I have a passion for all things natural and holistic. My love for children has definitely shaped my life, and my choice of career, as a doula, healer and trainer, best allows me to live my passion.
I have been a doula trainer since 2008 and have trained over 180 doulas in South Africa. I have always believed that birthing couples should have access to a doula and my way of ensuring that this happens is to train other passionate people to step into the role of being a support person during pregnancy, birth and beyond. My training has evolved over the years and currently I have a training that is designed to help doulas to connect primarily with themselves first. I strongly believe that in order to step into the sacred space of another’s birth and assist them, you need to know yourself first. Once you have begun uncovering that which you need, and experience for yourself what this feels like and what this means for you, only then can you truly offer unconditional support to someone else through their own journey.
My training has been deeply inspired by the Birthing From Within philosophy as well as my previous trainings with The Village doulas but lately I have also begun heeding the call to turn myself back towards the other end of the spectrum and delve deeper into bereavement and death doulaship. As a young 23 year old I held the hands of those dying and their families whilst I lived and worked in Padoa, Italy. I was intuitively offering what today is known as death doulaing. This aspect is calling to me again and I have decided to listen to it and offer training for this intense moment in life.
As an experienced doula of 16 years I have been in the space where life and death visit in a brief time from each other and I recognise that there is a void in the current trainings for doulas. I also see the need for a new type of doula that can step in and offer support for families and people of any age as they meet their final threshold. Death stewardship is a lost art that needs to be revived. We need to relearn how to connect with people and ourselves so that we may be better able to be with them when they go through their final transition.
My interests truly lie in all aspects of life and I have been deeply involved with other aspects as well so I have also started outlining other ways that people can support each other. I believe that as humans we hunger for deeper connections and whilst our modern lives have brought us so much advancement in so many areas, we seem to have lost some of what we truly hunger for. I am returning to the way of our ancestors by acknowledging the need for honouring various rites of passage in our lives. I see a place four a menarche doula that is trained in honouring and shepherding young women as they encounter their first moon time. Creating rituals and ceremonies to honour and celebrate this life transition. Motherhood doulas that mentor and support other mothers as we once did in the villages of old. A menopause doula that helps women embrace this new stage and offers her the crown of the crone as a sign of reverence and honour. These rites of passage make us more authentically ourselves. We learn to connect not only with ourselves on a deeper level but also with those around us. We learn we are not alone, we have community, we have support, we have a village that spans the globe!
What made you become a doula?
I have had a dream from when I was very young. a dream to be with women in childbirth. This is a feeling I held onto strongly as I have a strong lineage of midwives in my family. I remember the first birth story I ever heard. It wasn’t my own but my nonna’s (grandmother). She recounted her various pregnancies to me including her miscarriages when I was but a young child sitting at her feet. I remember wanting to go back, to be there for her through the loneliness of losing her children. I supported at my first birth in Italy, when my cousin had her first child. I was still a teenager and I thought my cousin was a goddess whilst she was in labour. I could see her strength and power shining through each contraction. I had wanted to follow in another cousin’s footsteps to become a nurse/midwife but at the time it wasn’t possible. This left me with a hole in my heart as I really didn’t feel drawn to any other field of study. Years later my mother-in-law saw an article about doulas and told me that I should apply. She knows me so well. I applied and have been following my path ever since.
A little more about my background
I trained as a doula in 2003 in South Africa while expecting my second child, Skyla. I had a previous birth by necessary caesarean after a unwished for interventive labour for my son Davin, so I was aiming at having a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean). Upon having had a successful natural waterbirth with my daughter I decided to follow my bliss and become a doula. I also trained in the U.S. (2004, 2007, 2010), with Pam England, to become a Birthing From Within childbirth mentor and educator.
Since my initial training I have continued updating and expanding my education so that I can draw from a multitude of skills to help mothers during their pregnancy, birth and postpartum.
I have trained and complete a therapeutic massage course with Rudi Baker of Healing hands in 2003. Thereafter in 2004 I underwent a year Reiki masters training at The Grange under the loving and watchful eyes of Fay and Michael Jeffery. I then turned back to the arts concerning mothering and attended a 3 day lactation management course with Brenda Pierce and Brenda Campbell in 2006 with refresher courses every 2 years thereafter. I subsequently attended a home birthing doula workshop with The Village Workshops and Maria Sterrenberg, whom I co-trained alongside from 2005 till 2009.
I was overjoyed to attended an advanced doula training in Mozambique with Amsterdam obstetric acupuncturist and midwife Jacky Bloemraad-de Boer in 2007. I later completed her advanced level training in 2009. We covered a multitude of skills to aid labour and birth amongst which I learnt acupressure, reflexology, rebozo, polarity, moxibustion and cupping. These techniques are useful for general well-being as well as a natural induction method, helping with difficult or slow to start labours and positioning babies into a good position for birth. I was fortunate to attended a workshop with well known waterbirth midwife Laura van Deth from Holland in 2008 and learnt new ways of using water during pregnancy and birth.
I am a birth activist at heart so I facilitated bringing Russian conscious birth advocate Elena Tonetti to South Africa and attended her 2 day limbic imprinting workshop in 2008. The following year in 2009 I also facilitated Canadian Jodi Hall from A Safe Passage to visit South Africa and attended her empowering workshop for abuse survivors. Further in the same year I completed an online She Births facilitator training with Marcie Macari after reading her book to compliment my doula knowledge and desire to offer more holistic care to parents-to-be. This desire has led me to attend several other courses such as Robin Sheldon‘s Mama Bamba facilitator course (based on her book by the same name) in 2010 and later in 2012 a Biology of Birth through highly acclaimed midwife Marianne Littlejohn of Spiritual Birth.
I attended Gena Kirby‘s rebozo workshop, in 2013, just before leaving South Africa to move with my family to Finland.
My time in Finland has also been put to good use. I began my Nursing Degree (on my way to midwifery degree) in 2014 and qualified in 2017. I also continued my parallel birthing education by completing an online Sacred Living Movement course for belly binding in 2014 and later attended with Anni Daultier, her Sacred Pregnancy retreat for facilitators in 2016. I was thoroughly rewarded in 2015 when I met my long time doula idol Penny Simkin and attended her seminars in Helsinki. In 2017 I achieved another milestone when I attended a Spinning babies course with Jennifer Walker and also another rebozo workshop with Mirjam de Keijzer and Thea van Tuyl. I concluded 2017 by attending a 5 day international Midwifery Today conference in Helsinki, something that I have been determined to do since I started on this incredible journey to be a doula and soon to be midwife. In 2018 I attended as a monitor in the Midwifery Today conference in Germany and also began the Stillbirthday bereavement doula training. After qualifying as a Stillbirthday doula I also began the PAIL (Pregnancy and Infant Loss) Advocate training and the Menopause Advocate training as these are areas I have worked and have a profound interest in.
I have been honoured to be invited into the sacred space of birthing mothers to assist and support them in their journey into parenthood. I have also been called to the end of life transitions and death beds of people that have opened up to me.
I believe in honouring these time old processes and giving whatever support and encouragement is necessary to each individual as they transition through life’s experiences. I have also been graced with the immense privilege of training amazing people to become doulas. I know I have found my calling in life and I am following my bliss all the way.
I hope you will join me on this truly remarkable journey.
Love and abundance