Plant Five for Life and DYCLE - Diaper Cycle are collaboratively exploring cross-cultural connections to landscapes from birth across generations. This week we are asking the question:
How did your parents celebrate your birth?
Honestly I did not know how my parents celebrated my birth in Japan. Did they plant fruit tree for me, as DYCLE offers parents to do so? Surprisingly, my mother in Japan answered me that she bought a jewerly for her reward. When my elder sister was born, she bought a big white pearl and when I was born, she bought a small shining ruby. She shared that she will gift them to my sister and me later, but the pearl was already stolen few years ago... (my mother laughed). My sister and myself were also celebrated at a church in Nagasaki back then. I learned during this conversation that my mother went a long time beforehaving children. (Ayumi, DYCLE founder, Germany, 30+).
I asked the same question to my mother how her parents celebrated when she was born.
My mother answered "probably my mother, 94 years old, already forgot how they celebrated it" (yukiko, ayumi's mother, japan, 60+) So I called my grandmother.
My grandmother clearly answered that my grandfather observed the traditional custom of the area. He buried her placenta into their land. Normally people in her generation buried it in their land, while almost everybody gave birth to babies at homes. She was not sure of the exact location of it but probably around her bitter orange tree in her garden. After receiving this amazing answer from my grandmother, I explained it to my mother. She was very impressed by the story.
I asked further my grandmother how her parents celebrated when she was born.
My grandmother answered "I know that my parents also buried my mother's placenta in our land. In my generation, people were still used to observing this custom. Moreover, those who did not have their own land, asked a professional person to collect their fresh placenta from their home. I do not know who was collecting for which reasons. You should ask elder japanese midwives. They should know it." (masako, ayumi’s grandmother, japan, 90+)
I asked the same question to Christian, my DYCLE member. He is from Germany.
"My mother and my father did not do anything special, when myself and my sister were born. They were just happy that we were there. My mother kept the name tags that were first attached to us in hospital. In those times my father could not be present at birth. He had to wait outside and children were taken away from mothers a lot and only given for breast feeding. She said, today there is much more awareness and sensibility." (Christian, DYCLE member, Germany, 40+)
And Christian continued the same question to his family.
"I asked my mother about birth rituals or celebration. She said there were no traditions from her parents, people were busy with other things after the war so older habits might have gotten lost." (Margret, Christian's mother, Germany, 60+)
If you are interested in more stories, visit Plant Five for Life and contribute your own.
You can share your with us by commenting below, by sending an email to email@example.com or posting via #ForestBirthStories. Feel free to add your first name, country of origin and age.