Planting Juniper's Placenta

Sunday, June 01, 2008

When I was pregnant with Juniper and planning a homebirth, the thought crossed my mind that I would save her placenta and plant it in my garden. When my midwives put on my list of supplies to gather for her homebirth a container for her placenta, it reaffirmed what I already knew I wanted to do. Her placenta has been in our freezer since her homebirth, because I've been waiting for the right plant to come to mind--a plant with personal significance to her and I that would always grow happily in our garden. After browsing Juniper shrubs and trees over the weekend, I decided a Juniperus species wasn't quite right somehow, but a Rosa rugosa, which will bear rose hips after flowering, was just the plant I had been looking for. Rose hips are synonymous with my memories of being pregnant and giving birth to Juniper. During my pregnancy with her, I kept fresh rose hips around the house, and they were in a vase in the room in which she was born. For some reason, I was drawn to rose hips when I was pregnant with her, so I decided a Rosa rugosa would be just the right plant to commemorate Juniper's birth.

I purchased special granite cobblestones to elevate the site where I would plant Juniper's placenta and the Rosa rugosa, which will put forth white or pink flowers before bearing hips in late summer or early fall. The Rosa rugosa is the plant near me, while the plant to the front of the photo is a Poncirus trifoliata, which will go into another section of the garden, probably as a container plant for a few years.

It's now time to dig a hole for the placenta, which I placed about 18 inches to 2 feet down to ensure it would not be dug up by a wild animal.

Here is Juniper's placenta, what kept her alive and nourished her for nine months--the organ that connected her to my life energy, giving her all the nutrients she needed to thrive until she was born.

Here I place it in the ground, where it will decompose and create a rich environment for a new plant to spring to life in our garden.

The umbilical cord is visible along the top of the placenta, one of the most amazing organs, vital to the survival of all living creatures.

Juniper's Rosa rugosa finds a new home, where it will grow for many years to come . . .

. . . and each time I look out my window at its blossoms and hips, I will remember my pregnancy, giving birth to her at home on that bright and sunny Monday afternoon in December, and the special person she is to our family.


Aviva said...

Wow, what a beautiful reminder of your pregnancy and Juniper's birth. And so cool that you shared all of it with us. I remember when I gave birth, the OB asked if we wanted to see the placenta, but I had no interest then. I think it's cool to see what one looks like, and I sort of wish we had saved Ellie's and planted it too. ... Although since we think we will eventually move from this house, I guess I'd still have it in the freezer since I wouldn't want to plant it and then move away. (I also have angst about moving away from my "Cathy tree," which was planted with a baggie worth of ashes from my best friend.)

Anyway, a beautiful post. Thanks for sharing all those great photos too!

R said...

A really beautiful idea and post.

Jeremy said...

I love it Karli... and I love the pictures! It's such a sweet idea and a beautiful reminder.

Mermaid Pegasus said...

I loved reading about this. We are having a placenta planting to honor my daughter on her first birthday on a tall hill in Portland. We will then plant a tree on her 2nd birthday. Thanks so much for taking the time to blog the photos and text, and to share your special day.

Anonymous said...

Karli--I'm so moved by your process and description of your connection to Juniper's placenta and birth. You demonstrate such thoughtfulness and mindfulness--for yourself and sweet Juniper.

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