Category Archives: Interviews

Positive Birth in South Africa: This is Vania Truter


The Gate-Keepers: A Portraiture Project

This is a portraiture project, documenting the “gatekeepers” of a growing movement regarding positive birth experiences in our country.  My aim: to promote those who are enabling women to identify with their power and femininity and therefore normalize birth and the body.

These are their stories / anecdotes / opinions about what they do and how they see it…accompanied by my portraits and some general information on each sitter.

Vania Truter is a doula. She works predominantly in the Northern suburbs and Belville. Vania has been a doula for just over 4 years now.

Vania Truter -Midwives & Doulas of South Africa - Portraits by Leah Hawker

“These are things I’d like to see changing in South Africa:

  • gynaecologists to be more supportive of vaginal births,
  • newborns to always have skin-to-skin directly after birth,
  • women to be more empowered and supported to breastfeed,
  • gentler c-sections,
  • more home births and
  • more VBAC births!”

• (I invite more participants to join the project, you are welcome to email me for more information).

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

Positive Birth in South Africa: This is Jill Bergman


The Gate-Keepers: A Portraiture Project

This is a portraiture project, documenting the “gatekeepers” of a growing movement regarding positive birth experiences in our country.  My aim: to promote those who are enabling women to identify with their power and femininity and therefore normalize birth and the body.

These are their stories / anecdotes / opinions about what they do and how they see it…accompanied by my portraits and some general information on each sitter.

Jill Bergman is a doula, counsellor and skin-to-skin (previously known as kangaroo care) specialist, she writes and lectures on these subjects as well as developmental care for pre-term babies.. She’s been in developmental care for 10 years and working as a doula for 4 years. Jill works in the Southern suburbs and central suburbs around Cape Town

Jill Bergman -Midwives & Doulas of South Africa - Portraits by Leah Hawker

“Parents are not properly informed on the negative impact of Inductions, Epidurals and Caesareans on the baby.”

“Statistics I would like to see changed? The caesarean Section rate to lower dramatically in South Africa (World Health organization says C/S should medically be between 15-20 %, in SA in private sector it is between 60- 90 % different in different areas and hospitals).”

• (I invite more participants to join the project, you are welcome to email me for more information).

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

Positive Birth in South Africa: This is Lana Petersen


The Gate-Keepers: A Portraiture Project

This is a portraiture project, documenting the “gatekeepers” of a growing movement regarding positive birth experiences in our country.  My aim: to promote those who are enabling women to identify with their power and femininity and therefore normalize birth and the body.

These are their stories / anecdotes / opinions about what they do and how they see it…accompanied by my portraits and some general information on each sitter.

Lana Petersen has been a doula for 12 years and is currently an apprentice midwife. Lana works mostly in the Southern Suburbs.

Lana Peterson -Midwives & Doulas of South Africa - Portraits by Leah Hawker

“Women don’t know enough about the various options around birth in this country. They don’t do enough research around those choices and they are losing touch with the very thing that makes them uniquely feminine….The learning from and supporting of each other around pregnancy and birth has been taken away from the home and the community and hence the deep seeded fear women have about their bodies and birth.”

• (I invite more participants to join the project, you are welcome to email me for more information).

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

Positive Birth in South Africa: This is Aneesa Rasool


The Gate-Keepers: A Portraiture Project

This is a portraiture project, documenting the “gatekeepers” of a growing movement regarding positive birth experiences in our country.  My aim: to promote those who are enabling women to identify with their power and femininity and therefore normalize birth and the body.

These are their stories / anecdotes / opinions about what they do and how they see it…accompanied by my portraits and some general information on each sitter.

Aneesa Rasool is a a doula, an infant massage and a hypno-birthing practitioner. She’s been in the birth, maternity and newborn world as a professional for 4 years and works predominantly from Blouberg and the West Coast areas.

Aneesa Rasool -Midwives & Doulas of South Africa - Portraits by Leah Hawker

“Most women have no knowledge or lack the knowledge of their maternity rights. Woman have the right to receive maternity care that is appropriate to her cultural and religious background, and to receive information in a language in which she can communicate. To receive all care in privacy.”

“Many women have an unrealistic expectations of their body postpartum and this is where they need better support.”

• (I invite more participants to join the project, you are welcome to email me for more information).

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

Positive Birth in South Africa: This is Ruth Ehrhardt


The Gate-Keepers: A Portraiture Project

This is a portraiture project, documenting the “gatekeepers” of a growing movement regarding positive birth experiences in our country.  My aim: to promote those who are enabling women to identify with their power and femininity and therefore normalize birth and the body.

These are their stories / anecdotes / opinions about what they do and how they see it…accompanied by my portraits and some general information on each sitter.

Ruth Ehrhardt is midwife and a doula, she’s been in working in birthing for 8 years now , and 4 years as a midwife. She specialises in out-of-hospital births. She works mainly in the South peninsula area.

Ruth Ehrhardt -Midwives & Doulas of South Africa - Portraits by Leah Hawker

“The births are incredible and there are too many that stand out but one of the things I love is how time seems to suspend itself at a birth…how the world almost has to groan to a halt to make space for this woman and her baby.”

