Happily Ever Afterbirth
Meet a former massage therapist who found her true calling turning postpartum placentas into tinctures, pills and the most intimate of keepsakes.
Photos by Gema Galiana
Chirping birds flit through the yard of a suburban ranch home in the foothills of Los Angeles County’s San Gabriel Mountains. Afternoon light bounces off the industrial-sized stainless steel sink in Sara Pereira’s home laboratory. The petite 36-year-old brunette, clad in a facemask and lab coat, methodically cleans the counter with medical-grade antiseptic wipes. With gloved hands, she opens a dorm-sized refrigerator and removes something meaty from a plastic storage tub, then holds it up to the light. “This is the side that was attached to the mother,” she says, offering a bumpy slab of what looks like it could be a rump roast, “and this is where the baby was housed.” She turns the orb while extending her fingers to open the white balloon-like amniotic sac around its magenta cave.