Striking photo of newborn's umbilical cord forms the word "love"

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Find out the beautiful symbolism behind this stunning image that is capturing the hearts of mums around the world...

It's no surprise that this breathtakingly beautiful picture is stunning the Internet these days.

It was snapped by photographer Emma Jean Nolan of Emma Jean Photography just an hour and a half after little Harper Hoani Spies was born on January 2 in his mother's home.

But this is so much more than clever photography. This picture is symbolic of the rich culture of the Maori -- the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand.

The Maori respect the earth as they do natural processes like birth. As such, a component of their ancient birth rite involves honouring the placenta.

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Emma, who lives in Brisbane, Australia and is also a midwife, explains in a Facebook post:

"As a Maori baby his placenta will now be returned to the land. The word 'whenua' relates to the placenta and to the land.

"Whenua (placenta) is returned to the whenua (land) with the pito (umbilical cord) the link between the newborn and papatuanuku(mother earth).

"With this affinity established, each individual fulfils the role of curator, for papatuanuku (mother earth), which remains life long."

She also said she wanted to take this image of Harper to show people what a physiological birth really looks like, as most have not seen a baby still connected to their placenta.

Further, "it [the placenta] is generally discarded, ignored and considered disgusting. However without the placenta none of us would be here.

"In a time when we are so disconnected from ourselves, our history and each other, the response to this image clearly shows that we all still crave a connection."

Emma's post has drawn comments from mothers all around the world, who have also revealed how they chose to celebrate birth.

One mum said she buried her son's placenta on her great-grandmother's grave to signify the close relationship they had when she was alive. Another Tongan mum said all of her children's and grandchildren's placenta's are buried at her house.

In Asia, many women understand the power of the placenta and choose to ingest it in the form of freeze-dried capsules.

As Emma asks, how did you honour your placenta? Tell us in a comment below.