"So I just...pull some out of this tank and put them in with the turtles? How many?" I ask, holding the blue net just above the water.
"As many as you can catch. Just not all of them," my client says.
Hello, I'm a professional postpartum doula, and I feed guppies to turtles. It's not uncommon for clients to make a list of things for me to do while I'm in their home. Small jobs that tend to pile up that aren't easily done or remembered when one is cuddling a newborn all day (and night) long. Usually it's something benign, like catching up on laundry, feeding a hungry toddler (or mama!), and doing some light cleaning. That day, it was sacrificing a few dozen prolifically breeding guppies to some hungry turtles. Normally I'm a bit squeamish when it comes to anything fish-related, and I'm also a bit of an animal-lover, so this was an unorthodox request I might normally balk at. But it ended up not being too hard to honor it for my client, and kind of fun to show her toddler how the turtles snapped up the tiny darting fish. In the end, I chose to support my client by helping her get something off her long to-do list while she healed and bonded with her baby.
So, what else might* your postpartum doula do for you? Check out the list below:
Are you pregnant, and wondering what to do with your placenta when all is said and done? Maybe you have one tucked away in your freezer, newly discovered after a recent spring clean of the freezer-burned leftovers (not judging, I may have done this...). Either way, here you are, searching the internet for answers.
Placenta encapsulation, placenta smoothies, placenta tacos...the internet is rife with information on how to make your next postpartum meal gourmet - with your placenta.
Now, don't get me wrong, I'm all about using that incredible tree of life organ to relieve or prevent postpartum hemorrhage, postpartum depression, increase milk supply, and any number of the purported uses claimed by ingesting your placenta postpartum. Personally, I've used a tincture, I've eaten placenta "truffles" (because, chocolate, hello), taken placenta capsules, even blended it raw into a smoothie. But not everyone wants to eat something that just came out of their body.
So, here are five things you can do with that awesome organ, that aren't eating it.
1. Bury it in the yard - "Planting" your Placenta
Dig a hole and place your placenta inside. Easy as burying a body. Er...It's really more beautiful than it sounds. I've seen pictures of people making special ceremonies about it - read a poem, wrap the placenta in a (bio-degradable) package or basket, make it part of your postpartum recovery. Bonus points if you ask your mother-in-law to do it (just kidding) or your postpartum doula (not kidding - they probably would!).
You could include some flower bulbs or plant a tree that will bloom over the top of it and grow with your baby!
There are actually a lot of cultures that do this, believing the placenta is the "twin" of their baby, deserving of a proper and respectful burial.
2. Make a placenta print
Not sure where you would hang this one, but it's a great conversation starter, at least.
Quips aside, I think these really are a beautiful way to preserve your placenta. Different kinds of paint/food color can be used so you can still ingest it (if you want). I love how easy it is to see the "tree of life" the placenta represents for your baby when it's printed like this.
One thing to be wary of: the print needs to be done when the placenta is still relatively fresh, so it's not possible after freezing or after lotus birth (see below).
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Heartburn and sciatic nerve pain (sharp pain down your back/leg on the right side of your body) are pretty commonplace among pregnant women. I experienced both in most of my four pregnancies, and the "magic milk" recipe below relieved both and kept me going, along with regular chiropractic adjustments.
It's not the tastiest, but if you can chug it down you'll find your heartburn, along with sciatic nerve pain, pubic pain, and other pregnancy-associated aches will probably fade as well. I've successfully used it to relieve my own heartburn and sciatic nerve pain. Take the following recipe as a "might as well try it" home remedy, because it can't harm you (unless you're allergic to one of them), being entirely composed of food items. Here are the three simple ingredients:
1. Almond Milk (I like this brand)
This alone can sometimes be enough to beat heartburn, especially the unsweetened version. You can find it at the store or make it yourself in the blender with blanched almonds. If you're using it in this recipe, be prepared to use the pre-sweetened version from the store or sweeten it yourself with real Maple Syrup or raw Honey (optional...but recommended).