Midwife photographs baby’s umbilical cord spelling out the word ‘love’

Posted by
Sejal Kapadia Pocha

Many people have never seen a baby still connected to their placenta. 

Now, in a bid to raise awareness of an old Maori tradition which celebrates every physiological part of childbirth, one woman has captured the image of a baby with its umbilical cord arranged to spell out the word "love".

Midwife-turned-photographer, Emma Jean Nolan, snapped the picture 90 minutes after baby Harper was born in New Zealand last week and shared the image on Facebook alongside a caption explaining a long-standing Maori ritual where the placenta is buried into the ground to form a link between the child and mother nature:

"Whenua (placenta) is returned to the whenua (land) with the pito (umbilical cord) the link [forms] between the newborn and papatuanuku(mother earth)," she wrote. "With this affinity established, each individual fulfils the role of curator, for papatuanuku (mother earth), which remains life long." 

The 30-year-old's photograph has been shared almost 1,000 times and received over 470 comments saluting the tradition on the social network.

Baby's placenta

Nolan explains, "I knew it was important to talk about the Maori tradition in my post, as the placenta is not something that is appreciated or honoured in the Western culture.

"It is generally discarded, ignored and considered disgusting. However without the placenta none of us would be here.

"In a time when we are so disconnected from ourselves, our history and each other, the response to this image clearly shows that we all still crave a connection."

Harper's parents Jolene Spies and Johann Spies will now bury his placenta on his grandfather's farm in the Bombay Hills of Auckland, New Zealand, under a native Tortora tree.

In response to the image, women have been sharing stories of how they honoured their newborn's placenta, from burying it with trees to encapsulating it (the practice of ingesting the placenta for its health benefits after it has been turned into pill form).


Share this article


Sejal Kapadia Pocha

Sejal Kapadia Pocha covers stories about everything from women’s issues to cult foods. She describes herself as a balance between Hermione and Luna Lovegood.

Related Posts