birth culture

My beautiful friend Natalia gave birth to her daughter, at home, in the water, last September. Natalia recently told me the story of her rich Aboriginal culture and the rituals surrounding her birth and she’s given me permission to share it here, with you.

In her inspiring words:

“…When I went to the Coorong, Murray River, for my first visit I knew I wanted to sit in the dirt with the Aunties and weave. Weaving is a girl’s right of passage into womanhood – once you learn to weave you are ready to fall pregnant. I got to weave only a few stitches but within less than a month I was pregnant with Estelle. 

The first time she touched the earth was on this mat. Made by one of the master weavers from our tribe – Ngarrindjeri – down south. Her feet were dusted with earth from where our dream story began. The flower on her back was made by my mother from Pelican feathers. The women originally made them to sell to the “tourists” (treasures made by the exotic other) – it was the only item they had to trade which ensured they could stay “in country” and not be removed in the assimilation policy. 

After making placenta prints (tree of life) my placenta was encapsulated. The umbilical cord we dried in a spiral (the spiral is the symbol for women) and wrapped it in a placenta print with a copy of my story “Returning to Country”. I then bound it with paperbark and twine and buried it in country. The women from my culture have buried their babies’ placentas and umbilical cords for years.

I felt a strong connection to the land when I visited my ancestral country for the first time. I also felt deeply saddened by the fact that I had grown up detached from my heritage. In a way I felt lost from my soul’s song. I wanted Estelle to be born into that connection and know what it is to be connected to her people and the land. I want her to know belonging and not to have to spend a good part of her life, like I did, in search of it. 

I felt privileged that my Aunties and cousins embraced my choice to do this for Estelle. It was a powerful move to realign my life with my culture.” – Natalia

Photo by Jane

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Showing 30 comments
  • Accidental Lentil...

    how beautiful

  • Lou

    This is a fascinating and beautiful little insight – thanks for sharing Jodi x

  • Jane @ Shady Baker

    Fascinating and powerful…what an amazing photo.

  • Reply

    Amazing photo. Beautiful words.

  • thewindhover

    Breathtaking and true…

  • sascedar

    Oh my…thank you. We have only recently discovered my husband's Aboriginality after his grandfather's passing. I feel a sadness that my babies were born, disconnected. I wish we had known. This story is so simple, and completely beautiful. thank you.

  • CR

    What a beautiful story!

  • Maxabella

    Powerful, fascinating, moving. Natalia, you have settled Estelle into a life of great hope and promise. My best wishes to her as she discovers the true meaning of her birth and all the births that have been before her. Thank you so much for sharing. x

  • jody

    A very powerful story and image. Beautiful. Thank you both for sharing. xx j

  • one claire day

    I have goosebumps. What a profoundly beautiful journey of self discovery and belonging. Estelle will be so grateful as she gets older… what a way to come into the world. xx

  • jay

    wow, preciously beautiful. thank you Natalia

  • cityhippyfarmgirl

    absolutely beautiful.

  • Christina Lowry

    Your words have such depth to them. Beautiful and powerful. The significance of many things changed for me once I had a child. Like family traditions. I understood their value more. What a gift you have given Estelle.

  • Mrs Smith


  • Nikki Fisher

    Breathtaking words and photo. Thank you Estelle and Jodi. May there be so much more celebrating of culture.

  • Jenny M

    Thank you Natalia for sharing such a moving story. May your daughter be blessed with a strong & rich connection to her people and the land.

  • Coal Valley View


  • Tahnee

    wow, this is beautiful jodi. thankyou natalia for sharing. the photo is just amazing x

  • Kate

    I remember that birth photo! So powerful. Thank you for sharing this update, having a connection to your heritage is such a beautiful thing.

  • Nikole Taylor

    Wow. So great!

  • Brittany

    so interesting–thank you for sharing. 🙂

  • Lila

    So beautiful, how lucky to be born into such strong culture!

  • Amanda Ivanov

    How joyous to enter the world with such a rich history and a future that seems filled with love. Thank you for sharing. It is fascinating to this lady across the globe. Such beauty in the image.

  • Rebecca

    I also felt it very important to return my daughter's placenta to the earth after she was born last chrsitmas. Coming from New Zealand it is a common birth tradition. I was devestated when my first daughter's was thrown out, like rubbish before I had a chance to ask for it.
    Burying that second placenta was such a spiritual and healing moment.
    Beautiful story.
    Thank you.

  • anne.

    This is really cool, I love hearing more about this beautiful culture and her reconnection with it. I have always wanted to look into my heritage and reconnect with it, but sometimes it seems like the history has been lost over the years. How beautiful that hers is so close by.

  • Reply

    The most beautiful powerful story! I am so glad I read this / reminds me of all the heritage & traditions I want to pass on to my girls x

  • one yellow jumpsuit.

    That is the most beautiful photo and story. Thank you for sharing it with us. x

  • bron @ baby space

    this is so wonderful.
    thanks for sharing jodi and natalia. and awesome image jane!

  • Nicole

    Beautiful story. I couldn't stop staring at both of my girls placents. It was very special when we both planted it under her rose bush. I can't put it into words. Joys placenta is still in the deep freezer waiting for me to plant…

  • Kirsty

    This is such a beautiful story. Lucky Estelle.

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