In many cultures around the world the Placenta and the cord are regarded as sacred. The placenta has been the life source for your baby and formed the sacred connection between mother and baby. Grandmother Midwife Ibu Robin Lim calls it the ‘forgotten chakra’ a concept she explains thoroughly in her book.
Many choose to consume their placenta, however if this isn't something suited to you then planting your placenta is a great alternative. Holding a ceremony is a wonderful way to honour the placenta and the life it gave to your baby while he or she was growing in the womb. Some people combine this with a naming ceremony which can be a private affair or a family celebration. This is a wonderful way for children siblings to be involved and to welcome the new baby into the family.
Choosing the tree or plant.
You may want to spend some time thinking about the type of tree, shrub or flower you will plant with your placenta. Consider it’s meaning and also the time of year that it will bloom. For example, if you have an April baby you may want to choose a cherry tree or other spring flower. For March babies daffodils and certain shrubs and trees hold significant meanings.
I’ve included a few below:
Cherry blossom tree: Fragility of life, beauty, joy and patience.
Magnolia tree: Dignity, gentleness and beauty.
Crab apple tree: Abundance, fertility, love, health
Alder tree: Protection, strength, determination, goddess tree
Hawthorn: Love, fertility, protection, is also known as the fairy tree
Rowan tree: Wards off evil spirits, protection, courage and wisdom
Weeping Willow: Adapatbility, wisdom, resiliance, trust
How to plant your placenta
Ideally the placenta should be starting to decompose before it is planted. If it is in the freezer then take it out and expose it to the air. You want to make sure you have it placed in a bowl or other container to avoid leaking.
Choose the area you would like to plant the placenta and tree, shrub or flower in. Some people even plant the placenta in what will become a vegetable garden as it makes a great fertiliser.
You may wish to choose to plant your placenta in a deep pot. This is especially useful if you think you may move house or you don’t have space to plant into the ground. You need to plant the placenta deep enough that animals will not be able to get to it. This is especially important if you have dogs. Aim to plant it about half a metre deep.
Start with a small amount of soil, next, place in the placenta. Add more soil, then your tree, shrub or seeds, lastly, add the remaining soil.
Looking after the tree
In the first week it will require watering 2 to 3 times, after this it will need watering just once a week. Check the instructions on the tree you plant and pay attention to it's sunlight requirements.
Each year remove the top ⅓ layer of soil and replace with new soil.
Creating a meaningful ceremony
Your placenta planting ceremony will be unique to you and your family. It can be as big or small as you wish. It is usually an intimate celebration, a way to meaningfully celebrate and welcome your baby into your family, your life, and to thank and honour the placenta for the job it successfully completed.
Some families choose to include poems, readings, songs, and speeches. If you have older children, they can think of how they would like to contribute to the celebration. I have included a few of my favourite poems readings and songs below.
Once you have set a date for the tree planting ceremony, you can consider who you would like to join you. Some parents choose a celebrant to facilitate the ceremony but you can also do this yourself or even ask somebody you know.
Some other things to consider are; decorating the garden, will you serve food or drink and will these be served either inside or outside? Asking someone else to take photographs or video is also a great idea so you can capture the special memories.
As your baby gets older you can watch the tree grow together. Take your baby out to the tree often and point out the changes in the tree.
Each year on the child’s birthday you can gather around it as a family to sing to the child or hang wishes on the tree. It then becomes a very special place for that child and your family.
I hope you found this information useful. I would love to hear your stories and see your photos if you wish to share your own tree planting ceremonies, or, if you have any other ideas that you have done to honour the placenta and the life it gave your baby.
Readings and Poems
‘Love you more’ by James Carter
Do I love you to the moon and back?
No I love you more than that
I love you to the desert sands
the mountains, stars
the planets and
I love you to the deepest sea
and deeper still through history
Before beyond I love you then
I love you now
I’ll love you when
The sun’s gone out
the moon’s gone home
and all the stars are fully grown
When I no longer say these words
I’ll give them to the wind, the birds
so that they will still be heard
I love you
From A Poem for Every Night of the Year
Welcome by Selina Denton
Welcome to sunlight
Welcome to the soft rain on your face
Welcome to the rush of the wind
Welcome to the hush of the sea
Welcome to much joy and a little sorrow
Welcome to birdsong
Welcome to music and laughter
Welcome to the leaves on the tree
Welcome to the miracle of words
Welcome to the whispering of rivers
Welcome to dreaming
Welcome to everything you can see and name
Welcome to your mother’s care
Welcome to your father’s smile
Welcome to the love of all here
Welcome to the world
Wishing you many smiles and happy times to come.
May life’s adventures be exciting and sweet
Filled with love from the friends that you’ll meet
You’ll soon grow up for time does fly
So cherish each moment as it goes by
From crawling and walking,
To toddling and talking
There’s no knowing what you’ll do next
There’s a threshold to cross and a wide open door
And a wonderful world for you to explore
Sleep with the moonbeams and play in the sun
Let your life be a long one and filled with fun
May today and tomorrow and all days hereafter
Be days that are happy and filled with your laughter.
We wish you a childhood full of fun and games
And we wish you memories that have little pain.
We wish you to learn by making mistakes.
We wish you to love and never to hate.
We wish you the strength to make up your own mind
But we wish that your heart will be gentle and kind.
We wish you to reach out when a friend needs a hand
And we wish you to help him face life’s demand.
We wish your life brings you some ups and some downs.
But we wish you will smile much more than you’ll frown.
We wish you will taste life’s ‘Sweet smell of success’.
Only to find no replacement for true love and happiness.
We wish life will teach you to stand on your own.
But we wish you to know that you’re never alone.
We wish you success in all that you do.
And we hope that all your dreams will come true.
But the one thing above and beyond all of this
Is the love that is felt by your ‘Parents’ Wish’
If you’re in Northamptonshire or within 2 hours, I offer naming day and placenta planting ceremonies. I’d be delighted to talk to you about how I can facilitate your baby’s special day.
You can contact me to enquire on availability or with any questions firstname.lastname@example.org