It has been more than a year since I attended the Midwifery Today Conference in Brussels in November 2013 and then went on the spend time with Michel Odent at his Doula Workshop in Barcelona. Continue reading
Welcome to Spiritual Birth!
We believe that women need to prepare for natural birth in every aspect of their lives, including the spiritual, emotional, mental and physical areas of their being. A woman deserves the right to choose her companions as well as where and how she will give birth to her child. Pregnancy and birth are normal life events for most women.To this end, interventions should be kept to a minimum wherever possible. A baby who is born gently and welcomed by warm, caring parents receives the best possible start in life. Women who are well prepared in their minds, bodies and spirits can experience birth as a profoundly moving and empowering event - a spiritual birth.
Benedicte and Didier Majoli recently relocated from France with their four children after Didier was given a post overseeing an engineering project in South Africa. When Benedicte and Didier Majoli decided to have their 5th baby in Cape Town (hoping for another girl as they already have 3 boys), Benedicte’s personal trainer, Noon Barnard, referred her to me as a midwife for natural birth support.
I was thrilled when Benedicte then decided to give birth to their 5th baby at Mtwana Birth Centre. She had given birth to her four children – three boys and a girl – in France and was anxious that she have more control over the birth of this fifth baby. Benedicte and I communicated in my broken French and her broken English to begin with, but as we got to know each other better, I came to understand how medicalised her other births had been. Her biggest concern was that she had been on her back and forced to push in this position to birth her babies. It was very painful, she said, and her babies were not given to her immediately, but taken away to be checked first before being handed to her. This time she wanted to be able to move around, choose her birth position and have immediate and uninterrupted access to bond with her new baby.
Didier called me at about 3am to say they were coming through and I switched on the dim lights and waited to welcome them. Benedicte was calm and relaxed, stopping occasionally to lean against Didier and breathe when she experienced a surge (contraction). I took her blood pressure reading, massaged her back with my special aromatherapy oils, listened to the baby and established that all was well. I ran a warm bath and she chose to rest in the warm water for about 15 minutes. As soon as Benedicte wished to get out of the bath she experienced a really strong surge and I knew the baby was on her way. Benedicte knelt on a cushion on the floor and said “She’s coming, she’s coming,” and after two expulsive surges another baby BOY gently slipped into her hands, while Didier delightedly held his wife and peeked over her shoulders.
I stayed close by, watching unobtrusively as they greeted their son ecstatically, gratified that there was no trauma or direction necessary. After Benedicte birthed the placenta still attached to the baby, she and Guillaume returned to the warm bath for a soak before dressing and getting into a warm bed. The cord was cut a few hours later in the day. Mother and baby spent the day resting and bonding and Didier brought the children in the afternoon to visit, before the family left Mtwana Birth Centre in the evening to go home.
The couple were delighted to have another son and named him Guillaume – as I was delighted to be there when they welcomed him into the world.
Below are a succession of pictures of introductions to the family of the new baby!
As a midwife in South Africa I am not unaware of the nuances of race and colour that have beset my profession as I explore our history in this public space. We as midwives, doulas, birth educators and professionals in South Africa, need to know what happened, so we can reflect on who we are now and collaborate in more conscious ways. Nurses and midwives have a unique history in South Africa. Continue reading
The Cape Town Midwifery and Birth Conference this year has a full, rich and varied programme and is set to shake the midwifery and birthing world in South Africa by its roots and branches, encouraging real transparency and discussion of women’s issues around midwifery and birth. What does it mean, to be a midwife? How flexible should a midwife be to support women’s birthing rights? How safe is it to give birth after multiple caesarians? Continue reading
The prevalent culture in modern society is that of dominion over and control of nature, as well as the domination of groups of people by the other groups of people that hold more power. Similarly women and their bodies are dominated by the cultural paradigm of the time, no less by doctors and midwives in the arena of childbirth. Women and doctors alike are bearers of the culture and in settled agricultural societies it has been expedient for the offspring to be warlike and to be bonded to the prevailing culture of the group, not to nature, the individual or the close family. For this reason, it has been common through centuries for midwives and birth attendants to interfere with and control labour and birth. Continue reading
Vivienne and Andre Du Preez gave birth to twins Skye and Eden at their home in Muizenberg on the 12th April 2014. It was the ecstatic culmination of many years of planning and 9 months of carefully preparing and carrying the twins after they were conceived.
Vivienne always knew she wanted a homebirth and was even more determined after she learnt she was carrying twins, and especially as Vivienne herself had been born at home. Vivienne was super fit during the pregnancy practicing yoga and belly dancing daily in between swimming and long walks on the beach. Headstands were practiced until 34 weeks of the pregnancy. Continue reading