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Cord burning ceremony.

Cord burning cerimony photographed by ArtShaped Photography and Birth Services

If you have never been to a cord burning ceremony, you are in for a treat. I have been dreaming to photograph a family interested in the cord burning process and it finally happened last week, when my dear friend and fellow photographer had her 4th baby girl at home.
After birth, once mom and baby were settled, the family gathered and together they held a candle (or two) to burn and cut the cord free from baby.
While I hear that the burning process may take up to 10 minutes, this time the cord burned steady for 1 minute and then it made a dramatic pop that let the cord loose.
In the past the cord burning ceremony was also a way of preventing infection after bleeding and therefore a method of sterilization when medical supplies were scarse.
The high heat sterilizes the tissue of the cord which typically has two arteries and a vein surrounded by protective Worton’s Jellyand, creating a clot that stops the bleeding.
But to me cord burning is also a rite of passage for mom, baby and the whole family; as it is a gentler way for baby to disconnect from her mother and a more compassionate experience for the mother to leave the pregnancy and childbirth stage and enter the post partum period.
It is linked to concept of mother roasting that is often practiced by Chinese medicine to keep mothers warm immediately after the birth and in the weeks that follow.
 
A cord burning ceremony is therefore, a way to seal the gateway between the here and there, heaven and earth.
Freeing baby from the placenta, which has been his main companion and source of life for months. Releasing baby from the world as he knows it until now and initiating him to literally a new life and indipendence.
 

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