Mother Cake  offers a rare glimpse into the life and death of the placenta, the organ that develops in the uterus during pregnancy and provides life sustaining nourishment to a growing baby.  But once it has completed its job of keeping a fetus alive, what happens to the placenta next? In contemporary medicine placentas are treated as medical waste. But humans have long ascribed special meaning to what the placenta symbolizes and what to do with it. Mother Cake follows filmmaker and respected New York City doula Stephanie Schiavenato, on a journey to unravel the mysteries of the placenta through the lives of people that care deeply about what happens to a placenta after it leaves the body.

Mother Cake  blends observational scenes and interviews to create a cinematic exploration of the placenta. The filmmaker will anchor the film through voice over. Schiavenato explores what the  placenta means to three women: Veronica, by day a mail carrier in Brooklyn, by night a placenta enthusiast who makes pills, tinctures, and art prints out of placentas, Grace, a Brooklyn mother who has stored her daughter’s placenta in the freezer and wants to bury it four years after the delivery, and Julienne, a renowned biological anthropologist who studies primate and human placentas to improve maternal outcomes and address pregnancy loss. This film reveals the emotions, conflicts, and possibilities that this misunderstood organ inspires.