Let's face it, newborns can be kinda gross. They poop out black sticky tar, spit up foul-smelling partially digested milk and tend to look like little aliens (except your baby of course—yours was a beautiful little angel right out of the womb). On top of that, until it dries out and falls off, the piece of umbilical cord still attached to their belly buttons can get a bit weird-looking and pretty stinky. Like, REALLY STINKY.
That's why we're a bit shocked that there are some parents out there who are not only saving their baby's umbilical cord stump once it pops off, but turning it into jewelry. Yep, necklaces, rings, bangles, you name it.
Now, we don't want to judge—moms can do whatever they want—and to be fair, we get the symbolic meaning behind saving the stump. After all, it's the only thing that's left of the physical connection mom and baby shared during gestation, and it's what gave your unborn baby life. That is sweet. Plus some have said that in some cultures, moms will save their baby's stump as a token of good luck.
However, there's something just a bit strange about turning a dried piece of flesh into a statement necklace. (What kind of outfit would you even pair it with?) And while it's not rotted, it's not exactly the prettiest thing to look at either.
Take a look at this one from Florida jewelry maker Ruth Avra, who's been making cord stump accessories since she got the idea in 2012.
Her jewelry work is great, but let's be real, that "stone" kinda looks like something that was coughed up by a wild animal. Avra herself even told Fatherly that her work isn't for everyone. "It takes a certain person to love it," she said. “Some people think it’s amazing; some people think it’s disgusting.”
Now there are some places like Cords on Cords that take a cast of the stump and make the jewelry out of that. While this is a little less gross (we assume the actual stump is tossed or sent back to the mom), it still doesn't necessarily make for the most aesthetically pleasing neck charm.
If you're the type of mom who would do something like this, more power to ya. My own mom has my umbilical cord stump taped to a page of my baby book, and I don't fault her for it (in fact, I remember being kinda fascinated by it as a kid because it looked like a big booger). Still, I'm glad it's tucked away in a bookshelf and not dangling from her neck. But hey, at least she didn't turn it into a dreamcatcher. Yikes.
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