the grueling task … of consuming this tough fibrous mass,” they wrote. “Holding the organ in her hands, she bites and tears at it with her teeth.”
“Anyone with any great placenta recipes?” posted one mother on urbanbaby.com last August. “I love spices, so nothing too bland.”
After I gave birth, I threw a chunk of placenta in the Vitamix with coconut water and a banana,” she adds.
A few years ago, a group of mothers organized a placenta picnic in Prospect Park where they compared placenta-eating experiences, and considered performing a mass burial of leftover parts they had kept. Loretta Jordan, a Bronx-based doula who organized the picnic, would go on to drink a piece of her daughter’s placenta in a “top-shelf Bloody Mary.”
Hughes describes her husband as an “adventurous eater,” but when they heard that a friend served his wife’s placenta jerky at a party, Doug said he thought it was “a bit much.”