Thursday, November 12, 2009

Placentas and more

For those of you who find the subject of today's post a bit repulsive, read no further and come back and join us tomorrow! For those with strong wills and strong stomachs, here we go...

A new book called Flow: The Cultural Story of Menstruation has just been published. Here the authors list the most outrageous facts they uncovered, including #4. Vicarious menstruation from the breasts, nose, eyes, or ears, and #7. Menstrual extraction, in which women used pumps to suction out their periods.

A woman has come forward with her story of her vagina falling out to bring awareness to the problem of pelvic prolapse, in which the ligaments holding the uterus in place detach, causing it and the vagina (and sometimes the bladder and colon) to collapse.

Another woman designed a knitted childbirth doll to explain the process to her small children, who would be watching when she gave birth at home. She makes customized dolls for other mothers and also sells the pattern.

A Kentucky woman with Osteogenesis Imperfecta is pregnant with her 3rd child. The "world's smallest mother" has defied doctors' advice twice before to give birth to children half her height of 2' 4".

There is a slightly more civilized alternative to eating the placenta, which some human parents are compelled to do after birth: it is cleaned, steamed, dehydrated, ground, and encapsulated to allow ingestion in pill form.

And for those who want a lasting afterbirth artifact, two options are offered (pictured above). There are kits and do-it-yourself instructions to create a placenta print to grace the wall of the nursery. Or alternatively, designer Alex Green offers a kit with instructions on preparing a teddy bear from the salt-cured and emulsified placenta. Meant to remain in a jar rather than being cuddled, the "Twin Teddy" celebrates the unity of mother, infant, and placenta.

You may be happy to know that I was unable to find any weird news about menopause!

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