Birth is a powerful experience -- beautiful, magical, and amazing. We create life. That is a gift. And we not only birth our babies, we birth the placenta, the life force, supplying nutrients to our babies so they grow. Which is exactly why I feel the placenta is so precious and deserves to be celebrated.
We save our baby's first receiving blankets, a favorite onesie or toy -- material things. Why wouldn't we want to save or memorialize our placenta in some way? Some may think eating the placenta is disgusting, but we drink milk that comes from a cow's udder, meat from an animal's insides, eggs that come from a chicken much like a woman births a child, and vegetables that grow in the earth amongst dirt and worms. Why would we be repulsed by something that came from inside us, something that nourished our child?
There are many things we can do with our placenta -- here are seven ideas.
1. Eat it: Did you know the word "placenta" means "cake" in Latin? Let them eat cake! Let moms eat placenta! It gives mamas a jolt of energy, it's an experience, many have very positive physical reactions to eating it, and it's full of nutrients -- it is a natural force. You can have it mixed into a smoothie (placenta, coconut water, and banana, one mom says) or add it into a sauce. Your placenta, your business how you want to prepare it. Another idea: placenta jerky. By itself, the placenta is very meaty smelling, it's an organ. But we eat animal organs all the time, why wouldn't we consume our own when the benefits are so great?
2. Encapsulate it: There are many professionals who do placenta encapsulation, which is the process of steaming, dehydrating, and then grinding placenta into a powder, filling it into capsules to ingest like a vitamin. The benefits of are undeniable -- it helps with postpartum depression, increases energy and breast milk supply, decreases insomnia and postpartum bleeding -- it's essentially a vitamin made for you by you.
3. Plant it: I love the ceremony of planting the placenta. It's best to keep it in the freezer for about a year, then plant on your child's first birthday along with a beautiful tree or add it to enrich the garden. You can of course also just plant it deep into the ground after birth -- many cultures do it as ritual. It feels very Mother Earth and natural.
4. Cast it: Many of do belly casts, why not a placenta cast. You can bronze cast it into a keepsake for your mantel. Mamas of twins can divide it and do bookends. You can also do smaller resin casts as keepsakes -- powerful, talisman type of keepsakes.
5. Make it into a salve: Full Circle Placenta Services makes your placenta into a healing balm with added herbs and oils that can cure or help hemorrhoids, tearing, cracked nipples, sunburn, diaper rash, c-section scars, and various irritations. Much better than putting some damaging chemicals on your or your baby's skin.
6. Craft it into a piece of jewelry: If you're crafty you can do this yourself, or work with a jewelry designer to make a beautiful ring, necklace, or any type of charm with your dried placenta. Very symbolic of the birth and life process.
7. Make placenta art: Taking the blood from the placenta, you can draw with it on paper, let dry, and frame. Or you can press the placenta onto the paper, letting it make its mark for a truly original piece. That's the blood of life, which is truly sacred.
I truly feel the placenta is an amazing thing, even after it is birthed.
Have you done anything with your placenta? Would you ever consider any of these?
Image via jonny.hunter/Flickr