In the realm of childbirth, there is an often-overlooked source of profound power and wonder—the placenta. The placenta holds a deep significance and sacredness that deserves recognition. In her book The Forgotten Chakra, Robin Lim explains the placenta as the Apara, or the bridge between spirit and earth. The conduit, unity of mother, child and the realm of existence. Far from being a disposable organ, the placenta is a miracle of life. It is a complex and intricate creation that develops alongside the growing baby during pregnancy. With its web of blood vessels and protective membranes, the placenta acts as a lifeline, nourishing the baby and providing the necessary support for healthy development. It is a hormone producer that helps regulate pregnancy, support fetal development, and prepare the mother’s body for childbirth and thereafter.
Across the globe, the placenta is revered as a sacred symbol of life’s interconnectedness. From ancient rituals to traditional ceremonies, different cultures have recognized the placenta’s significance as a gift from the divine. So how can we, in our modern era, express gratitude for this amazing womb mate and utilize its capabilities to its fullest potential?
Placenta/Placenta Powder Burial
A beautiful way to pay tribute to this life-giving organ is with a ceremonial burial. Placenta burials have been documented all over the world, and is a practice that predates written records. Each ceremony’s traditions differ from place to place but the action symbolizes a deep, strong connection with the baby to land, and then end of a pregnancy cycle. Most bury the placenta in a meaningful area and plant it with a tree or flower. If you are unable to plant the raw placenta for whatever the reason be, you could have the placenta turned into powder and sprinkle into rivers, over the land or into the ground.
Another way to celebrate your placenta and its beautiful strength is by creating art with it. A popular art form is stamping the placenta onto paper or canvas in its natural form, or with colorful paints. These prints can be hung in the nursery or living space and serve as a visual reminder of your pregnancy and your connection.
Umbilical Cord Keepsakes
Utilizing the umbilical cord is another way to honor the placenta. You can have the umbilical cord dried into a shape or word. It’s a beautiful way to remember the connection to your baby and this miraculous vessel. The cord can be stored in a shadow box, made into a resin casting or just rest on a shelf. A beautiful Native American tradition is to make dreamcatchers with the umbilical cords. “The purpose of a dreamcatcher is rooted in Native American folklore and spirituality. It is believed that dreamcatchers have the power to filter out bad dreams and allow only good dreams to pass through. The intricate web design is meant to trap and hold the bad dreams, while the feathers and other hanging elements serve to guide the positive dreams down to the sleeper.”
Placenta encapsulation is the process of drying your placenta and turning it into capsules you can take postpartum. Women across the world have raved about their experiences with ingesting their placenta either through capsules, or drinking a raw smoothie directly after birth. The placenta is loaded with hormones it has gathered during pregnancy which your body needs replenished after birth. Some amazing hormones that have been found are: Oxytocin, which is our love hormone, prolactin to kick start and boost milk supply, estrogen to help strengthen the uterus, interferon which can boost immunity, and others. Not to mention it has sufficient amounts of iron which can help with fatigue and combat anemia.
Placenta tinctures are made with a small amount of your placenta and act as a concentrated liquid form of the placenta capsules. Offering similar benefits as the capsules, tinctures provide gentle support for your body through this hormonal shift after your capsules are finished. Some women choose to start taking their tinctures as their periods come back to a cycle, and report it helping with cramping and other PMS symptoms. It can even be used through menopause because of its long shelf life!
Topical Use of Placenta
Getting your placenta made into a cream that can be topically used is another way to honor your placenta. It is said to help with eczema, diaper rash, chapped nipples, and helps stretched skin regain its elasticity.
Unearthing the sacredness within the placenta is a journey that allows us to truly appreciate the depth of its power and significance. Through ceremonies, art, keepsakes, encapsulation, tinctures, and topical use, we can honor and embrace the placenta’s awe-inspiring gift that nourishes, heals, and connects us to the essence of life itself. Let us embark on this path of reverence and exploration, allowing the placenta to guide us in understanding the miracles of childbirth and the interwoven tapestry of existence.
By: Ashley Jacobs