November 17, 2010
This is something I have been thinking about lately.
I was shown Laurel’s placenta after she was born. It was the coolest thing to see. Not that it actually looked cool, but knowing what it was used for and how much life it contained made it cool. My mid-wife showed me how it worked, where it was attached to me and commented on healthy it looked (go me!)
But when she asked if I wanted it, I hesitated. I thought about our freezer and the likelihood of the placenta ever making its way out of the freezer and it just sitting there….until years later, we removed it, thinking ‘What in the heck is this?”
Now, though, when I think of Laurel’s placenta, I think of that organ’s life force and how it gives itself to the baby. I wish I had said yes to keeping it and at least planted it underneath a newly planted tree. Maybe even a Laurel tree.
So, next time I have a baby, I am keeping it. Not for medical use (although one can certainly do that since the placenta is a wealth of vital nutrition and, in some cultures, important religious and spiritual rites) but because I think the placenta is another process of pregnancy and birth that we need to acknowledge. Does it mean something that it is common in our culture to just throw the placenta away as biohazard waste? As if, you did your job, now get out of here. Actually, in hospitals, it is not even looked at as ‘you did your job’ but rather something else to whisk away as soon as it comes out. Again, a biohazard material. I feel respecting the placenta is just another step in respecting life, the miracle and the connection to the past, present and future.
What are you going to do next time with your placenta? Encapsulate it? Eat it? Plant it? Save it? And why….?