Placenta Wit: Mother Stories, Rituals, and Research

placenta wit final cover4

Price: $34.95

Page Count: 232

Publication Date: May, 25 2017

ISBN: 978-1-77258-107-2

Placenta Wit is an interdisciplinary anthology of stories, rituals, and research that explores mothers’ contemporary and traditional uses of the human afterbirth. Authors inspire, provoke and highlight diverse understandings of the placenta and its role in mothers’ creative life-giving. Through medicalization of childbirth, many North American mothers do not have access to their babies’ placentas, nor would many think to. Placentas are often considered to be medical property, and/ or viewed as the refuse of birth. Yet there is now greater understanding of motherand baby-centred birth care, in which careful treatment of the placenta and cord can play an integral role. In reclaiming birth at home and in clinical settings, mothers are choosing to keep their placentas. There is a revival, and survival, of family and community rituals with the placenta and umbilical cord, including burying, art making, and consuming for therapeutic use. Claiming and honouring the placenta may play a vital role in understanding the sacredness of birth and the gift of life that mothers bring. Placenta Wit gathers narrative accounts, scholarly essays, creative pieces and artwork from this emergence of placental interests and uses. This collection includes understandings from birth cultures and communities such as home-birth, hospital-birth, midwifery, doula, Indigenous, and feminist perspectives. Once lost, now found, Placenta Wit authors capably handle and care for this wise organ at the roots of motherhood, and life itself.

“Nané Jordan’s anthology, Placenta Wit, is completely fresh and original; the concept of “placental thinking” is striking and the essays are compelling—intelligent and persuasive. The book reads like the unfolding of a profound mystery, but with absolutely fascinating scientific evidence and support material. There is much wisdom and spirituality in these expositions!”
—VICKI NOBLE, author of Shakti Woman: Feeling Our Fire, Healing Our World, and
The Double Goddess: Women Sharing Power

“Placenta Wit merges theory and practice from a diversity of cultures and perspectives, to champion this primal organ that cries out from implantation and critical birthing moments to its re-emergence in transition rituals — for respect and ethical human decision-making. Sound evidence evolves from the lived experience of mothers, midwives, and holistic health practitioners, harmonizing the placenta’s molecular, genetic, and symbolic endowments, to deftly challenge the patriarchal, often dismissive metaphors and rituals of the biomedical model. These life-affirming and culturally sensitive metaphors and practices for the care and disposition of the placenta, which together effect the relational human beings that we shall become, will stay with practitioners and scholars long after their first reading of Placenta Wit.”
—DOROTHY LANDER, Arts-in-Health Researcher, Antigonish, Nova Scotia

Placenta Wit: Mother Stories, Rituals, and Research
edited by Nané Jordan
Demeter Press

Table of Contents

Nané Jordan


Placenta Consumption: Fourth-Trimester Energy Force and Source of Empowerment
Jonelle Myers

Beyond the Birth Room: Building a Placenta-Positive Culture
Amy Stenzel

Slightly Inappropriate, but Really Brilliant
Nicole Link-Troen

“I’m just going to give you the injection for the placenta”:
Active Management of the Third Stage and the Myth of Informed Consent
Alys Einion

“Placental Waste”: Wild Boys, Blood-Clot Boys, and Long-Teeth Boys
Barbara Alice Mann

Discourses of Love and Loss: The Placenta at Home
Emily Burns

Artful Pause
Photographic artwork by Jodi Selander and Catherine Moeller


A Medal for Birth
Molly Remer

Planting our Placentas
Farah Mahrukh Coomi Shroff

Circling the Red Tent
Alison Bastien

Hélène Cixous: Matrix Writrix
Marie-Dominique Garnier

The Amazing Placenta
The Placenta’s Behavioural and Structural Peculiarities
Amyel Garnaoui

Placental Thinking: The Gift of Maternal Roots
Nané Jordan

Artful Pause
Artwork by Amanda Greavette and Nané Jordan


Bledsung of the Placenta: Women’s Blood Power at the Sacred Roots of Economics
Polly Wood

A Placenta by any Other Name
Valerie Borek

“Baby’s Life is in the Placenta Only”: Hearing Dais’ Voices in India
Janet Chawla

Placenta Wit and Chick Lit:
A Close Textual Analysis of “The Lost Journals of Sylvia Plath” by Kimberly Knutsen
Judy E. Battaglia

Snakes, Berries and Bears: A Father’s Placenta Story
Chris Cordoni

Nané Jordan, PhD, is a scholar-artist-educator and mother of two teenage daughters, with a working background in pre-regulation Canadian midwifery and postpartum doula care. She is currently working as a sessional lecturer in art education at the University of British Columbia, and was recently a SSHRC postdoctoral fellow in women’s and gender studies at the University of Paris 8, France. Her love of placentas continues through her birthwork, art, and writing, as does her research into mothering, feminist arts, midwifery/birth, women’s spirituality, and transformative education. Nané has published widely on these topics in a number of anthologies and journals. She lives in Vancouver with her husband and daughters, where she takes opportunities to admire the placental roots and branches of West Coast trees.