by LINDY ALEXANDER
I have a placenta in my freezer.
It’s been there since the birth of my son in February. I had to sign it out of the birthing centre, and then it was officially ours. We took the placenta (I never know if I should refer to it as my placenta or my son’s?) home in a bright yellow bag with the words “biohazard” written firmly on the side. I wrapped it in a black garbage bag and put it in the freezer. It was at that point that I started to wonder what I had done.
While I was pregnant I read that in many cultures it’s customary to plant a tree (usually a fruiting one) in honour of a new baby. I had given some of my friends fruit trees as gifts for their new arrivals, as I love the idea of giving something that wouldn’t outgrow in a season, but rather that would track nature’s seasons and grow as they grew. And it seemed logical to my pregnant brain that I wanted to give the placenta to the earth to nourish the roots of a tree. If we end in the ground, why not also start there?