Honoring Placenta Wisdom
by Sister MorningStar

[Editor’s note: This is an excerpt of an article which appears in Midwifery Today, Issue 109, Spring 2014. View other great articles and columns in the table of contents. To read the rest of this article, order your copy of Midwifery Today, Issue 109.]

Photo provided by the author

I wrote in Midwifery Today, Issue 108, about the placenta as First Mother. I talked about her link to baby via the umbilical cord and many of the marvels that link co-creates. The two are more than linked; the two arteries and one vein transport oxygen, nutrition, hormones and helpful (and sometimes harmful) environmental elements to and fro, including feelings and thoughts.

Sophie's placenta floating

Family in tub with placenta floating in boat

The placenta is the mecca and mirror of the mother’s health. There are no two alike, not even from the same mother of twins. Even a desperately deprived mother will often grow a substantial placenta—nature’s way of caring for the next generation. Placentas are literally bathing in a blood bath of seeping pools between the world of mother and baby. Women are truly “those who bleed and do not die.”

I spent hours poring over my first placenta as an apprentice. I had watched farm and domestic mammals give birth but barely saw their placentas as the mother consumed them as quickly as they birthed. But the human mother acted somewhat awed or afraid of this bloody creature that followed her pristine child. I was fascinated by the puzzle pieces: the fat lobes making a pie-shaped disc; the way it felt heavy in my hand; the smooth side for baby; the veins running like rivers meeting at a center; the cord insertion; the smell. I turned it over and over and looked again.

Sister MorningStar has dedicated a lifetime to the preservation of instinctual birth. She birthed her own daughters at home and has helped thousands of other women find empowerment through instinctual birth. She is the founder of a spiritual retreat center and author of books related to instinctual and spiritual living. She lives as a Cherokee hermitess and Catholic mystic in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri. sister@sistermorningstar.com.

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