Women everywhere know the sacred importance of the placenta. It is an organ that forms in their wombs from the same cells their babies begin from. It sustains that baby's life, taking over the production of progesterone around the third month of pregnancy and so wisely allowing oxygen and waste exchange to occur across it's membranes to keep the baby safe and healthy.
From it forms the protective amniotic sac, which holds your baby in her amniotic fluid, keeping her light enough to practice important movements and other bodily functions as she prepares for life outside of the womb. When this moment comes, the placenta will keep her oxygenated and fed for the process of birth, and will emerge soon after your baby does.
The placenta is amazing, and deserving of so much more reverence than it is given during most births.
Some women who choose to give this reverence to their placentas have the rightful opportunity to do so. Many others grieve the loss of this opportunity, the disregard for their wishes, and the lack of reverence for their sacred bodies. Grieving and honoring my children's placentas has been a part of my own motherhood journey, though not one that I have shared much about until now.
This is a topic that comes up rather frequently in my birth story integration sessions - from women who had prepared big dreams for a ceremonial initiation into motherhood and were met with too-common practices that underserved them. These women have shared with me their dreams of seeing their placentas, touching them, consuming them, burying them, and giving their babies their own blood from within them - then the sadness that followed as their placentas were discarded by the hospitals they birthed at. This post is inspired by the grief of these women and their willingness to open these important conversations around birth and motherhood.
May these rituals bring peace and inspiration to all who are touched by the presence of pregnancy.
Pray, Sing, Dance
Your voice is powerful. Paired with intention and intuition, your voice can heal and create. Incorporating dance strengthens this. What happens if you take a moment to turn inward, bringing your placenta into your mind's eye, and spoke or sang to it's memory and servitude?
Journal, Write a Thank You Letter or Story
The written word can be just as powerful as the spoken one. Grab your journal, your notes app in your phone, or open your go-to document creator on your computer. (I find a good ol'fashioned pen & paper aids me best). Write a Stream of Consciousness entry about the birth of your placenta and how that feels to you. Let your words come freely, without resistance. Honesty is good.
You could also write a thank you letter to your placenta for it's immaculate workload, or rewrite the story of your placent's birth as you dreamed it to happen. Breathe into your creation, remaining present with the sensations that surface. You can read my story here.
Enjoy the process of creating an artisitic piece to represent your reverence for your placenta, your emotions around your story. The creative characteristic of being human is truly beautiful - let this shine. Your art is an expression of you, and it is the process of that expression that serves you (not the final product).
Return Your Blood to the Earth
The wombspace is affiliated with the elements of Earth & Water. The womb houses not only the endometrial tissue and blood that sustains life and meets the placenta, but the energy associated with the conception, growth, and birth of your baby and your baby's placenta.
Postpartum menses can be a tool to reconnect and work with the energetic body of your wombspace. Collecting and returning menstrual blood to the earth can be a simple ceremonial practice that honors your placenta, and the relationship it had with your womb. This can be a time to give thanks to your placenta, your womb, your body, the Earth, and God - while (at least partly) satisfying your dream of placing your placenta in the soil.
Planting a seed is a symbolic way to keep a memory alive. As a seed grows within the Earth's womb, the embryo is sustained by the cotyledons, which provide it with nutrition in the early stages of the plant's life.
Not coincidentally, the placenta also has cotyledons. On the placenta, these are the places that maternal-fetal exchange takes place.
A perinneal plant of deep colors (like red, purple and orange) can serve as a memorial to your placenta and wombspace, though whichever plant is calling to you will be beautiful.
Have You Done These or Created Your Own? Let Me Know!
Do You Like to Read? Check out Placenta, the Forgotton Chakra. by Robin Lim.
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If you've been feeling the call to process your birth story, now is your time. Together, we can create a safe, comfortable space for unpacking and integrating your birth so that you can move forward with presence, love, compassion, and individualized tools to support you in body, mind, and spirit.
Lynnea is an intern and 2020 graduate of the Center for Sacred Window Studies, where she completed 200+ hours of foundational studies on the topics of Ayurveda, Postpartum Care Foundations, Cooking for Postpartum, and Ayurvedic Touch for Postpartum. Lynnea is a lifelong student of Mother Nature, a nurse by trade, mother of two & intuitive healer by heart. Read More