Natasha Das Gupta was trying to do something “holistic” and “natural” with her placenta. But she accidentally triggered a police emergency.
As Global News reports, it all started when the mom of two from Mississauga, Ontario, decided to mark the year since her daughter’s birth. As Das Gupta explained to CP24 News, she’d had a home birth, after which the midwife had given her the placenta. She wanted to do something with the placenta that would reflect the natural experience of the birth:
“Some people, right after they give birth, encapsulate it (the placenta) after drying it and they consume it, some people cook it, some people eat it raw, a lot of women try to find a way to get nutrients back from their placenta and in my case, because I had it frozen for a year, I’m guessing it wasn’t at its most beneficial point and so that’s a good time to bury it and put it back to the earth because the earth does get a lot of nutrients from something that is so nutrient-dense.”
Because the placenta had spent a year in storage — first in the garage and then in the kitchen freezer — Das Gupta hit on the idea of burying it in a local park. She told CTV News:
“I wanted to do something really natural with it. I didn’t just want to throw it in the garbage and no, the compost bin was not a better choice. I really wanted to do something really beautiful and serene and just put something natural back into nature.”
Unfortunately, the ground was too hard to consider burying the placenta, but Das Gupta remembered seeing a coyote roaming in nearby Sugar Maple Woods Park. So she got her mom to watch the baby, grabbed the Tupperware container with the placenta, and went off to put it in the park.
Das Gupta told Global News that she was counting on the coyote: “I wanted to put it near where the coyote was, hoping that the coyote was going to clean up what I was about to drop off and then it would be, no one would be the wiser. It would just be taken care of by nature, from nature, back to nature.”
Having found a place where no one would accidentally trip over the afterbirth, the mom told CTV, “I dumped it out somewhere secluded and packed up my plastic and headed off thinking that was it.”
Unfortunately, the placenta didn’t stay hidden for long. A few days later, a man walking his dog in the park came across the placenta, along with the clamps that had been used on the umbilical cord — and which Das Gupta hadn’t realized were frozen with the placenta — and immediately alerted local police.
Convinced that there was a newborn and mother in distress somewhere, police launched an immediate investigation and search.
However, Das Gupta had no idea what had happened … until her mom called her and said, “Your placenta is all over the news.”
A Google search confirmed that Das Gupta’s placenta had sparked a great deal of concern. Afraid that she had done something wrong, the mom contacted the police to set things straight. She told CP24:
“This is a scary thing for some people to come across and I’m the only person who doesn’t have that perspective because I actually know what happened and so I ended up calling the police and I said, ‘Hey I have some information about that placenta that you found in the forest.’ And they said ‘OK what is it?’ and I said, ‘It’s mine.'”
The mom went to the station to provide a statement and assure officers that the placenta was old and not the result of a birth in the park. She also provided DNA so that authorities could verify it was hers.
Das Gupta said she is a private person who was mortified to learn her placenta had created such a big misunderstanding. However, she was heartened by how the police treated her. She told Global News:
“They treated me with so much respect when they got to the station. They didn’t treat me like a weirdo or all the things that I feared that was going to happen, none of that happened.”
Police said there will be no charges against Das Gupta despite the time and manpower devoted to the investigation. She’ll even get the placenta back eventually, though presumably, she’ll choose somewhere different to send it back to nature this time.
Despite the embarrassment involved, Das Gupta did find a silver lining. She told Global News she was touched to see how the police and community put so much effort into finding her and her child while they thought she was in danger:
“I was honestly really moved. I’ve never had so many people worried about me. Combing forests for me. I was actually brought to tears.”