About 2 weeks ago, on a sunny and crisp Autumn morning, I set off with River, my husband Fabian, a small tupperware box containing my frozen placenta and our family dog into the woods of Black Park.
The sun was streaming through the trees and the forest floor was almost totally carpeted in golden leaves, so we crunched our way into the undergrowth, searching for the right spot. The plan was, to bury our placenta and mark the endings - of my pregnancy, birth and my first 20 months of motherhood. It also felt like celebrating new beginnings, mainly, the next stage in his life as an independent, adventurous, curious little boy.
Last February when River and his placenta were born, Fabian lovingly prepared me a smoothie containing a small piece every morning for the first week or so postpartum. I can't really remember how many I had but judging by how much of the placenta is left it was about a week's worth. He stored the rest in the freezer and before long I stopped being able to stomach the smoothies which was a sign that perhaps my body had got what it needed from them. We sort of forgot about the rest in our freezer for the next 20 months!
Some people choose to bury their placentas under a tree, some people choose to plant a tree at the spot themselves. You can also have your placenta dried or ground and then scatter it to the wind in a place that was meaningful to you during your pregnancy. Either way the
sentiments are to bind the child with his or her land, which I just think is so totally beautiful.
Of course there are many wonderful uses for your placenta but right now I'm just focusing on a burial ritual that I chose to do with what
was left of mine. So the burial can be done on it’s own or in conjunction with some milestone, such as a blessing, first birthday,
return of menstruation, etc. For me the time felt right at 20 months, but to be honest, a LOT of it was finding the time and energy!
Here's the little ceremony I wrote for the occasion:
1) I prepared the area.
- Find a special spot, whether it be your back garden or a remote spot somewhere special. Maybe somewhere that meant something to you during your pregnancy.
- Clear the leaves, twigs and dig a small hole, relatively deep hole. We borrowed a little trowel from my Dad's shed on the way and Fabs did the digging for me while I entertained River.
- I stuck a candle in the earth near the burial spot and River and I held the other candle together. It was such a simple and obvious representation of the whole ceremony to whole these two white candles and it felt very poignant.
2) I kissed River, brought him onto my knee and talked to him about what Daddy was doing. I told him we were saying goodbye and thank you to the organ that held us together and nourished him. I told him his birth story in about 2 minutes (the condensed version!) and how happy we both were to meet him for the first time.
I told him that as he grows and becomes independent, as his Earth mother I will nourish him and so will Mother Earth.
3) Carefully buried his placenta.
4) A few words
"Today I celebrate being a mother! Woop woop! The joy you have brought me, all the friendships, the confidence within myself, the
forgiveness, throughout my whole pregnancy and birth, my mothering experience so far has made me so strong.
I feel like I can do anything and it's because of you."
Then I picked up some soil from the earth near the burial space and rubbed it around my navel. Then I did the same to River's little tummy which he thought was brilliant and fascinating.
"Grow into the person you were born to be River. You can always always always rely on me for nurturing. I bless my womb and reclaim it, as a private place belonging to me and now...your baby brother or sister! I move forward with my new pregnancy and the beginnings of this new life."
Then we blew out the candles, covered the hole with soil and smoothed it over, placed a few flowers on top and took some photos!
It was such a beautiful morning!
When I support clients I often get questions about what the evidence is surrounding placenta use, consumption in a smoothie, capsules or other uses and the truth is, there's very little scientific evidence to suggest consuming your placenta will be of any benefit to you. This
is enough for some women and they don't need to hear any more. That placenta is going in the waste bin. And that's a fine choice. There is no right or wrong, only what you FEEL to be the best thing for you, your baby, your family, and that goes for most things to do with
If you're undecided and like the idea of using your placenta in some way but don't know why, here are some interesting points to consider:
- - The absence of clinical trials is different from no evidence (scientific trials are expensive and funded largely by those looking to make money. Placentas are totally natural and cannot be produced in a lab so don't make money.)
- - Global anecdotal evidence is huge for the positive benefits, and in some ways louder and stronger than scientific evidence
- - Stem cells repair from within
- - Most mammals consume their placenta
- - Oxytocin boost to fend off PND
- - Vitamin E boost
- - Energy boost
- - Lactation support - the hormone boosts help your milk come in
- - Helps to reduce postnatal bleeding.
- - All of these things help to reduce 'baby blues' and more seriously, PND.
In Native America the Navajo Indians and Maori people of NZ bury their placenta for the same reasons I did. Placentas can be consumed in a smoothie, made into capsules to take like vitamins, made into a tincture, cream, essence or turned into
artwork for your home! So if it seems like a dreadful waste just to see your placenta go to waste, or something doesn't feel right about it for you, know your options!
For more information visit:
Above all, do what's right for you and feel good about your choices!