One mother shares her ritual of burying her placenta

One mother shares her ritual of burying her placenta

It’s a mild autumn night. While singing, a procession of my closest female friends is moving into the backyard.

I am kneeling down to touch it for the first time. Holding the umbilical cord, I am pulling the placenta out of the bag in which her inedible part has been frozen for the last four months (I drank the edible part in fruit smoothies the week after giving birth). How interesting to hold my own organ in my hands! The organ that was created by my body to nourish a new little being. The organ that secreted all the magical and crazy pregnancy hormones. The organ that provided my baby with nutrients and enabled him to breathe. The organ that protected him against infections and supplied him the required antibodies before he was born. The organ that my body created just for this. It is the only organ that a female body creates for a single use.

I feel bittersweet sadness for something dead that fully completed its purpose. I am putting the placenta gently into the hole in the ground with great honour and gratitude. Around her I am wrapping the umbilical cord. For a moment I re-experience the emotions of when these white ropes of arteries and veins connected me with my son. When a different one connected me with my mother. And then the moment of first complete separation, weird regret as well as a desire to have my body back for myself. Pain, dread, beauty, tenderness, exhaustion.

I am putting my placenta into the soil and with her my former self. From now on, I am mother. There is a lot of me that had to die in order to become her. And the process of transformation will continue in a different form to the end of my life. I was different as a mother of a newborn; I am different as a mother of a four-month-old baby; I will be different as a mother of a toddler, of a preschool boy, of a pupil, of a teenager, of an adult man and, maybe one day, a parent too. Into the soil I am putting the victim within to a peaceful sleep. The child in me that indulges self-pity and tries to find compassion in others. The child in me that blames people around her for her wounds. The child that believes that, with tears, she will be more loved in her weaknesses than in her power. It is the first time that I am not trying to violently kill this part of myself and throw it away, but rather to understand what kind of role it had in my life and why. I imagine her like a very fragile grey being that holds me tight because she knows that, without me, she can’t survive in her current form. It is time to say goodbye.

Next to her I am putting down somebody else – the bright, perfect, powerful superwoman who manages everything. The one who doesn’t need help, controls her emotions, fulfils her potential fully and sets others a brilliant example. I see it clearly now – the desire to embody this image is as damaging as playing the victim role.

In my palms, covered in blood, I gather soft, dark soil. While the other women sing mantras, I throw the soil on my placenta, on the victim-me and on the superwoman-me. Then it is time for the women to add what they want to bury. Something that had an important function in their lives before but is not serving them anymore. One after the other they put their non-functional feelings, behaviour patterns, dynamics into this very special grave. Some write it on pieces of paper, some just say it in their minds.

We are holding each other’s hands, feeling deep solidarity and magic. I am transcending myself as an individual being. The mantras are turning into animal sounds that transform into crazy laughter. The energy shifts.


Eva Živa Blažková is a mother and self-taught artist with a background in socio-cultural anthropology. Sacred womanhood is the main theme of Eva’s various creative expressions. She tries to bring rituals back into modern life, especially rites of passage and those connected to the moon. 


Published in issue 66. Accurate at the time this issue went to print. 

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