*if you’re more of a hater then this blog post might not be for you… just saying…
I’m not normally one to be embarrassed by my own actions but I must admit I did find myself cringing into my glass of vino when I overheard hubby on the phone to his mother, rather proudly I might add, asking her if she's seen the photos of my placenta on Facebook… Yes, that’s right, my PLACENTA!
At this point you’re undoubtedly thinking I followed in the steps of Kim Kardashian and ate it but no, I popped it in the freezer alongside the fish fingers and frozen peas and, 6 sleep deprived months later, I finally defrosted it and got to work creating some beautiful placenta prints before planting it in a large terracotta pot with a beautiful olive tree that was gifted to me by my lovely mum and dad.
Although I had toyed with the idea of placenta encapsulation early on in my pregnancy with Phoebe I decided against it after my 12 week scan showed there were two foetuses in my womb… but only one had a heartbeat. As our lost twin remained visible at the 20 week scan I was advised by my midwife that it would eventually be reabsorbed and flattened from the pressure of the surviving twin to ultimately form part of my placenta (fetus compressus). I struggled with feelings of loss throughout my pregnancy and often felt quite freaked out by the idea of the deceased foetus still being inside me alongside my healthy baby girl. I found it hard to announce my pregnancy as my joy was always tinged with sadness and, in hindsight, I think I worried more about my surviving baby knowing that one baby had not made it.
Phoebe was born at home on 12 June 2017 (Zodiac sign Gemini - symbolised the Twins...). A calm, powerful, intense, natural birth. I opted for a physiological third stage and delivered my placenta naturally. The midwives routinely checked the placenta and confirmed that they could see evidence of the lost twin. In the knowledge that my placenta had not only given life to my beautiful newborn daughter but also held the tiny remains of Phoebe's twin, it felt incredibly precious. I wasn't ready or able to part with it so, after doing a bit of research, made the decision to bury it (I chose to use a large terracotta pot so it can come with me if we ever move house) and plant an olive tree over it.
When the time came to get the sacred icecream tub out of the freezer and plant my precious placenta I couldn't help but create some prints, having taken inspiration from some beautiful images on Pinterest. The process of making the placenta prints was trickier than I had first anticipated and it took several attempts before I got a print that I was completely happy with. That said, I am still planning to work with the other placenta prints taken, tracing over the fine lines and texture with pen and ink to create more artistic images, drawing on the 'Tree of Life' concept.
So, there we have it. Placenta art... you either love it or hate it but nobody can deny the powerful, life-giving role of the placenta and how significant it can be for many mothers. My placenta was not only a temporary little part of me but encompassed all that was left of Phoebe's twin.
I treasure my placenta print that now takes pride of place in my home and would be honoured to create placenta prints and keepsakes for others. If you're thinking of making your own placenta prints and would like some advice on how to do it and get the best results please just get in touch. Alternatively, if you are local to Bournemouth, I would be happy to work with you to create your own unique piece of placenta art.
Zoe Keeping - Artist/Owner of Rock the Bump pregnant belly casting, mum to three happy little hooligans, lucky to live with hubby and best friend Ryan in sunny, sunny Bournemouth. Love music, food, festivals, tattoos, real ale, camping, wildlife, flowers, birds, baking and art.