Behold the magnificent moment captured by midwife turned photographer Emma Jean Nolan, of a newborn Maori baby whose umbilical cord, still attached to the placenta that nourished him in the womb, is positioned to spell out the apropos word “love.” Nolan shot the image 90 minutes after baby Harper was born, with the intention of drawing attention to the ancient Maori tradition, which she elaborates on in her Facebook post writing, “As a Maori baby his placenta will now be returned to the land. The word ‘whenua’ relates to the placenta and to the land. Whenua (placenta) is returned to the whenua (land) with the pito (umbilical cord) the link between the newborn and papatuanuku (mother earth). With this affinity established, each individual fulfills the role of curator, for papatuanuku (mother earth), which remains life long.”

According to, “Harper’s placenta will be buried on his grandfather’s farm in the Bombay Hills of Auckland, New Zealand, under a native totara tree.”

The vast majority of women in America don’t even lay eyes on their baby’s placenta due to hospital policy, or because they aren’t aware of the options available to them with regard to their placenta. For instance, our editor-in-chief had a wonderful experience eating her placenta, which you can read about here. There are also myriad ways you can pay homage to your placenta. See five fun things to do with your placenta, from making it into a teddy bear to making art prints.

Image via Emma Jean Photography on Facebook