If you’re planning on having a baby before Christmas, be sure to make plans to save your placenta, because you can present your baby with the best first Christmas present ever: a placenta teddy bear. The placenta teddy bear is one of the most frightening Christmas gift ideas for a baby I could imagine, but it does exist in all of its leathery glory. I guess it’s just a mom’s way of reminding her offspring that they will always be a part of her (by presenting them with another part of her). At least I guess it’s better than eating placenta, although with eating placenta, at least you don’t have to look at it for years to come.
London-based designer Alex Green came up with this idea that will probably make a few parents green, but you know there are those out there happily embracing their placenta teddy bear. Apparently, Green believes that the placenta deserves symbolic treatment, citing cultures that believe eating the placenta gives one strength. (Apparently this is catching on in the U.S., too, as I was recently thoroughly disgusted by reading about women who had their placentas turned into pills for them to ingest).
The placenta teddy bear has a leathery, stitched-together appearance (it reminds me a little of something out of a Tim Burton movie), and it’s filled with rice. Of course it’s not meant to be cuddled or played with, but rather a keepsake and a reminder to mother and child of the joys of giving birth (as well as all of the nastiness that comes along with it). But if the surprisingly-soft and bendy placenta teddy bear isn’t your idea of a good first Christmas gift idea for your new baby, you could always do what other women do with it: bury it and plant a tree over it. (This is not a good idea for dog owners.)
As far as eating the placenta goes, many women are becoming convinced that freeze-drying it and ingesting the placenta in pill form restores hormone balance after pregnancy (although there is no scientific evidence to prove this, there are still people making money off of feeding mothers’ placentas to them in pill form). My thoughts on the matter are that your body gets rid of this icky organ during childbirth for a reason, and we should just leave it alone. Yes it’s true that some mammals do eat the placenta after childbirth, but, as far as I can tell, this could be because animals don’t want to let the nutrients in the placenta go to waste, and/or because it contains a molecule that naturally reduces pain after delivery (it has also been suggested that some mammals practice placenta eating so that predators won’t smell it and investigate). Perhaps it is this purported ability to reduce pain that has some human mothers believing that placenta eating reduces postpartum depression. Whatever the reason, the human placenta definitely does not look appetizing, and I think I’d cuddle a placenta teddy bear to cheer myself up after childbirth rather than attempt to eat it in any form.
Still, I don’t think the placenta teddy bear is the best first Christmas gift idea for baby, as it could lead to appendix action figures; human hair sweaters; and tonsil hacky sacks. I’m all for recycling, but, I’m sorry, once something is out of your body, it should stay as far away from your body as possible.