Friday, July 25, 2008

Placenta Power

I had the distinct pleasure of Window Water Baby Moving by Stan Brakhage with some of my favorite (male) friends and my best doula friend. None of these men have children nor grew up on a farm (i.e. have never seen a birth). As you can well imagine, it was an amazing 12 minutes of much breath holding, eye covering, etc. (It really should be said that this video is pretty graphic as far as birth films go...)

One of the best moments for me was their reaction to the birth of the placenta: the placenta is huge! This was the very thing that most impressed both my doula friend and I in our first births. It makes logical sense that the placenta should be big- it sustains the growth of an entire baby but some how I was initially unprepared...I through it would maybe be like a kidney, about that size and "organ-looking". Instead, to me, the placenta seems more akin to something from the ocean like a dark red jelly fish or brain coral.

Placentas have long held their place in birth rituals saved for their nourishing and protective powers. Read about international placenta practices in this Mothering magazine article. Specific placenta rituals I've encountered include birth trees, encapsulation and placenta prints.

No comments: