The importance of Placenta
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The Importance of Placenta

Shortly after your baby is born, you will birth your placenta. 

Birthing of the placenta is often referred to as the ‘afterbirth’. But in fact, the placenta is very much a part of birth itself. The arrival of the placenta is both the end, the end of labour and birth, the end of partum. But she also marks the beginning, the beginning of postpartum, rest and recovery. 

The arrival of the placenta is often hurried and rushed in hospitals; however many mums are now choosing to reclaim this part of birth by declining interventions and rushed cord clamping.

In my work as a birth and postpartum doula, incorporating the placenta into my practice is something that has come to life in a very natural way. I offer encapsulations, burial ceremonies and keepsakes using the placenta and umbilical cord, and it is something I truly believe has a positive impact on the mother's sacred window.

For some mothers, I have seen frustration, sadness and impatience with their own bodies following their birth. Wanting to heal quicker, wanting their old body back or maybe running into speed bumps in their breastfeeding journey. Bringing the new mother a keepsake of something she created, showing her just how incredible her body truly is (because she made that!), is something I truly believe in. I have seen its positive effects on mothers with my own eyes. 

A placenta burial ceremony can be a cleansing, closing and powerful experience for mothers, especially in instances where the birth had not gone in a way that was envisioned. The burial ceremony of the placenta can be an opportunity for the mother to reclaim her birth in a safe space, surrounded by her support people, feeling the emotions attached to her birth experience, and returning those feelings to Mother Earth. She can choose to close her Sacred Window with this ceremony, feeling held, embraced, and supported. If you are a postpartum doula, I encourage you to offer these ceremonies to the women local to you.

The idea of a placenta ceremony is certainly not a new idea. All over the world we can find different traditions, customs and rituals regarding what happens with the placenta after birth. 

Many different cultures across the globe have traditions, burying, or honouring the placenta. This rings true for the first nations people of Australia who bury the placenta, for example, and the Maori people of New Zealand, who call the placenta by the same word as they call the land. Similarly, honouring the placenta can also be found in Navajo traditions and in Cambodia and Indonesia. This is only to name a few. For some cultures, it signifies the relationship between humans and the earth, for others the burial has a more specific meaning. For example, in some cultures it is believed to protect the wellbeing of the new mum and baby, or to be related to the future fertility of the parents. Each culture has a different, sacred way of burying or honouring the placenta, many drawing to the connection of humans and the earth. Some traditions are quite specific, covering the placenta in a certain type of plant, fabric or liquid, but this varies greatly.

Historically, humans have understood the importance of honouring the placenta. Perhaps we have always had the knowledge of the important role that the placenta plays.

In western societies we have become detached from the placenta, and as we move further from ceremonies honouring our great life transitions, and rites of passage, we have moved away from ceremonies relating to birth and postpartum as well.

I invite you, as a birthing mother, to feel into what type of ceremony aligns with you. Know that the entire journey is yours for the taking, and burying your placenta does not need to be grand. Perhaps burying her under your favourite tree, covered in petals from your favourite flower and your favourite essential oil feels like it aligns for you, or maybe it doesn’t. Saying a few words, having a doula present to lead or doing it by your self or with your family. There are no wrong options. Know that your birth, your sacred window, and you, matter. 

Website: verathedoula.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mother.birth.tsv/

Facebook: Mother Birth Postpartum, Townsville

Vera Skough

Hi, I'm Vera!

I run Mother Birth & Postpartum, as a pregnancy, birth and postpartum doula. This is a field that my own experiences during matrescence led me to.

I am passionate about the wellbeing of mothers and the freedom of their choices.

The offerings I share with mothers in my community are ever evolving, encompassing pregnancy, birth and postpartum support, hypnobirthing, ceremonies such as mother blessings or placenta burial ceremonies and more.

My work is a huge passion for me, and I love continuously growing with every experience. Every mother I meet is my teacher.

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Here at the Center for Sacred Window Studies, we share voices from many perspectives and backgrounds. We believe that the sacred weeks post birth, and the experience of humanity is experienced in countless ways. We learn by listening to one another and honoring our stories. The views and opinions of our writers do not necessarily reflect the mission, viewpoints or opinions of the Center for Sacred Window Studies.

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