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Friday, November 15, 2002
Day 51: Elisa is NOT eating the afterbirth

One of the least known facts about childbirth is that after the mother gives birth to the baby, she must continue to push to give birth to the afterbirth -- a big gooey mass of blood and tissue and placenta and baby snot. Not the sort of thing that tickles the palate.

But, as a co-worker has just informed me, some Native Americans actually collect afterbirth for celebratory purposes. Apparently, a "congratulations" card isn't enough -- they have some secret ceremony where the mother actually eats a bit of the afterbirth. I can't tell you how grossed out I am. My co-worker, part Native American herself, couldn't do the eating part, but she still has part of the afterbirth stored away (apparently for a rainy day or something).

So, what's the most diplomatic way to tell a co-worker that she's a freak? This was my marginally successful attempt:

"You are a freak."
Now, now, I refuse to pass judgment on cultural traditions simply because they differ from my own. In fact, check out this little tidbit:
The placenta, umbilical cord, and extraembryonic membranes, which are expelled from the womb after a mammalian fetus is born. In most nonhuman mammals the afterbirth, which contains nutrients and might otherwise attract predators, is eaten by the female.
So you see, placentas and extraembryonic membranes are a nutritious treat, and eating them has the added benefit of keeping those pesky predators away (like corporate lawyers, Arthur Andersen accountants, and Kathleen Harris).

Still, I have waived the "pros" and "cons" of this issue, and can say with reasonable certainty that Elisa won't eat her afterbirth. Of course if she really wants to, that's another story...

by Kos | November 15, 2002 03:21 PM