*If any of these photos are not accessible from here you can see them on my blog here
After my daughter was lotus born we cut her dried umbilical cord from her placenta, wrapped the placenta and remaining part of the cord still attached in plastic wrap and placed it in the back of our freezer to keep. We had planned to defrost the placenta and plant it with a pot plant on her first birthday. During the year we found out about placenta prints and decided we would like to make our own on the anniversary of her lotus birth (the day her cord detached from her belly button).
We made two different styles of placenta prints; the traditional blood print and a paint print on canvas. The following instructions are specifically for those who had a lotus birth and froze their placentas after they naturally detached from their babies. They can also be of use to parents who did not have a lotus birth, disregard steps about defrosting.
Instructions for Making a Blood Placenta Print From a Lotus Born Placenta
You will need
- Good quality water-colour paper
- Placenta that has not completely dried out and still has some blood on it
Instructions for Making a Paint on Canvas Placenta Print From a Lotus Born Placenta
. We removed the placenta from our freezer and left to defrost.
Once defrosted we unwrapped our placenta and found that despite being dry when we first froze it, the defrosting process had made our placenta bloody again and perfect for making prints.
We gently placed the placenta onto our water colour paper and let it sit their briefly, there was no need to press the placenta into the paper. We continued to do this on the page until we felt our image was complete.
This style of printing is ideal for lotus born placentas that are too dry to create blood prints with.
You will need
- Paint in whatever colours you would like (we chose to use acrylic paint because it is easy to spread and less expensive than other kinds of paint).
(also in this picture water-colour paper wrapped up)
Step 1. We removed the placenta from our freezer and left to defrost.
Step 2. Once defrosted we unwrapped our placenta. Because you are using paint instead of blood as your main medium it does not matter whether or not the placenta is still bloody.
Step 3. Pour your paint onto a flat surface, gently dip one side of your placenta into the paint.
Step 4. Gently place the paint covered side of your placenta onto the canvas.
If you would like to use more than one colour, thoroughly rinse the paint side of your placenta, gently massage the placenta, helping to remove any paint from it. Then repeat steps 3 and 4 with a new colour.
Step 6. Once you have finished using your placenta to make paint prints thoroughly rinse the placenta under running water, always handle the placenta gently. It is important to wash paint off the placenta as soon as you have finished with a particular colour, to ensure that no paint dries to the placenta (in case you wish to bury it later).
Step 7. Once the print is complete you can wrap the placenta up in fresh plastic wrap and return to the freezer until such time as you would like to bury it under your garden or with a pot plant, or you can plant it straight away.
Step 8. Wash you hands thoroughly.
Things to Consider
- Work swiftly (but don't rush, always handle the placenta with care) to avoid the blood or paint on the placenta drying before you are finished.
- Handling the organ that was once inside you, who kept your child alive for many months, that in the beginning was the same cells as the child you now care for each day, can be quite an emotional experience. Be ready for certain feelings to come up for you while making a placenta print. Make sure that those present for the printing process are sympathetic loved ones who appreciate the significance of the placenta and who will honour any feelings you might experience while making a placenta print.
- Don't get caught up in making the print look like something in particular. The print will be what it will be. Every placenta is different and so every print is unique. Much like birth, you have little control over what the end product will look like. Rather than focusing on what your art will look like when you're done, stay present to the moment and enjoy gently handling your placenta, reflecting upon your child's lotus birth and how far you've come since those early days.
- Once defrosted your placenta will smell much the same as it did the day that you froze it. Scent has a powerful way of overwhelming us with memories, be prepared to be taken back to those early days of your child's life.
Our daughter with one of her placenta prints
If you would like to read our lotus birth story click here.