Birth. A new life entering the world. It’s a beautiful thing, except for the parts that aren’t. A newborn child might be the most beautiful thing on earth, but there are still some parts of birth most people would rather not think about. The umbilical cord is one of these details. Most parents can’t wait to snip it off and forget about it. But in a world with 6 billion people there are all types out there, and some people would rather keep their umbilical cord around as a souvenir. You’ve probably heard of bronzing a baby’s first shoes or keeping a lock of hair from their first haircut, but some parents take baby souvenirs to the next level.
Still, who’s to say how a parent should try and remember the birth of their child? Every parent has a right to do what they want as long as it doesn’t harm the child. With that in mind, we are going to look at five ways parents around the world handle their child’s umbilical cord. Just remember we’re not doctors and therefore we don’t recommend any of these for all ethical, moral, or legal purposes.
Social media has driven a lot of creativity recently. Parents have found all sorts of creative ways to share their experience with the world. It can be a very empowering and inspiring thing. And sometimes it can also be a little confounding. This article was inspired by one of these creative projects, a photo posted to Instagram by British singer Rochelle Humes. She let the world know about the birth of her second child by uploading a picture of the word “love” written out using her newborn’s recently detached umbilical cord. As you can imagine the post was very polarizing, responses ranged from love and support to disgust and hatred.
The strange nature of this project is undeniable, but it’s also easy to see the love.
Make A Fashion Statement
Parents have kept reminders of their child on their person for thousands of years. Almost as soon as photography was invented, parents took to storing photos of their child in lockets, pocket watches, and other accessories. Another popular keepsake is the lock of hair, often fashioned into the centerpiece of a necklace. Well, this concept has been taken to the next level by certain modern parents. If you want an even more personal reminder of your child at all times, then you can wear their umbilical cord. No, you’re not supposed to wrap it around your neck, the cord quickly becomes brittle enough to fall apart at a touch. Instead, the chord is balled up and locked away inside some kind of protective form.
If you see a new mother wearing a unique looking gem around your neck, you might want to take a closer look. You might be looking at an umbilical cord encased in glass.
Burn it Off
The previous methods we looked at might be distasteful to you, but it should be noted that they aren’t really dangerous. The same thing is harder to say for the next option. You see, we’re not just talking about burning the cord after it’s fallen off, we’re talking about burning the cord off the baby rather than cutting it. This unique and potentially dangerous method is mainly used by parents who give birth at home, mainly because doctors don’t like open flames in their hospitals.
Proponents of the technique say that it’s an ancient technique that is safe because the heat from the flames cauterizes the flesh and steps involved ensure the baby’s safety. Detractors point out the risks that are inherent in the process, especially if the flame isn’t handled properly.
Cord burning was invented to deal with issues that modern science can handle fine, but there will always be individuals who look to the past for secret solutions. Once again, it must be said that this is not an article for medical advice. Anyone interested in this technique should talk to a medical professional.
Toss it Away
At this point in the article, it’s worth noting that the most popular option is still completely viable. There’s nothing that says you have to keep the umbilical cord, just like there are all sorts of things that are technically possible to keep but not necessarily advisable to hold onto. Sure, at one point the umbilical cord was attached to your baby. But at some point, your child’s first poo was inside of your child, but you probably don’t want to bronze your baby’s first defecation or use it for an arts and crafts project.
With that being said, our article doesn’t end here. Having the medical staff at hand dispose of the umbilical cord sounds like the most logical option, but there is still another choice.
Donate It to Help Others
They say that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and one baby’s umbilical cord might save the life of another human being. Science has long understood that infants and fetuses have a high concentration of stem cells. These cells have yet to differentiate into the different specialized cells, so they can theoretically become anything. The medical potential of these cells is astounding. The problem is finding ethical sources for these cells, and the umbilical cord is one of the most inviting sources. Certain blood banks are equipped to handle donations of umbilical cords and placentas, which can also contain useful blood.
Such donations need to be planned in advance since it takes careful preparation to safely preserve this kind of precious cargo. If someone waits until the last second to decide then nothing can be done.
A Very Personal Decision
Now you know a little more about how umbilical cords are handled by different families, whether you really wanted to know or not. Remember, we’re not writing to tell you what to do or pass judgment. Take a moment to recognize the myriad ways mothers have developed to express the love and connection they share with their children. The umbilical cord is a physical example of this connection. With this in mind, it’s easy to see why so many mothers are hesitant to let go without some last grand gesture.