Honouring Birth - Creating a Drum with Amniotic Membrane?
**These sacred drums have all been birthed with honour and respect 💜
As a doula, and sacred drum practitioner i had often wondered early on in my learning if our ancestors may have honoured the membranes of childbirth by creating a drum. These membranes, like the placenta are sacred and i know are honoured in so many cultures.
It's sacred knowledge and ideas, sacred knowledge is always for all to share.
Amniotic membranes, I have noticed with making these drums, have never lasted covering a drum frame for more than 5 days. They aren't created for outside the body in the earths atmosphere, they become brittle and break. I have found that covering them with an another skin protects the precious membranes. I have not kept these drums apart from the first I made, they are not mine to keep, and so i am unsure how they fare a year or two on, as I guide parents in making them themselves for their babies.
I do feel it sacred in the way that a drum making with real skins can be similar to childbirth in the journey it takes you on, it strips you bare to raw emotions, and it can feel more so working with your babys birth membranes.
This last drum in the images is one I had the honour of guiding a parent with, it was a true honour. You can see it is covered with a deer skin. The others above are pre covering taken while the amniotic membranes dry.
I do offer membrane drum making but I don't promote it as it is so sacred, and I don't want to earn a living from a spiritual act we may not truly understand as yet, but if a client feels a calling to create one for their baby I will guide them.
In today's western world we dry umbilical cords and dehydrate Placentas believing it carries nutritional and hormonal value to the mum and baby, as well as being a way to honour the precious sacred organ.
I see in a way creating drums as honouring is no different but there is an uneasiness within me that wonders if burial, as my teacher in Ecuador says, is the most natural and sacred way to honour our baby's womb space birth protector and nurturing friend. She was horrified at the thought of encapsulating as to her the placenta spirit needs protecting in a sacred place in the ground.
I have found Spanish midwives who make beautiful little amniotic drums but never spoken to them. I also know a beautiful fish skin drum was made by musician Carolyn Hillier, which is also very thin skin, but fish skin is of course better adapted for life despite it being made for aquatic life.
I found a company in the UK who use amniotic membrane eye surgery for the eye surface. The membrane is so strong when wet and is of course transparent, it doesn't damage easily and it scratch resistant. Apparently it's really popular!
I have searched quite hard for evidence of sacred amniotic drums being made but found no strong sources. I do find that people from traditional cultures I have spoken to say they honour all placenta, membrane and blood by burying it in sacred sites meant for Placentas.
In New Zealand I found while I was there last year the government have given specific sacred placenta burial spaces for Maori.
I did contact Brighton council on my return to suggest we create space here, suggesting that most of my, and collegues clients bury their Placentas (suggesting its on thr increase) but many people have no sacred space in which to do so, of course the council said 'that's interesting, but unfortunately we cannot allow this'. I tried 😉 but maybe one day it'll happen? As placenta burial is growing.
We have always honoured birth membranes, not so long ago in these lands our ancestors sold the membranes to fisherman, especially that of an en caul birth (birth where the membranes are intact). To keep the membranes in a small pouch would give fishermen luck at sea and ensure they were less likely to drown.
I do very strongly feel in my heart and soul that the membranes from birth have been honoured everywhere, of course they were, birth is incredible, birth is deeply sacred!
In Morocco a new mum is given a title of Nafsa in her first 40 days, she is sacred, she needs honouring, protecting, healing. To have the honour of being near a Nafsa will bring you luck because she came through birth. This just shows how sacred birth is in another part of the world, how respected it is and would indicated the after birth is sacred too, it wouldnt all just be destroyed.
Sadly over the past 100 or so years our births aren't seen as sacred, but a medical condition. Our Placentas have been incinerated or sold for ingredients beauty products with the parents unaware.
As a doula I do see people have a deep sense of wanting to honour the placenta, cord and membranes for its incredible purpose. 95% of my clients have buried or encapsulated their Placentas. Our culture does feel as though it is changing for the better.
They say change starts at birth, and the mother is the heart of her family and community. If we can empower and mothers to honour their babys birth for their babys future those baby's may well carry it forward in life through their spirit.
So, amniotic drums as honouring, as a sacred keepsake for the baby? What do you feel? It's not for me to promote, or teach, in today's society I wonder if we respect life enough? Do we truly understand the nature of sacred acts? Is keeping keepsakes from birth even created with conscous honouring sacred ceremony truly honouring life? Or are we not understanding spirit in our material culture and dishonouring spirit in our dysfunctional culture? And by dishonouring through not burying are we making it worse for our children's spirit in life, without being aware, creating a worse future? It's a thought...but my heart feels any way of sacred honouring that feels right to you is respectful and will impact positively on your baby's soul, life and connection to their spiritual twin (placenta, called as such in many traditional cultures).
I feel shamanically we have to do what feels right for our child's soul when it comes to turning their sacred birth into keepsakes.
Burial, encapsulation, incinerator, for your placenta? Sacred keepsakes from your babys cord and a drum from your membrane? ....its for your heart to decide for your baby.
These are subjects I try to explore openly, from as sacred, or shamanic perspective as I possibly can.
'Creating a tiny drum with our sons membranes felt very raw, very special. It wasn't easy, but to be practical with my hands turning my son's sacred membranes into a shamanic tool he can use was special. I thank Eva with all my heart.'.
I am passionate about parents having the choices and the awareness of honouring their birth for their baby.
A good book to read on honouring placenta and cord, and the reasons some cultures do, is The Forgotten Chakra.
Blessed placenta, membrane and cord honouring 💜