Birth in South Africa

Mother and Baby Film Festival Cape Town 2011

The first successful Mother and Baby Film Festival was held in Cape Town from the 15th to the 18th February 2011, organised and presented by Ruth Ehrhart and held at the LABIA CINEMA in Cape Town (appropriately!). The films covered a range of topics such as the media and birth, doula’s and birth, service in the world as midwives, and breastfeeding and babies of the world.

Thank you Ruth for hosting such a marvelous celebration of birth, for putting birth on the media map in Cape Town. It was a well attended and much appreciated event gathering by the numbers present. What follows is a poem devised from Ruth’s presentation at the Mother and Baby Film Festival. May it inspire you.

15-18 February 2011


What is birth?

Birth is the emergence of a new individual

From the body of it’s parent

The emergence of that new individual

Is the emergence of a new life

It is completely normal yet unbelievably profound

As that baby emerges, everyone holds their breath…..

Where do we give birth? 

We choose to have our babies in various settings:

At home

In hospital

In a theatre

And sometimes these are not choices but necessities

Sometimes we plan to give birth in one way

But something completely different may happen

Sometimes babies are born in trees 

Or on trains or by the roadside

Where and how we give birth affects who we are

Affects how we are as parents

We need to feel safe

We need to feel confident

and we need to feel in control so that later we can lose control

If a woman feels cared for and nurtured

She is more likely to love and care for her baby

When we feel safe where we give birth

We give birth more easily

If we feel frightened or vulnerable,

We may feel traumatised and incapable

Of loving our babies

If we are made to believe that we are incapable

We may hand over the power to someone else

There is a hidden secret in our culture:

‘It is not that birth is painful

It is that women are strong’.

1 thought on “Mother and Baby Film Festival Cape Town 2011”

  1. The poem is so true and beautifull…..I so appreciate having experienced the way birth should and can be. Thank you for making it possible.

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