Newborn photography is always equal parts adorable and heartwarming. Emma Jean Nolan, a midwife and photographer from Australia, took it to a whole new level of newborn beauty with this photo of a baby with the umbilical cord still attached and spelling out the word “love.” Has your heart exploded yet? (It's OK if you're a little grossed out, too.) This sweet baby and his parents are Maori. The Maori people have a cultural tradition of burying the placenta and umbilical cord after the birth of a baby, to create a connection between the land and the new child. Such a beautiful philosophy, right?

In Western medicine, once a baby is born, the umbilical cord and placenta are most commonly regarded as just things to be clamped off and discarded. Many women don’t even get to see their placentas, which kind of blows my mind. I mean, we’re talking about an entirely new organ, grown by your body, just to nourish the baby inside of you. I happen to be of the belief that this is part two of the miracle of life; Both times I gave birth, I was pretty excited to see this other thing I had grown inside of me.

What I love about this photograph is seeing a placenta and umbilical cord that have been cleaned up (yes, yes, also the baby is cute as pie). Taking away the blood and goo that we associate with the initial afterbirth and leaving these incredible parts of a mother’s body for us to see, in all their glory. We grew all of these things, mamas! That is an incredible thing.

Of course, one of my placentas is currently sitting in a container in my deep freezer. But maybe one day I’ll bury it.

Here's The Photo Everyone's Talking About


Lots of women still think placentas are gross and don't want anything to do with them, but this photo just fills me with wonder. This practice of keeping the placenta attached is also known as a "lotus birth."

This Is Another Example Of A Lotus Birth

It's an interesting practice, and has only been around since the '70s.

There's Also Placenta Encapsulation

That's a big thing, right now. I mean, if January Jones did it, and Kim Kardashian is currently doing it, then it may be worth trying?

Here's A Photo Of A Placenta, Up Close And Personal

Mighty placenta, indeed! Give yourselves a hand, ladies, for growing one of these every time you have a baby.

Images: Courtesy of Emma Jean Photography/Facebook(2)