Being a birth dork, I am involved in various birthy projects:



Home Birth South Africa

Home Birth South Africa was born out of a need and a frustration.

In 2010, Lana Petersen and I were both working as doulas. As doulas, part of our responsibility is to give mothers information and resources on their birthing choices and option. As home birthers ourselves, it was very frustrating not to be able provide any local South African information or resources on home birth. And so, it was on the phone one day, when we were yet again complaining to each other about the state of birth in this lovely country of ours, that we suddenly had the idea to start the home birth gatherings.

The first home birth gathering took place in friend and colleague Caitlyn Collins’ garden. It was very informal and mothers, doulas, midwives and interested parties sat in a circle and shared their stories, wishes and questions. The format of the gatherings have not changed much and take place every three months in the Cape Town area. You will find the latest event here.

Home Birth South Africa and its website was born out of the gatherings when we saw a need for a database and a way to share home birth stories and information on a national level.We are so grateful to all the families who have so openly shared their stories and photographs with us. Having local stories to share makes the possibility of home birth within the South African context more real and tangible.


Basic Needs New Cover design2

The Basic Needs of a Woman in Labour

The Basic Needs of a Woman in Labour is a book I wrote after attending Michel Odent and Liliana Lammers’s Paramana doula course in 2010. The book summarises and addresses the essence of what Michel Odent teaches and speaks and writes about.

This is what Michel had to say about it:

” There are two important published documents about birth physiology and the basic needs of labouring women. The first one is an enormous book written thousands of years ago.  In the very first pages of this bestseller, there are some lines suggesting an association between the consumption of the fruit of the tree of knowledge (translate knowing too much or having developed a powerful neocortex) and the difficulties of human birth. At the end of this book, we can read about the birth of a legendary man whose mission was to promote love. His mother found a strategy to overcome the human handicap: with humility she gave birth among non-human mammals, in a stable.

The second document is the opposite of the first one in terms of size. It is a booklet by Ruth Ehrhardt. To bring together what is important in such a small number of pages is a feat. I hope that, on the five continents, all pregnant women, midwives, doulas, doctors, etc. will take the time to assimilate the contents of this chef d’oeuvre:  it will be a turning point in the history of childbirth and therefore in the history of mankind.”

You can order the book directly from me by writing to me via the Contact Form, or by purchasing it via Amazon – where it is available as a paperback or for Kindle.

10516689_929695750451523_7155058786901005325_nCape Town Midwifery and Birth Conference

The Midwifery and Birth Conference was established in 2013 by a diverse group of women with a shared vision. We saw a need to bring together everyone involved with childbirth in order to address the many challenges we face as Midwives, Mothers and Birth Workers. We also feel strongly that we as South African’s already have a vast wealth of knowledgeable and talented professionals who can share their skills with others. Our aim is to provide a platform for that knowledge to be shared, and celebrated.


imgres-1World Birth Hub

As a group of international filmmakers and midwives, our aim is to stimulate discussion and thought about natural birth by providing powerful and creative information and resources. At World Birth Hub we wish to uplift birth, and reduce the fear and dissatisfaction surrounding it. We want wellbeing for mothers and babies everywhere. We hope our work strengthens the connections between women, families and the community. Birth is a sensitive human rights issue.

People working and birthing in poor countries often welcome the arrival of modern medicine and facilities. Those working and birthing in wealthy countries often regret the medical management of such a sacred and instinctive event. Around the world, arguments rage about the best systems, facilities, traditions, practices and techniques for birth. We believe there is a vast middle ground that acknowledges the benefits of both ancient traditions and modern medicine. Our desire is to show images of women birthing in power. Images of kindness and triumph.

We know all women are capable of taking responsibility for their decision-making and choices. What one woman can do, all women can do. Women everywhere give birth in all kinds of conditions. There are millions of amazing stories unfolding every day. Stories of strength, joy, endurance, healing, courage, sadness, trauma, tenderness, determination, challenge and discovery. This is what connects us as human beings. We are committed to making birth better for everyone.


CPB_Project_Logo_FinalThe Compassionate Birth Project

Just as love comes from being loved, so a caring attitude grows from being cared for.

The Compassionate Birth Project is a systems based programme which offers staff working in public maternity units, from midwives and doctors to clerks and security, a process to discover the human compassion within themselves, empowering them  to provide more holistic, patient-centred care – where every mother and every infant matter.

The Compassionate Birth Project programme is aligned to the Maternal and Infant Health component of the Sustainable Development Goals.


IMG-20151025-WA0002Red Hill Embrace

The Red Hill Women’s Group that I am part of was initially inspired by Cape Town Embrace an informal get together between women from Scarborough, Red Hill and Glencairn, mainly to support each other as mothers.

The meetings are monthly and informal, we get together for tea and cake and we chat, each woman taking it in turns to say who she is, and how things are for her at present. Those from more privileged backgrounds try to assist and help where possible – issues are mainly unemployment which is something we are not able to assist with directly but we have been able to help with the following:

-Rape Counselling for a woman and transport money there and back for her

-Organising public transport on a Sunday for the people of Red Hill, before they had to hitchhike on a Sunday, now a taxi comes three times per day

-Helping with call time for phoning local municipality to deal with water/toilet issues

-Running a compost making workshop and helping to start a vegetable garden – this is an ongoing project

-Running a sewing workshop

-Running antenatal preparation classes for pregnant women

-Providing antenatal and postnatal care for women at home

-Assisting women who choose to labour and birth at home

-Organising transport and support network for women labour and for one member of our group who is blind and often needs assistance with trips to hospital

-Providing hospital bags for pregnant women and their babies 

-Assisting a mother in communication with the school whose foster child had an outstanding bill at the local school – this caused her huge stress, it turned out it was a mistake and the debt was written off

-Keeping regular contact with the Road Accident Fund for one member of our group

Upcoming projects are:

– To possibly form a co-operative (someone is coming to speak to us about it)

– Basic Life Support course

– A doula training course that women within the community can support one another

– To re-establish the soup kitchen for adults

-To provide courses to meet the needs of the women

-We assisted Victoria in securing the job she currently has by compiling an advert with her input, paying for it to run in the local newspaper and sticking ads up in and around Fish Hoek. We can do the same or similar for others. It worked well because she works as a carer. Domestic workers are not impossible to assist, but it would be better for women to hand out flyers and introduce themselves while doing so.

– Buying chickens for a woman called Tsitsi who would like to start an egg business

To find out more about the Red Hill Embrace project, to support it and to get involved, please write to me via the Contact Form.