If you ever thought giving birth is incredibly difficult, just imagine doing it outside in subfreezing temperatures? That’s exactly what the Nenet women of Siberia do, and understanding exactly how they do it is what award-winning explorer, ethnographer, and photographer Alegra Ally set out to do. Ally is the founder of the Wild Born Project and has spent over 20 years traveling the world and spending time with indigenous people, focusing her work specifically on pregnancy and birth.
Through her travels, Ally notes that her eyes have been opened as to how other cultures don’t treat pregnancy and childbirth as a medical condition, the way Western citizens do. The explorer adds that she is particularly inspired by the women she has met. The Wild Born Project celebrates women and cultural diversity, with special focus on the resilience, roles, and power of indigenous women and girls from around the world. Over the past five years, Ally has focused on the rituals and initiations surrounding transformations into womanhood, birth preparations, and postpartum traditions.
The nonprofit invites midwives, doulas, students, and women to take part in projects focused on documenting and revitalizing the traditional knowledge of indigenous women, building birthing stations, empowering local women and girls, and exchanging knowledge with traditional midwives.
In many ways, the way you feed your baby isn’t a huge deal. With access to healthy foods and good medical care, almost all babies will fare well, whether they are breastfed or formula fed; and no mother should feel shamed because she didn’t breastfeed.
That said, it’s indisputable that breast milk has some qualities that simply can’t be replicated in formula. After all, it’s a substance produced naturally by a human mother, made and delivered specifically for her baby. Besides having a healthy balance of all the basic nutrition babies need, breast milk is chock full of disease-fighting substances and antibodies.
For example, when a baby gets a virus, and the mom is exposed to it, antibodies are produced by the mother which are then passed on to the baby via breast milk. Pretty cool, huh? Studies have shown that breastfed babies are less likely to catch viruses — and if they do catch them, they are able to fight them off fast thanks to the tailor-made medicine found in their mom’s milk.
Take a quick glance at this lab-shot demonstrating the amazing powers of breast milk in action, proving yet again that breast milk is just as incredible as we’ve been told it is.
This site is about empowering ourselves to tune into our bodies and use whole food nutrition and other natural tools to live our best lives. I have a fundamental trust in our body’s ability to do just that. Everyone will, of course, use their own discretion and judgment to determine whether they are comfortable or need to seek professional assistance. But the discussions here are centred around trusting our bodies, finding optimal nutrition for our bodies and embracing natural health. -Pat Robinson
Interesting commentary on ingesting the placenta:
- Hemorrhage preventer: you would chew a piece after birth to stop bleeding. Just enough to have it soak through your mucus membranes in your mouth should be enough.
- Timing of capsules: please do not take late in day, or evenings. Several moms reported being unable to get to sleep after doing that.
- The Mother Essence: placenta tincture is a personalised Rescue Remedy that should last a lifetime; remaining placenta can be saved and used homeopathically for those times when the child undergoes a separation from the mother e.g. when first learning to walk, when weaning or when going off to school or on a trip.
- Feeling nurtured: women who use placenta have said it makes them feel nurtured.
- Replaces nutrients: many animals, including herbivores, routinely eat their placentas as it replaces vitamins and minerals lost during the labour process.
- Feel better faster: many women who have tried it swear they feel better faster, and they do not suffer from postpartum depression because of the nutrients the placenta has given them.
Fascinating insight into the native traditions of the placenta:
- Some native tribes dried the placenta into the shape of a doll. These dolls were said to house the child’s spirit counsel.
- The leader of a Brazilian tribe was said to place his placenta out to bathe in the new sliver of moon, as a way of re-energizing himself. The placenta symbolized his external soul.
- In Bali the placenta is called the Ari-Ari and is regarded as the baby’s sibling and protector. It must never be killed by premature cutting of the cord, but allowed to die a natural death following its delivery. It lives on as the child’s lifetime guardian spirit. A child greets her placenta upon rising and prays to it for protection each night. Offerings are brought to the Ari-Ari’s burial site on new moons, full moons, and holidays.
- I have a friend who threw hers into the seal pit at the zoo and the seals ate it! The seal is one of her son’s totem animals.
- the Hawai’ians say if you have a shark totem, drop the placenta in the ocean. Also, if the placenta goes in the ocean, the child will never drown, but will leave the island as an adult.
- It has been called a harmless meat, as no creature is killed to procure it. Be sure to honour this most sacred food, and let its energy dictate the preparation.
- You can save the cord, allow it to dry and to give to your child later, perhaps at an adolescence ritual. A Native tribe used to dry it and give it to baby as a teething ring.
- Some dads like to bless themselves with the placental blood, marking themselves on the forehead, nose and chin.
- a Cherokee father walked over ridges with the placenta – one for each year he and his partner wished not to conceive. Then he buried it deep in mother earth.
- Other native traditions hold that the way a woman relates to her child’s placenta will affect her future fertility.
- Salish women of British Columbia buried their placentas with a scallop shell to give a few years rest between pregnancies.
- According to the Paiute people, if an animal ate the placenta, or if it were buried upside-down, a woman would become infertile (this begs the question: which way is right-side up?)
Return to earth:
- I buried all of my children’s placentas under trees in keeping with the heritage of returning to earth the fruits of the earth. This is a long Celtic tradition which is shared in many cultures
- Many people freeze their placentas until they get a special tree or bush in honor of the new baby. As the placenta breaks down in the soil, the tree or shrub will reap the benefits of all the nutrients packed in that placenta. Now, just enjoy watching your baby and new yard addition grow!
- Another cultural tradition is to tie the umbilical cord to a branch of the tree or shrub that is planted over the placenta.
Read more here ->