Different cultures around the world have either a myth, ritual or cultural practices surrounding the disposal of the placenta. Some of these rites are still practiced till these day while some have been stoped.
The placenta is a vascular organ that develops within the uterus during pregnancy. Attached by the umbilical cord to the baby, the placenta discharges shortly after birth; thus, it is often called the afterbirth. Since it is the structure through which the fetus receives nourishment, many cultures consider it rich in nutrients and an extra
Among the yorubas the burying of a baby’s placenta is a tradition that is carried out mostly by the father or in his absence by a member of his family or anybody the wife chooses and trust to do it in the absence of her husband.
The Yorubas called it “ibi”, which literally means the world is a vicissitude of the “good, the bad and the ugly" so the baby is the good and the placenta is the bad. So good one which is the baby is taken home, while the bad which is the placenta is burried because it is believed we cannot take something that is bad home. This tradition has been right from time and has been emulated over the years.
In some cases the placenta might refuse to come out so there are traditional ways of forcing it out of the womb. One of the ways according to culture is to put a ladle in a hot water, pour palm oil on it and place it on the tongue of the woman. The heat that is produced from the oil will push out the placenta after she is asked to push. While in a severe case it can be called out of the womb using incantation.
While among the Igbo people of Nigeria, for instance, the mother chooses a place at the foot of a young tree, the more fruitful, the better. The chosen palm tree, banana, breadfruit, or plantain tree will become the child’s tree, and Igbo beliefs hold that it will then give as many fruits as the child has successes throughout his life. It is also a way to bind the child to the earth, and to that special place in his community.
Some other superstitious beliefs are attached to the placenta such as if a dogs digs up the placenta of a child where it is buried such child will become promiscuous for the rest of its life. While some others belief that a baby must not see its own placenta as it is a taboo. Others have attached so much spirituality to it that if your enemy see or knows where one's placenta is being buried he can do evil to it and render the person useless.
How do you dispose the placenta in your own culture or what is your view or belief about such practices ?
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