My name is Devon Manning and I am a pretty regular mum of a two year old boy. Except, I ate my placenta after the birth of my son and then went on to start my own business.
I am now the owner of Precious Placentas – a placenta encapsulation company operating in Northern Ireland.
Why on earth did I do this I guess you’re wondering? Well, simply put, I wanted to be the best version of myself as possible for my son. I wanted to be the best mum he could dream of having. Unfortunately, as life goes, it wasn’t just as simple as that…I mean, why couldn’t I just be the best version of myself without having to eat my afterbirth?
In 2015 I went through an extremely difficult time in my life. At the time I was living in London, I was extremely isolated and lonely. I had become this horrible bag of anxiety and depression. I was on all sort of medication to try to help but none of it worked. My husband worked long hours, I often didn’t see him for long stretches at a time, I had no friends or family to call in with, even just for a cup of tea. I found it extremely difficult to make friends as an adult in London, where everyone is super suspicious, closed & cold in comparison to what I was used to in super friendly Northern Ireland. At the time I was really struggling with health issues, I struggled to keep a job due to suspected endometriosis and fibromyalgia that was undiagnosed at the time. I still was dealing with PTSD from my childhood and my dad passing away at age 14. I then had a huge fight with my group of friends from back home in Lisburn. I felt like I had nobody to talk to or turn to. I was a prisoner trapped inside my own mind and body that was failing me on a daily basis. I was at the lowest point of my life. As a result, in December I tried to take my own life one night when I was drinking.
Thankfully this failed. I am so unbelievably thankful that this failed and that my husband found me. He took me to the GP and made me tell them what happened. The GP referred me to the local psychiatric unit where I was then diagnosed with a mental health condition. In that moment I felt relief that I was finally diagnosed, I always knew I did have something, but having that diagnosis just confirmed everything I was already thinking. I also felt apprehensive, I knew this was going to be a long process for me to bounce back from and ultimately a lot of things in our lives were going to have to change in order for me to help myself. I was put onto medication, it took me a while to find out what was going to work for me but finally together with the help of the mental health team, I found what I needed to help me out.
In February of 2016 I fell pregnant. I felt so happy to be pregnant but so scared at the same time. I had read about postnatal depression, I was so afraid of developing it and returning back to that dark place, the darkest pit id ever been in, again.
Thankfully, we were able to move from London. We moved to my husband’s home town in England and I transferred to my midwifery care to the local hospital. A weight had been lifted just getting away from London. Being around my husband’s family and friends really helped me to feel normal again, like I had before I had moved away. But in the back of my mind still lingered this worry about postnatal depression.
I had watched a documentary about it, where the lady had her baby, developed postnatal depression that actually developed into psychosis – something I had already experienced with my condition. I knew what I was like when I was depressed, anxious and had episodes of psychosis – I absolutely, categorically, did not want to return to that again. Especially not with a baby alongside it. The perinatal mental health team told me I had a 70% chance of developing postnatal depression - I didn’t want this for me and my family, I didn’t want my sons first few months of life to be spoiled or robbed off me by this cruel illness. I researched, I spent hours on the internet looking at remedies, supplements, holistic and alternative therapies to try to help or prevent postnatal depression. I would’ve done anything, taken anything, spent anything to avoid PND. This when I came across placenta encapsulation.
Placenta encapsulation is the process of turning your placenta into capsules to take in the following weeks post birth. I thought at the time “I could do this myself”. I am so glad I didn’t! Knowing what I know now, now that I am fully trained, I would’ve made myself very seriously sick from watching those stupid YouTube videos on how to do it. They are so dangerous! Thankfully, I contacted a company who arranged the service for me. They provided me with some equipment to keep my placenta as safe as possible after its delivery.
My birth didn’t quite go to plan and I ended up with an emergency c section after an 18-hour labour. My beautiful boy was born at a massive 10lb 12oz & I had a haemorrhage from the surgery. I was low in iron and was anaemic from the blood loss. The company came and collected my bagged up and safely stored placenta in the hospital from me the same day my son was born. I stayed in hospital for 5 days after my son was born and I was fit to be tied. I was so sleep deprived, exhausted, sore and just wanted to see my friends and family who had travelled over to see us all. When I finally got home, the placenta company came to deliver my capsules.
I began to take my capsules and honestly felt an instant boost. My energy was really great, probably the most energy I have ever had in my life – considering I have had fibromyalgia with chronic fatigue for 14 years, I was totally blown away at these capsules. I was able to live on a few hours sleep each night doing the night feeds, looking after the baby all day, attempting to breast feed as well as my body being so depleted and having to physically recover after my C birth. I was out and about, cleaning, bouncing up to answer my front door, going out for food managing all of my normal daily tasks at a rate that my family and friends were shocked at – even I was shocked at!
I am pleased to report that I never got the baby blues – never mind postnatal depression. I avoided it totally and completely. I attest this to my placenta capsules. in the weeks that followed I felt really balanced, content and surrounded by the oxytocin bubble. My hair was lush, growing and strong – I never had any hair loss following my birth. My skin was glowing, for me as an acne sufferer, that was a lovely thing for me to experience.
The placenta contains 14 vitamins and minerals as well as hormones. Evidence suggests that postnatal depression can be caused by the sharp decline in hormones after birth. It is suggested that placenta capsules can provide a slow titration down from these hormones so the woman doesn’t get that sudden crash. Hence, the theory is, this can prevent postnatal depression.
There is a lot of evidence that needs to be produced for this service, it is something that is currently being tested in Germany and Las Vegas. Preliminary results have shown promise to back these claims up. Often, I hear “there’s no evidence to support this” but the truth is, there’s no evidence because it’s simply something that hasn’t been investigated!
In the weeks that followed, I ended up moving back to Northern Ireland. It was a turbulent time, my son had silent reflux, eczema, he didn’t sleep, he screamed and cried in pain due to what was later diagnosed as CMPA - but all through that difficult time I was still completely level headed and content, even with severe sleep deprivation! I decided I needed to bring this to Northern Ireland, that women deserved to feel as awesome as I did from taking their own placenta pills. I went to England to do my training. It was an extensive course and I enjoyed every minute of it. I set up my business Precious Placentas, and I have been operating for a year now, gaining traction within the birth world.
The birth of my son has been the absolute best thing that has happened to me. Not only has becoming a mum helped me mentally, but it has given me such a purpose in life. It’s given me a business and the business itself has given me purpose too. I absolutely love helping women. My son changed my life, the placenta capsules changed my life – they have quite literally been life changing for me. I’m pleased to say I no longer have to take medication for my mental health and that I am able to manage my symptoms on my own.
If you are reading this and struggling, I urge you seek help – reach out to your GP, family or friends, it will get better, it always can get better.
If you are pregnant and interested in experiencing the benefits of your having your own placenta encapsulated, please check out my website for more information on my service and how to book:
Thanks for taking the time to read this far if you’ve made it!
Devon xTagged with: eating placenta, having a baby, mums mental health, placenta capsules, placenta eating