October 27, 2009

Tree of Life

During my last pregnancy, I wanted to get a henna tattoo on my belly to symbolize the special journey I was on toward a different kind of birthing experience. In my mind, I pictured a Tree of Life, strong and grounded yet able to sway without breaking when the wind blew it. I imagined life coursing through its limbs, nourishing each twig and leaf.

Unfortunately, due to the crazy nature of our home environment before I delivered (drawn out construction etc), my plan didn’t come to fruition. But, during that time, when I felt my day careening off course, I closed my eyes, pictured my tree and tried to imagine the strength of those roots grounding me while a soft breeze refreshed me.

The amazing part of this story is that when I gave birth to my second daughter, my midwife offered me a look at the placenta. Then she asked, “Do you know there is a picture on it?” Surprised, I looked at what she was holding. There on its side of the placenta was an incredible network of veins which had nourished and sustained my daughter for nine months – in the shape of a Tree of Life.

I don’t think this is necessarily unique to me but it was a profound experience for me to see an image of the thing I had imagined all those months. In that moment, I felt an incredible gratitude and respect for this body I am privileged to inhabit – and its ability to create, nourish and sustain a tiny life within itself. Incredible.


  1. it's interesting that you would mention "looking at the placenta". It was a new thing for me. Maybe I was so out-of-it with the other kids, but with my last, Kristianna, I had the opportunity to see it. I wasn't even grossed out. I found it almost a testimony to the miraculous design of what God formed for the baby to be nurished and cared for in. The innerworking of a master hand that I saw. I was so fascinated, I kept bringing up the subject to my husband. I don't think he got it. Maybe because I had that life growing inside of me for 9 months that I had a deep appreciation for every stage of that growing life. It is a true miracle that God would have me open my eyes to see Him in the strangest places like that! As an older mom I definitely looked at my pregnancy through different eyes. Knowing it'll most likely be my last child I savored every moment. So that by the time I actually saw Kristianna she was my miracle baby, fashioned together by a Strong, Knowing, Loving, All-Powerfull Creator. I'm incredibly thankful God gifted this to me. I'd do it all over again if I could know there weren't so many risks at my age. To have such a long time span between my first two and the last one is a wonderful thing. I was able to accomplish a lot in life and then come back into motherhood again. God's timing can be such a gift!

  2. Thanks for sharing Kim!
    I definitely think both my approach to motherhood and to birth are probably very different than they would have been had I had children in my twenties. I'm glad I have the chance to do it now.
    They really are a gift, aren't they?
    p.s. I believe my midwife's last one was born in her late 40's (surprise!) and she is a lovely, brilliant child. :)


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