They say a picture says a thousand words, so we'll let this photo show you.
You've heard about Kim Kardashian eating her placenta twice—and all the supposed benefits it can have for moms. There are also placenta soaps and facial washes. Well, that's not all you can do with your placenta after giving birth.
Australia-based family and newborn photographer Emma Jean Nolan, who used to be a midwife, captured this striking photo of a newborn baby with her placenta still attached to it--and the umbilical cord that connects them was formed to spell the word "love".
"Welcome earthside sweet little Harper," Nolan said in the caption of her Facebook post. Harper Hoani Spies was born to Jolene and Johann Spies of New Zealand. She continued to talk about an old Maori tradition of honoring one's placenta by returning it to the land. Harper's placenta will be buried on her grandfather's farm in the Bombay Hills of Auckland, New Zealand, under a native Tortora tree. This is a birthing tradition not alien in the Filipino culture as well.
The midwife-turned-photographer said in an interview with The Mirror, "As a midwife, I have come across many different cultural practices surrounding birth. The placenta is honored in many ways in different cultures around the world and in these cultures the people are often more connected to their families and to the land." Nolan adds that she took the photo to show what a physiological birth looks like as most people have never seen a baby still connected to their placenta.
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Nolan's post has been liked more than 7,500 times and shared for almost 2,000 times. Most of the 700 plus comments talk about how beautiful and amazing the photo is and some moms even shared their own placenta stories, some also burying, eating, or just taking a photo of it. It turns out that old birthing traditions still survive in this new-age world—and that one powerful photo such as this can renew interest in them.
Aside from being a vessel of nourishment, the placenta also helps in the baby’s brain development, according to Pat Levitt, of the Zlikha Neurogenetic Institute of the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine.
For the mother, there have been claims that eating the placenta as a shake or as a pill can help prevent postpartum depression and boost a new mom's energy. However, a study has since refuted that claim while citing that there are no risks in ingesting it. Nonetheless, Jodi Selander, also known as the “Placenta Lady" and runs a placenta-encapsulation business in Las Vegas, Nevada, has an excellent suggestion for moms: dry it out and scatter it in a special place. Sounds like it has the potential to become a new-age tradition.
How did you honor your placenta?
Sources: January 9, 2015. "Striking Photo Shows Newborn With Umbilical Cord That Spells ‘Love’" (yahoo.com) January 9, 2015. "This Viral Photo Of A Baby With Its Placenta Sheds Light On Different Birth Rituals" (buzzfeed.com) January 7, 2015. "Midwife celebrates 'beautiful tradition' by photographing newborn with placenta and umbilical cord spelling out 'love'" (mirror.co.uk)