tree of life


When I gave birth last year here at home, there were already long held plans of what I was going to do with my placenta. I wanted to plant it, to honour it and give it the respect it deserved by planting a tree over it. My only slight problem, was that I didn’t have access to dirt, real in the ground dirt.

My images of planting a tree, that would one day be metres and metres tall, providing shade and perhaps some sort of food that my grown up children could eat from, would have to be slightly deviated from. (We live in a rented apartment, with a small shared courtyard.) There were no substitute backyards to choose from for us and I wasn’t convinced some guerilla gardening placenta style in our local park would work with long term results.

So with that in mind, we kept it frozen in an ice cream container until the right day came along.

Finally the time felt right. A large pot was bought and filled, ready to take in the precious cargo. I still hadn’t quite decided on what plant was going to go in, but I was ready to make the first step in honouring our placenta. After some whispered personal words, and a few fascinated pokes, prods and careful watching from the little people. I covered it with soil. Loosely covering the top of the pot with another pot, so no neighbouring dogs would try to investigate. I could then let the placenta gently break down before having something planted over it.

One month went by, and it had completely broken down. Every little part of it. You would never have known what was once there. Magic.

Now I just had to decide what to go over the top?

I narrowed it down to a citrus or an olive tree. Something that could handle being in a pot and wouldn’t mind the somewhat brief sunlight that my little courtyard could offer it.  I talked with Nick from Milkwood to see what he suggested and a cumquat came up. I felt a bit mean initially, as I was the only who actually liked them. But I did like them, actually I loved them, and maybe one day this little girl would love them too. What sold me completely was standing before the ‘Australian Cumquat’ in the nursery and seeing the sign say, “hardy” and “well suited to pots”. I think this was our plant.

chocolate mint

I have had a few strange looks from people when I’ve mention what we did. However, now  the idea of just tossing the placenta in a bin or incinerator sounds far more ridiculous and less than respectful to me. Our ‘Australian Cumquat’ has been planted, and along with it some companion plants along side it, (trying to think along permaculture lines.)


mint and lemon balm

Chocolate Mint, chives, and alyssums for keeping moisture in, (instead of using mulch and being useful at the same time.) Plants chosen for being edible or encouraging of bees, hopefully not going to compete for too much root space and fragrant enough to deter pests. Two pots either side of this now also have regular mint and lemon balm. On the other side rosemary- which also flowers, encouraging bees and has a pest deterring fragrance. Above the cumquat on the fence line, more sweet scented alyssum.

I’m hoping I’ve got it right and these plants will all be happy where they are. At the very least, I’ve now got a tiny once concrete corner that is already bringing joy. Just knowing that in our tiny backyard space, our plants are doing what that precious placenta first set out to do, bringing life.

A tree of life.



If you are thinking about planting your own tree of life, some sites that might be helpful.

Birth to Earth

Tips for planting a placenta fruit tree.

How about you? Are there any particular cultural customs that you observe? Have you planted a placenta?

the halo effect (and a giveaway)

I’ve sat here trying to find the right words for this post, and everything has got slowly repeatedly deleted. Why am I finding it so difficult to put in to words what is sitting so comfortably in my heart?

I’ll try to explain…

Last week I went to a screening of Face of Birth. A documentary on pregnancy, childbirth, choices and where Australia currently sits with those choices. I’d been looking forward to seeing it for a long time, and the premiere week was finally here.

It was wonderful. AB.SO.LUTE.LY wonderful.

Yet sitting here now with my decaf coffee, my newborn sleeping peacefully near by, and my fingers paused over keyboard… I still hesitate to find the right words. Partly due to a mushy baby brain and partly due to the fact I have so many thoughts and emotions racing around my head that they seem to be tripping over themselves.

Tripping aside, what I do know is that birth is important, it’s so incredibly important and this documentary is an absolutely beautiful look at why it is. The film looks at a number of different women and their choices, along with experts in the field (Ina May Gaskin, Michel Odent, Dr Andrew Bisits) and their thoughts on how things are in the birthing world at the moment. This is a film for teen girls yet to even contemplate pregnancy, young women not having given birth before, pregnant mamas, partners, mums to one, mums to many, fathers, grandparents… anyone who thinks choice is important.

Nearly four weeks ago I birthed my third babe. A waterbirth at home, my third baby, but my first homebirth.

It was the most exhilarating, joyous, empowering, truly magical experience of my life, and I would choose to do it again in a heart beat. I’m so very thankful that I was given that option of midwife led care while pregnant. The whole experience is the founding block of something wonderful. What that is I’m yet to find out but I know that it sits there, and it can never be taken from me.

While my words for this post still sit tripping over themselves, I’m still going to press publish. As if I don’t, it could be quite some time before I find the right structure to really convey how I feel in a coherent way. Time doesn’t wait and now is the time to see this wonderful film.

If you would like to see it I have one to give away. Just leave a message in the comments below and I will draw a winner on Monday the 26th of March. (Or you can buy your own copies here.)

* The picture above was of a ice sun ring, or 22 degree halo effect I saw during the week. For two weeks after I gave birth I was blessed with a magical babymoon period. The wonderful hormone oxytocin was running high, and I felt well and truly surrounded by a bubble of love. Just like this ice sun ring, there was an almost halo effect here at home surrounding us as we all got to know our little girl.


** Congratulations to Kari @ Bite Sized Thoughts on winning the dvd.**