The Virtual Midwife is the culmination of my years of practice and work with women, interwoven with my own life experiences.
I am deeply committed to restoring normality to childbirth through education. I want to change the way the world deals with pregnancy and birth, but more importantly, I want to change the way YOU deal with YOUR pregnancy and birth, so that it is the BEST day of your life and a memory you treasure forever.
I will not fight the system but rather work hand in hand with you and guide you to navigate the system with inside knowledge.
Let me share with you the tools and techniques for a gentle and safe birth that will forever change you.
Join me and let’s make it happen.
Every birth I have attended has changed me on some level and taught me something about the incredible wisdom of women and babies. I still practice, but I now attend mainly home birth where you have autonomy over your body and your choices.
We can not separate body, mind and breath. I was drawn to study yoga through my experience of working with women who practiced yoga and I saw the difference it made during labor and birth. I incorporate powerful breathing techniques into all my teachings.
I host regular workshops in the Middle East and South Africa. I believe that it is only through effective education and sharing of information that the landscape of birth will change so that all women will be given the freedom of choice based on evidence based practice.
In 2018 I wrote and published a book based on my experiences of working in the Middle East.
While there is nothing inherently different about giving birth abroad, the differences in language, culture and lifestyle can make navigating a foreign health care system challenging. The added feeling of isolation being far from family and friends during this special time can make it seem far more scary than what it should be.
This book will guide you to know that a positive outcome is not just possible, but how to go about making it happen.
Even if you are not an expat, the step by step guidance and insight into the elements of holistic preparation for this major life event will transform the way you experience your pregnancy.
My story – the birth of a midwife
I grew up in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, the youngest of 3 children in a busy household where my mother was a midwife and my early years were full of her stories of brave women and incredible births. Even back then the idea of birth filled me with awe.
I recall thinking about having babies from a very young age. I recall my mom finding me under the dining room table drinking milk (which I hated) and trying to breastfeed my doll. I recall visiting neighbours with babies to touch and hold and stare at them. It seems I had this baby radar thing even then, if there was a new baby in town, I would find it.
I always knew that I wanted to follow in my mother’s footsteps and when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up I would say “ a midwife and a mommy with one hundred babies!”
As soon as I was old enough I began my training, where I devoted myself to learning all I possibly could about pregnancy, birth and post-natal care. I trained at Addington Hospital in Durban South Africa and I remember being so frustrated that the first 3 months were spent in college learning theory before we even set foot into the labor room for some practical experience.
I was a young, enthusiastic student ready to be part of what I had grown up hearing about. My student years and subsequent time working in L & D were a rollercoaster of emotions. There were many beautiful natural births that echoed what my mother had shared with me, but there were many more that confused me. As my confidence and experience grew, I started questioning the system and specifically my part in it. I did not feel as if I was serving the women I as working with in the best possible way.
I was part of the ‘epidural revolution”. We all thought it was amazing that the pain of labor could be eradicated and we encouraged everyone to have one, listing the benefits and ignoring the drawbacks. Or perhaps we did not know them. After a while though, it became obvious that the (over) use of epidurals in a labor that is progressing normally undoubtedly leads to a cascade of interventions, and very often to a c/section. By the late 90’s the c/section rate was way above the expected 15% (according to the WHO.)
It got to a point where I was completely disillusioned with the system but unsure of how to change it. What I was doing was so far removed from what I knew deep inside of me was right. I was so confused and in some ways traumatised by everything I had been part of that I decided that it would be better to leave. I was also wanting to become a mother myself and I knew that there was no way I wanted to give birth in the system that I worked in!
What followed were 10 very difficult years during which time I continued to study alternative childbirth options while working for a multinational company in the field of women’s health. While I yearned to be back in the labor ward, I knew I could not go back until I was able to offer something different and until I had come to terms with my own childlessness.
BIRTH OF A MIDWIFE
It was during this time that I met several wise women, many of them midwives, who took me on a path of deep exploration and encouraged me to explore the meaning of a mother. I took a leap of faith and stepped hesitantly back into the birth world by going to work at a small private hospital in Muscat, Oman. There was very little support for expats so I started doing home visits on my days off. This was my way of “mothering the mother” and quickly grew to a point where I decided to leave the hospital and start a small community service which included birth preparation classes and prenatal yoga. Nobody had every done anything like this before so although it was difficult because I had nobody’s footsteps to follow, it gave me the freedom to implement new systems. I ended up living there for 14 years and the small community service became the first mother and baby wellness centre in the Gulf region in 2016.
In 2018 I decided to return to South Africa. I met Natasha Stadler and joined her well established home birth practice. In doing so, I have achieved the vision I had as a child with the wisdom, knowledge and experience to be able to honour every women, every birth and every baby as an individual. My journey has allowed me to discover and embrace the mother that I already am and realise that my gift lies in my ability to be completely open and non judgemental in the birth space. I bring the wisdom and experience of every women I have had the privilege of attending to every birth I attend.
This realisation has transformed my life and my practice and driven me to never stop learning, never stop questioning and never to be judgemental. I am not able to project my own experience onto yours.
It has given me the freedom to continue to travel and to be a pioneer of change. The Virtual Midwife is my way of sharing this wisdom and guiding you to have the birth I know is possible with the right information and support.
Listen to the interview I did with Jody Day – founder of Gateway Women.
Many people find it strange that I am a midwife with no children of my own. Some ask me if that is why I became a midwife (it’s not) and others ask me how I can be effective as a midwife if I have never done it myself which kind of makes me a little grumpy because how many male OB/GYN’s are out there and do you ask them? But, I get where you are coming from and it is a valid question.
So here’s the thing. NOT having gone through it has probably made me the best version of myself as a midwife. I am fully present, allowing your story to unfold in your own way. It is a privilege and an honour that I am able to be that person, knowing that this is what I was born to do.
It does seem ironic that my life’s purpose is so caught up with the hardest lesson I had to face, but it has helped me to be with women in all circumstances, including still birth and miscarriage and early loss.
So when I heard about Gateway Women and realised that I was not alone, I knew that I wanted to bring Jody on the podcast and share her message with others because loss affects so many of us in so many ways.
Jody Day is an advocate for women’s choice and respect through her own personal challenges of being childless NOT by choice.
Jody takes great pleasure in helping childless women get their groove back and find their tribe via the Gateway Women workshops, online communities and social meetups across the world. www.gateway-women.com