There are many amazing experiences on this earthly plane, one of the most profound being the journey of birth. Growing a baby inside of you, from a little ball of cells into a being - with its own personality, breath, capacity to laugh and love - is sheer magic. And the body does this all, this intricate design and weaving, without any cue from the mind. It grows a baby, grows a placenta, and produces milk to nourish and support this being once they make their way earth side. Pretty incredible right?
So throughout pregnancy, who is holding the prayers? The Mama and Papa, yes? And throughout birth, who is holding the prayers? The partner, the doula, the midwife/doctor, the support, yes? And then after birth, when all the excitement has faded and the edges have become blurred, who is holding the prayers then, when Mama is preoccupied with everything babe? The partner’s focus is on keeping Mama supported, and the house together, and the support people have all gone home. This is where I believe the medicine of the placenta comes in so strongly.
This beautiful and life sustaining organ, the placenta, is now available for you to ingest, bringing it full circle back into your body, at the time when you need support more than ever. You can think of it like a giant vitamin made especially for you, by you. Ingesting your placenta after birth (which is like running a marathon, but way more exhausting, for anyone wondering), is the ultimate superfood and will give you the boost and energy you need while you transition into the next leg of the journey, breastfeeding and adjusting to your new babe.
The placenta is rich in vitamins, minerals, calcium, iron, replenishing you on so many levels. It is warming, tonifying, and helps to bring your milk in. It assists your uterus as it shrinks back down. It energetically holds you, as you pour everything you have into your new babe.
In many cultures around the world, the placenta is ingested, prayed over, and used in burial and offering ceremonies. It is in our western culture, that this precious organ is thrown out without a “thank you” for everything it has done. Without it, we wouldn’t be here, along with so many other mammals. .
In my experience, it was the praying over and processing of my placenta that brought so much healing to my family. Our birth journey was much different than we would have chosen, and taking the time to be in ceremony and prayer with my placenta helped to process, heal, and transmute so much trauma, for all of us. It brought us to a place of peace and harmony within 24 hours of our birth.
Encapsulating a placenta, from my perspective as a placenta medicine specialist, is such a potent ceremony. Filled with smudging, prayers, Reiki, sound healing, traditional Chinese medicine, herbs, and prepared with loving hands and heart, becomes a very shamanic experience. Every placenta holds and tells the story of its birth, without any words. Blood clots show ancestral healing. A placenta that keeps bleeding and bleeding shows trauma. You can tell the diet of the Mama and the relationship to her baby by reading the placenta. The colours range from soft pinks, to pretty purples, to bright reds. They can be so small and delicate to large and thick. The cords can be long, soft, short, hard, knotted, or come in pieces. They truly are so unique, and reflect the unique journey of pregnancy and birth in their shape, size, colour, and vibration.
I’ve served many Mamas and Babes with this sacred medicine, and each one has been supported and held by their own encapsulated placentas in the exact way that they needed. From lotus birth to cesarean birth, and everything between - placentas are so so special, whether you are encapsulating yours or burying it as an offering to the spirits who helped bring your babe earth side.
On my personal journey through the fourth trimester, I would reach to my placenta medicine when I needed it. It helped me find breath and ease when my new Mama mind was reeling. It brought my milk rushing in to nourish my new babe, and kept me warm when I would get chills. It assisted me with the intense pain of my shrinking uterus, and held me as my belly and organs slowly moved back into place. And after five weeks, my body intuitively new it didn’t need it anymore, and the rest of the placenta pills I have kept for offerings for my babe and I when he is older.
And now I have a placenta tincture to support me through menopause and my babe through big life moments. I have an umbilical cord dream catcher that will be part of the medicine bundle of baby treasures I will gift him one day. And I have deep gratitude in my heart for the precious gifts and nurturing this sacred organ has offered me - through pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and beyond. Bowing down low to this ancient medicine, and all it has gifted us, for all womban, past, present, and future. Thank you, thank you, thank you.