If you birthed away from home, were you offered your placenta?
Did you know you could request it?
Had you thought about why you might want to keep it?
Many a freezer has a placenta or two in an icecream container awaiting an appropriate moment and place to be honoured.
The placenta is such an incredible organ, and for many people it is important to acknowledge the life giving force of this organ. This is usually approached ceremonially, sometimes as part of a naming ceremony, with a burial of the placenta under a tree. The placenta then feeds the tree, which grows with the child. Each year you can take a photo of your child next to their placenta tree. A word of caution though - Australian natives are overwhelmed by a full placenta.
Before burial, placenta art, from prints to a small piece kept for a unique piece of jewellery, is also an option for honouring this amazing organ.
Another important option is to ingest your placenta.
There are professional services to encapsulate your placenta (a dehydrating process, that powders the placenta for easy consumption), and many websites with instructions for immediate raw consumption (smoothie, anyone?).
The placenta is a vital and rich organ. According to Vickie, from Canberra Placenta Services:
"In many cultures, the placenta is not simply discarded as medical waste. The placenta is recognised as a beautiful organ.
It is the only organ that develops and grows within another organ. It is responsible for growing a healthy baby. It is the bridge between a mother and her baby in the womb. In medieval times it was said to nurture an unborn baby’s body and soul, in Indonesia it is called the brother or sister, in Nepal it is known as bucha-co-satthi, meaning baby's friend, it is honoured as truly unique and amazing.
There are many rituals surrounding the burial of the placenta.
Some women will eat a small piece of the placenta raw at the birth to avoid haemorrhage.
The placenta is considered a powerful medicine. It is believed that ingesting placenta can contribute to :
Decrease in baby blues and postnatal depression
Increase and enrich breast milk.
Increase in energy.
Decrease in lochia, postnatal bleeding.
Decrease iron deficiency.
Decrease insomnia and/or sleep disorders
More and more women today are no longer discarding their placentas but choosing to honour their strength and health."
What a Wonderful Organ is the placenta
The perfect shade of magenta,
Sustains life in the womb
'Til baby runs out of room
Do I want to keep it? You betcha!!
Selected Articles by Catherine
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birth without fear
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