A hot topic these days when you are pregnant is what to do with your placenta after you give birth, do you do nothing and leave it at the hospital to be disposed of, do you have it encapsulated, eat it or do you plant it? I chose to do the later, I planted a tree of life.
My Aunt who is Scottish told me about a tradition in Scotland where you plant your placenta under a tree, so it in turn grows just as your child does from what nourished them for nine months in the womb.
The idea interested me so I did some research and it turns out that it is a ritual performed within many cultures, such as those found in Hawaii, Indonesia, Cambodia, Costa Rica, New Zealand and many more countries including Scotland. The Maori word for placenta, ‘Whenua’ means ‘land’ and it is believed that planting the placenta strengthens the child’s bond to the earth.
After doing some reading I decided it was the perfect choice for me, once my husband had come around to the idea (at first he thought I was joking), and I put my plan in to action. I couldn’t risk my wishes in regard to what happened to my placenta not being missed so I made sure it was in my birth preferences, my husband and birth partner were both on strict instruction to make sure it didn’t go missing, if I wasn’t with it after the birth, and I made sure it was one of the first things I told my midwife as soon as I was at the hospital.
All went to plan and when we took our beautiful baby boy home we also went home with my placenta in what looked like an ice cream tub…
We now needed to decide on what we were going to plant as our ‘Tree of Life’ so until we were ready we put the tub in the freezer.
I’ve always wanted a yellow standard rose so my hunt to find the perfect one began and then on 25th April 2018 (8 months after giving birth), I had thawed out the tub and the placenta was ready for planting.
I found a gorgeous big tub, I didn’t want to plant the rose in the garden in case we ever moved so I needed the ability to take it with us. The words on the tub were very poignant ‘Beauty Inspire Nourish Grow’. They said everything our placenta had done to create our perfect baby and would continue to do so for this beautiful rose.
When doing my research I read that if the placenta is yet to decompose, as ours was, then you should have a couple of inches of soil between it and the root ball so it has a chance to do so before they come into contact. (WARNING, Placenta pictured below)
I wish now that I had had a proper look at my Placenta out of the tub before planting it, (yes, i’m strange – I find things like this interesting) especially as the midwives said mine was unusual as it wasn’t round as they normally are; mine had two lobes (I remember them showing me but I didn’t take it in fully due to just having given birth and being high on Oxytocin and painkillers!) but my cats were hanging around and I didn’t want them thinking it was feeding time at the zoo!
All that was left to do was to cover it with soil and then plant the rose.
So our ‘Tree of Life’, well Rose in this case, is now planted and is being nourished with cells that are 50% me and 50% our son, I think it’s a beautiful way to honour the organ that nourished Thomas for nine months. I can’t wait to see it grow and blossom as we also watch our son develop and grow.
Whenever I sit on our terrace and look at the rose’s beautiful yellow blooms I will be thankful for what nourishes it.
Thanks for reading.