Nexus of Motherhood

In a small dimly-lit kitchen in Ventura, California, 31-year-old Jaymee Payan bustles about putting on white latex gloves, pulling things out of cabinets, and finally plunging her hands into a bag in her sink labeled “HAZARDOUS WASTE.”

Out comes the placenta! The nexus of motherhood, the very blood of life flows through this organ created in a mother’s womb.

“I feel like a mad scientist,” Payan says as she holds the placenta under a running sink. As a doula and placenta encapsulation specialist, she sees and deals with child birth and placentas all the time.

A doula, not to be confused with a midwife, is a birth educator and coach through the birthing process as well as postpartum (after birth.) Although Payan has only been a practicing doula for a little over a year, she is confident in her abilities and passionate about her job.

Payan previously worked in an office environment for 11 years. Already a mother, she decided she needed a change and one day decided that she wanted to try being a doula. Payan says her favorite part of her job is teaching mothers about the process of birth, what happens to their bodies, how they might feel, the pain of childbirth and their bodies and emotions after birth.

Placenta encapsulation involves taking the placenta from a woman after she has given birth, steaming it and cutting it into small pieces.  Those pieces are then dehydrated, ground into granules and then put it into small pills that can then be swallowed.

There are many benefits of taking placenta pills. “It promotes energy,” Payan explains, “It helps with prevention of postpartum depression and baby blues, and it helps with milk supply.” She says many women who are breast feeding save some of the pills to take when their milk supply is running low or when they are having a “weepy day.”

“I’ve never felt so drawn to something, and felt that something was just laid out for me, like this is what I should be doing,” Payan says.