Loving Midwifery Care for Every Woman

Posted by on Jan 6, 2018 in Writings

Loving Midwifery Care for Every Woman

Access to good, personalised and loving care should be a basic human right for any pregnant woman. Unfortunately, this is not the reality for most.

I offer my services as a home birth midwife to the women in and around my community, who would like to be able to access this service but who cannot afford it. Up to now I have been doing this free of charge but unfortunately, this is not sustainable and I write this to ask for your support.

I have set up a Patreon page so that you can help pledge your monthly support via my Patreon page.

I am offering home birth services to women in my local community of Red Hill Settlement who cannot afford it but who would like to birth at home under the loving care of an independent midwife.

I aim to raise $800 per month through pledges. With this, I will be able to take care of one woman per month, ensuring good pre and postnatal care, attendance during her labour and birth, as well as ensure that her baby is registered with our home affairs and clinic. Costs covered will be for my on-call time, birth equipment, childcare, petrol, and general car maintenance.

You can pledge anything between $1 – $50 per month and each contribution will receive a gift in return.

To see my Patreon page and to pledge your support please see my page here

I live near an informal settlement. It lies on the slopes of Red Hill and is made up of tin shacks that home families that hail from rural Western and Eastern Cape, Malawi and Zimbabwe, amongst others. It is a beautiful, tight-knit community who support each other and I have been honoured to serve many of the women in the community as midwife and friend.

The Shona Zimbabwean community has a strong tradition of home birth and most have given birth before back home with their mother, or aunt, or grandmother in attendance – in other words, most have a traditional midwife as a family member and giving birth at home is the norm. Unfortunately, their birthing experiences once here in South Africa, have been far from positive and they tend to avoid hospitals for this reason. Many have sought out my care and I have attended them in this community – checking on them pre and postnatally, as well as attending them in labour and birth.

Angela has given me permission to share her photo and story:

Angela contacted me in her second trimester because she was concerned that even though she was over twenty weeks pregnant, she could not feel her baby moving yet. She had been for one checkup at her local hospital in the early part of her pregnancy but found it to be too traumatic after she was not allowed to bring her two-year-old son into the consultation and had to leave him outside while he screamed. Needless to say, both she and he were traumatised by the experience and she asked if I could come and do a check up on her. I visited her at home and at first, had to navigate her son’s trauma around my medical equipment (he would scream whenever I pulled out my blood pressure monitor). I introduced him to the equipment, kept him close to his mother and taught him to massage her belly with sweet smelling massage oil. After a couple of visits, he became my ally and bag carrying assistant.

At Angela’s first visit at her home, we were able to detect the sweet little heartbeat of her daughter…she was hiding behind the ‘whoosh-whoosh’ of the placenta, which was embedded in the front of the uterus. The little girl was active and moving but her mother could not detect her movements because the baby’s kicks and punches were muffled by the placenta. Angela was very relieved and grateful.

We did all our check-ups at Angela’s house. I would navigate my way over the rocks and through the labyrinth of tin shacks to her home where she would always greet me with a smile, a cup of tea and either freshly baked bread or popcorn. We would usually sit and chat a bit. The TV was usually on, a dramatic Nigerian soap opera playing in the background (I became quite knowledgeable about these over Angela’s pregnancy). Other Shona women would pop by, knowing I was there, and ask advice and questions regarding their reproductive health and babies. Some, pregnant themselves, also requested to have me do check-ups and attend them in labour. Eventually, we ran a small clinic from Angela’s home – we called it Angela’s clinic and it lasted for the duration of her pregnancy until she gave birth. The clinic moved to the next woman’s house, and so forth.

In my next post, I will share with you about Angela’s birth and how I learned about the role of darkness and melatonin and its effect on the mother’s labour.

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