Summer 2016 my family and I walked El Camino de Santiago, a spiritual pilgrimage that spans from southern France to northwestern Spain, a distance of 500+ miles. On our first night, we opted for camping in the open pastures of southern France, nestled between the peaks of the Pyrenees Mountains. In the night, a wild horse delivered her foal fifty meters from our tent; the next morning all that was left was a 6-foot umbilical cord and a nursing foal and his mama on the hilltop in front of us.

The placenta was gone—gobbled up by the mare, most likely, or by another mammal friend.

The placenta is an amazing organ that grows for the sole purpose of facilitating the growth of another life. At the culmination of gestation, the birth of the placenta is the finale; it follows the baby and participates in the birth process. I’ll never forget birthing my son’s body only to hear from my midwife, “Now, its not over. You’re still pregnant.” I still needed to birth the almighty placenta, which I then gave to a dear friend who encapsulated it for me to ingest.

For ages, humans from different cultures have joined our mare friend in ingesting the placenta for all kinds of plausible reasons—nutrient-needs, to keep predators from lurking too near to new life, for rites of passage, etc. Preparing the placenta for placentaphagy is in accordance with our most primal drives as mammals, and though scientifically there are no double-blind studies to-date that confirm placentaphagy carries the benefits ascribed in the trending of placenta preparation, wisdom from the ages, plus intuition, keeps me encapsulating and more.

Disclaimer: Some popular claims indicate that placenta encapsulation is a ‘cure-all’ to prevent postpartum depression and lactation challenges. Life transitions are challenging and require more than a ‘happy pill’ to cure what ails you; community support and love, as well as patience and endurance are the lubrication that makes a way for a strong bond within yourself and with the new life you made.

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