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  • “Babymoons and Doulas, Push Presents and Placenta Pills”–A New Riff on the Cycle of Life

“Babymoons and Doulas, Push Presents and Placenta Pills”–A New Riff on the Cycle of Life


We baby boomers may not know all the latest ways to celebrate one of the most miraculous stages of the cycle of life–the birth of a baby. Over the course of the past year, I have enjoyed learning about the 21st century style of celebration of birth.  Babymoons, doulas, push presents and placenta pills are now part of my vocabulary.

Take the term “babymoon”.  At first I thought maybe this referred to the new moon, a baby’s bottom, or a children’s book, like “Goodnight Moon”.  Wrong.  A babymoon is like a honeymoon, a vacation taken by the expecting couple to enjoy one last trip without a newborn baby–a romantic odyssey.  Baby paraphernalia, crying, sleeplessness, and all that good stuff is set aside for future vacations.

Next, is the “doula”: women who provide emotional support and advice especially during the first pregnancy, to encourage and guide through the often-frightening process of pregnancy, labor, delivery and postpartum recovery. Doulas recognize that pregnancy is not solely a biological stage on the cycle of life, but an intensely emotional free-falling dive if not gently steered and supported. While I have known of the medical professional,–the midwife who can assist with labor and delivery– the doula reassures young pregnant women who have many pressures on them both at work and at home.

Baby showers need no explanation.  But the term “push present” (aka “push gift” or “baby bauble”) was new for me. The push present is a birth token from the new father, perhaps reminding him that labor pains are no picnic and he better remember that.  As recognition of the young mother’s journey into motherhood, the push present symbolizes perhaps the most dramatic change in an adult’s life… for both parents.

Perhaps the most familiar but also the most surprising of all the new wonders of celebrating a baby’s arrival is placenta pills or “placenta encapsulation“, the trend of drying the placenta and then having it ground into a powder and packaged into capsules.  These placenta pills are thought to improve postpartum recovery, relieve anxiety and depression, provide nutrition, and even assist in breastfeeding.  But, you need a cooler or the hospital won’t give you the material to take to the doula or another pill packager.  (There are many advertised online in San Francisco).

These are wonderful new and old ways reintroduced into the celebration of life! I learned about the creative alchemy used to reaffirm the accomplishment of childbirth, but the miracle of birth remains the same.  While each generation reinterprets how they want to bring a child into the world, the emerging baby is still the most exciting part of the experience.

Comments (7)

  • I have six grandchildren, ages 16 to 10 months (last 2 are twin girls); I asked my daughters and daughter in law if they had heard of placenta pills or push gifts, they never did….The latest I heard is that the placenta can be frozen and kept at a specialized company, to be used in the event of a future medical need; the same way the umbilical chord is saved. Ultimately, there is nothing that consumerism can replicate when it comes to holding that precious bundle: LIFE!

  • The “push present” name might be kinda new but the tradition is really old. Like 1,000 years ago men brought their baby mamas gifts in order to appease the goddess Juno, who was thought to protect babies and women in childbirth. I guess thats why the Juno Lucina shaped pendant is considered the original.

    I like all of these new trends – we didn’t invent laughing out loud either, but we all love to LOL! Also don’t forget about Gender Reveal Parties. One cute new tradition I’ve seen is having your doctor write down the baby’s gender on a folded piece of paper and, without peeking, give it to your baker to create a baby shower cake with pink or blue cake inside. Then, at the shower, the two of you cut the cake and reveal the gender… soooo cute.

  • Very informative and accurate as a new gen X mom. I lucked out with a wonderful baby moon to HI and a delicate diamond studded push present ring ;). We chose not to go with a doula or midwife because our hospital is known for above and beyond service from the nurses. Yet many of my friends used them and raved. At home births seem to be gaining popularity now as well. As for placenta pills, I wish I had them made! My friend with a 6 month old swears that’s what kept her feeling sane during the first month postpartum. She was crying all day for no apparent reason (thanks to hormones being out of balance) and then she had her frozen placenta turned into 1000 pills! She said this made the difference, so much so that she looked forward to taking them each morning!
    Goodluck to all the new moms. There’s lots of great info and support out there!

  • Very interesting…

    Since we are expecting a grandchild in April, this info will make for some interesting conversations. I’m going to share this with my daughter-in-law and see if she has a plan for her placenta!

  • Thanks Diana.

    Who knew? Way back when, we just thought you got pregnant, worked until the baby arrived, took a little time off, went back to work. We loved our children but never imagined all that might go with it. It’s great that this younger generation has a new perspective.

    Enjoy your new grandmother status.


  • Only in California…

    Perhaps one day there will be clinical studies on human placentophagia, and we’ll find out more about the pros and cons of the practice. We may be able to obtain a prescription for placenta processing to make sure we know what is in those cleansing herbs. It really needs a regulating process. I’m not sure I’d put my trust in my placenta if I was experiencing post-partum depression.

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