The Travelling Midwife

Family in St Albans

Life Has Seasons

When I was 55 years old I looked forward. Life would become calmer. It would settle. I would have some time on my hands. How wrong I was.

Now I am 60 and so much has happened. I opened a Birth Centre in Cape town. I helped homeless people, adopted a traumatised German Shepherd and attended many, many beautiful births. I mentored students and went into a time of deep introspection and learning myself. I left Cape Town in early 2017 and moved to Mooi River to help care for my mum on her horse farm. I travelled to births and built up a network in a new home, Kwazulunatal.

Horses Grazing on Horselovers Farm
Horses Grazing on Horselovers Farm in Kwazulunatal

Over the next year, several bouts of debilitating tick bite fever left me weakened. I made the decision to leave South Africa and join my sons in the United Kingdom. As of March 2018, a new journey has begun.

Great Britain looks like a small island on the map, yet I am always surprised by how large everything is. And how far it is to travel, although public transport is quite efficient. Greater London now contains an overwhelming 10 million people, so that’s a lot of people to get to know! The Thames river is beautiful and the bridges are picturesque decorations around her neck. I live in St Albans now; a quaint old village on the outskirts. There are lots young people here, like me! I am finding my way.

Family in St Albans
A walk wth family at Verulamium in St Albans

In the same breath, it feels like I have abandoned all that i have loved and known in South Africa for the last 49 years. Where my heart has laughed and cried, wept and sung with joy. The beauty of wide open spaces, the dry land and harsh weather. All the groups I helped form, old school friends, close friends, horsey friends, my midwifery colleagues, all my lovely clients and their babies….I miss you. I miss the work done, the roots I pushed down deep below the shallow soil, into the rocks and boulders below. I miss the hardy fynbos and the rugged veld. I miss my animals.

And yet I feel like a newborn baby, naked in a brand new world. Letting go of the motherland’s blood that fed my veins. Letting go of the people I have been so close to. Letting go hurts. Perhaps it is one of the reasons babies cry after they are born.

At the same time, I embrace this new world, discover the textures, the smells, the tastes, the landscapes of my future here. There is loss, yet also excitement and anticipation. I am being born again, refashioned in new ways, adapting to the start of a new season in my life.

The KZN Workshop Participants

Spiritual Birth Workshop Kwazulunatal 2012: The Travelling Midwife

You may ask “What is a Spiritual Birth Workshop”? To start with one needs to define the term Spiritual Birth – It is a religious term for spiritual enlightenment, it is a term to describe a kind of childbirth, and also the birth of new parents. Our bodies are the physical expression of universal energy and quantum physics. The term ‘spiritual’ for as human being therefore means to be completely embodied and present in the moment, awakened in both the masculine and feminine aspects of ourselves. How does this relate to pregnancy and childbirth? Continue reading

Human Rights in Childbirth – The Travelling Midwife

“Who decides how a baby is born? Who chooses where a birth takes place? Who bears the ultimate responsibility for a birth and its outcome? What are the legal rights of birthing women? What are the responsibilities of doctors, midwives and other caregivers in childbirth? What are the rights and interests of the unborn, and how are they protected?” This excerpt from Continue reading

The Travelling Midwife: A Homebirth in Clarens

Ane’ de Witt was adamant that this time round with her second pregnancy she was going to give birth at home in Clarens. Clarens is a pristine village in the Maluti mountains of the Eastern Free State, named after the village Clarens in Switzerland by General Jan Smuts of South African history. Clarens is situated about 20km from the Golden Gate Nature Reserve Continue reading