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Why You Shouldn’t Hire a Professional

admin April 14, 2015

A little while ago, someone shared a photograph in one of my natural birthing/parenting groups.  It was a picture of a placenta encapsulation gone wrong.  In it, the capsules were in a small container and were wrinkled (partially melted) and covered in blue-green fuzzy mold.  The caption on the photo stated that this result was why they didn’t want people to encapsulate their own placentas, and it was important to hire a true professional.

I immediately felt uneasy about this, especially in this group.  It’s a group that encourages mamas to trust their instincts and go against the grain in many respects — choosing home births with CPMs, doulas, unschooling, and so on.  But in this instance, we need to trust a professional?

Most people don’t realize what a strong message it sends when there is an emotional story or image attached to an admonition to “hire or trust a professional.”  But actually, it can be quite damaging.  I think in many cases, that’s not the message that should be sent.  And yes, I think that image and caption were fear-mongering.

Sometimes, you really shouldn’t hire a professional.

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Why You Shouldn’t Hire a Professional

But don’t we need professionals?

Yes.  We need professionals.

There are some things that we don’t have the skills to do ourselves.  There are a great many other things we don’t want to do ourselves.  When it comes to placenta encapsulation or most anything else, we should have a way to find a trusted professional to hire.  But that should come through interviewing the person, talking to others who have hired them, and so on — not certification (which guarantees nothing, really) or regulation.

This isn’t railing against all professionals.  And it certainly isn’t saying you should never need or choose one.  Instead, it’s about this idea that we can’t trust ourselves or our own knowledge, especially when it comes to simple things.  That’s dangerous.

Why You Should Trust Yourself

Trusting yourself doesn’t always mean doing it yourself.  Sometimes it does.  Let’s just take this placenta image and break it down.

The pills in the image were wrinkled, indicating they had gotten wet.  I have encapsulated both cow’s liver and a placenta before myself.  If it is still at all wet (I tried encapsulating fresh liver once…for about five minutes), the capsules will simply melt and disintegrate.  They won’t go back together.  I even tried freezing the liver partially, but it didn’t work.  It seems odd that the image had dozens of perfectly formed capsules that were just slightly wrinkled.

Within the capsules was what appeared to be a fine, evenly ground powder.  This, also, would not occur if the placenta was actually still wet.  Just try running it through a spice grinder or blender…if it’s not fully dry, it will clump and there will be uneven chunks.  This means that it’s more likely that the pills were improperly stored and got wet or at least moist at a later date, and not during encapsulation.

The point is — we don’t actually know exactly what occurred to cause the mold.  We don’t know if it was caused by the person who encapsulated them, or the person who stored them.  We don’t have enough information about that image.

But to a mama who wants to preserve her placenta pills (it’s not like it’s easy to get more!), that image could be heartbreaking.  To lose something that could be preventing postpartum depression….  Why, she just can’t risk that.

Naturally, the solution is — let us help!  We’re true professionals!

Uh-oh.  That’s a sales pitch, not information.  It’s a clever one.  And I have nothing against businesses that offer the service — a lot of mamas don’t have the equipment, or just don’t want that job when they had a baby hours before!  There are plenty of valid reasons to hire someone else.  “You might screw up” is not one of them.

You need to know yourself — if you truly want to take on the responsibility, or if you don’t.  If you do, then you should not be discouraged.  If you don’t, then you should have access to trusted professionals (who won’t manipulate you and make you think you’re incompetent) to help you out.

This Attitude is Everywhere

If this were an isolated example, I’d just let it go.  But it isn’t.

Everywhere we look, we get the message — “Trust professionals.”

When our kids are sick, we’re supposed to run them off to the doctor immediately.  We aren’t supposed to think through what their symptoms are, decide if they’re serious or how we might care for them at home.  There are certain symptoms that warrant immediate care, but many don’t.  Tons of parents run their kids in for an earache or low fever when the doctor’s likely to say “It’s a virus.  Go home and rest.”

