The placenta is more than just something that the doctor quickly whisks away after giving birth. It nourishes baby during pregnancy, allowing your little one to grow inside of you. This life-giving part of pregnancy has come to mean different things to different groups of people. Some people believe in the power of placental pills, grinding it up and encapsulating it in a vitamin-like form. And others believe in a lotus birth — leaving the placenta attached to the baby until it naturally separates. And the Maori value the placenta, believing it should be returned to the “land.”
It’s this belief that inspired photographer Emma Jean Nolan to capture a now-viral image of a newborn still attached to his placenta. After baby Harper’s birth, Nolan caught an awesomely special shot of the newborn, his placenta and an umbilical cord that spelled out the word “love.” The cord was adjusted to spell love, it did not happen on its own.
On her Facebook page, Nolan wrote, “As a Maori baby his placenta will now be returned to the land. The word ‘whenua’ relates to the placenta and to the land. Whenua (placenta) is returned to the whenua (land) with the pito (umbilical cord) the link between the newborn and papatuanuku (mother earth).”
The photograph now has more than 8,800 reactions and 2,400 shares on Facebook. And it’s no wonder why.
Nolan concludes her FB post by asking, “How did you honor your placenta?” With that in mind, share your post-birth placenta story with us in the comments below.