When it comes to education, we’re supposed to send our kids off to school.  We aren’t trained teachers, and we don’t have the experience in pedagogy to choose the “right” curriculum or to teach our children appropriately, so they learn what they need and don’t fall behind.  I could write an entire post just on this.  The very idea that there is one prescribed way and set of information that children must know is absolutely ludicrous.  Every child learns differently and has a different skill set.  Children can’t stop learning, in a normal setting.  Yet…we’re supposed to turn our kids over to the professionals because we don’t get it.

When it comes to giving birth, we’re not supposed to have an opinion beyond “I want a healthy baby.”  We are supposed to go to the hospital and submit ourselves to whatever procedures they deem necessary to produce that safe, healthy outcome.  We are not supposed to ask questions or refuse anything because they went to medical school and we didn’t.  To question or refuse is to think we know better; it’s the ultimate in arrogance.

There are many, many more examples than these.  You see, we’re not supposed to use our own brains and our critical thinking skills to assess a situation and decide how to handle it.  We’re not supposed to figure out how to do it on our own — or if it’s a situation that truly warrants professional help.  We should be empowered to make those decisions!  But they don’t want us to be.  It’s easier to say “Just don’t think, see a professional.”  We’re conditioned in this from the time we are very small.

This is why the placenta picture is a big deal.  Because it’s one small chip in a mama’s confidence.  It’s one of the thousands of messages of “You can’t do it on your own.  You don’t have the knowledge.   Leave it to the real professionals.”  If you think I’m exaggerating, someone replied to the original thread with “Thanks for the info, I was thinking about doing it myself, but maybe I shouldn’t….”  If I hadn’t already done it, I might have felt the same.

Empower Yourself

Nobody’s going to empower you.  Nobody wants you empowered.  You’re just supposed to do what you’re told.

That’s why you need to take matters into your own hands.  Turn your brain on and engage critical thought.  Learn to know when you can do it yourself, and when you can’t.

As an example, if my kids are sick, I run through a checklist.

  • What are their symptoms?
  • What illness is this likely to be?
  • Are any of these symptoms posing an immediate danger? (such as struggling to breathe, seizures, etc.)
  • What is a doctor likely to do or tell me if I take them in?
  • Can I do that at home, without the doctor’s visit?

In the vast majority of cases, symptoms are mild, the illness is something simple like a cold or stomach virus, there is no immediate danger, and a doctor is likely to tell me to let them rest and keep them hydrated.  I can easily just skip the whole doctor’s visit and treat them at home.  If there were concerning symptoms I couldn’t identify, if they were not breathing well, if they were disoriented or confused, if they were difficult to wake, or there was something obviously serious, then I would call for help.

Ignore people who think you shouldn’t use this type of critical thinking to make your own decisions.  You should make your own decisions.  You may have a different threshold for calling a professional than I do, but it should be your call, based on your experience, knowledge, and instincts, and not born of fear because someone else told you to.  You are smart.  You can do this.

How do you feel about the constant advice to hire a professional?

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1 Comment

  1. Yes. This is a subject I have thought on quite a bit. I notice so many people who hold the opinion, “We must listen to the experts!” As if the so-called “Experts” are some other worldly, all-knowing, infallible beings that have come to earth to share their expertise with us out of the goodness of their hearts. “Experts” are just like the rest of us: they’re human, they can make mistakes, and they have their own motivations and agendas for what they do. Some people might be shocked to learn that those motivations aren’t always altruistic.

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Hi, I’m Kate.  I love medical freedom, sharing natural remedies, developing real food recipes, and gentle parenting. My goal is to teach you how to live your life free from Big Pharma, Big Food, and Big Government by learning about herbs, cooking, and sustainable practices.

I’m the author of Natural Remedies for Kids and the owner and lead herbalist at EarthleyI hope you’ll join me on the journey to a free and healthy life!

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