“I do feel that part of women’s disempowerment in this arena stems from a lack of a sense of autonomy and ownership of their own bodies. So we really need to begin work with young girls and women.”

• (I invite more participants to join the project, you are welcome to email me for more information).

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

Positive Birth in South Africa: This is Caitlyn Collins


The Gate-Keepers: A Portraiture Project

This is a portraiture project, documenting the “gatekeepers” of a growing movement regarding positive birth experiences in our country.  My aim: to promote those who are enabling women to identify with their power and femininity and therefore normalize birth and the body.

These are their stories / anecdotes / opinions about what they do and how they see it…accompanied by my portraits and some general information on each sitter.

Caitlyn Collins is a doula and a midwife, and has been practicing for 10 years, she works in and around Cape Town and the peninsula.
I know Caitlyn from School times and always found her so serene, strong and beautiful.

Caitlyn Collins -Midwives & Doulas of South Africa - Portraits by Leah Hawker

“The first person a healthy women should see when she knows she is pregnant is a midwife. Pregnancy is not an illness.”

“Women should have their rights respected in pregnancy and childbirth – they should be provided with holistic information and be the leaders in their journey to becoming mothers with informed choice that is fully respected by care providers. Birth should not be ruled by fear of medical litigation.”

• (I invite more participants to join the project, you are welcome to email me for more information).

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

Positive Birth in South Africa: This is Janine Doerheit


The Gate-Keepers: A Portraiture Project

This is a portraiture project, documenting the “gatekeepers” of a growing movement regarding positive birth experiences in our country.  My aim: to promote those who are enabling women to identify with their power and femininity and therefore normalize birth and the body.

These are their stories / anecdotes / opinions about what they do and how they see it…accompanied by my portraits and some general information on each sitter.

Janine Doerheit is a doula who works from the CBD to the deep South in Cape Town. She’s been in this profession for 2 years now and specialises in hypnobirthing and is a qualified paramana doula.

Janine Doerheit -Birth South Africa - Portraits by Leah Hawker

“Something I try and instill in my clients is the effect that the mind has over the whole labour and birth process. Most of us focus very strongly on the physical preparation, be it yoga, exercise or correct diet, however almost all of us put hardly any effort into the mind/body aspect. We all know the sayings; “you reap what you sow”, etc but are not fully aware of how much the stories in our minds control our birthing experience.
The mind is our most powerful tool and when we have control over our mind and are able to switch it off, to disengage the neocortex (our thinking brain), when we are able to well and truly relax, we will be able to birth with ease. This applies to alleviating our fears and anxieties too, which are mostly unfounded. If we are fearful or anxious we create tension which hinders the birthing process.”

• (I invite more participants to join the project, you are welcome to email me for more information).

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

Positive Birth in South Africa: This is Natasha Stadler


The Gate-Keepers: A Portraiture Project

This is a portraiture project, documenting the “gatekeepers” of a growing movement regarding positive birth experiences in our country.  My aim: to promote those who are enabling women to identify with their power and femininity and therefore normalize birth and the body.

These are their stories / anecdotes / opinions about what they do and how they see it…accompanied by my portraits and some general information on each sitter.

Natasha Stadler is a midwife with 28 years experience up her sleeve. She works from Somerset West and specialises in water births at home. She as her own mini-clinic and birthing room for her clients.

Natasha Stadler -Birth South Africa - Portraits by Leah Hawker

“The ongoing journey of witnessing women in their transition from victim to victor, from fear to loving forgiveness, is an absolute privilege. To see and assist their partners and assist them to reclaim their place as protectors and providers of strength, love and safety is an honour and all of this I am humbly grateful for.”

“My “work” as a midwife: Having trained in hospital and being exposed to the “mechanics” and pathology of child birthing, my approach to child birth was rather practical. Through the many opportunities throughout the years I was able to see and to learn from wonderful professionals and parents in various parts of the world bringing birth from a place of chaos to a place of peace, from a place of illness to a place of love.”

• (I invite more participants to join the project, you are welcome to email me for more information).

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

Positive Birth in South Africa: This is Fiona Cuff


The Gate-Keepers: A Portraiture Project

This is a portraiture project, documenting the “gatekeepers” of a growing movement regarding positive birth experiences in our country.  My aim: to promote those who are enabling women to identify with their power and femininity and therefore normalize birth and the body.

These are their stories / anecdotes / opinions about what they do and how they see it…accompanied by my portraits and some general information on each sitter.

Fiona Cuff was an oceanographer but is now a doula. She specialises in hypnosis and hypo birthing which she has been doing now for three years.

Fiona Cuff -Birth South Africa - Portraits by Leah Hawker

“I would really like to see a turnaround in the birthing world in SA, where women are informed about evidence-based research with regards to antenatal care, birthing and breastfeeding. I am passionate about assisting in communicating this information to all women, both private and public sectors so that know they have choices and are not just “another patient”.”

• (I invite more participants to join the project, you are welcome to email me for more information).

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

Positive Birth in South Africa: This is Asanda Bobotyane


The Gate-Keepers: A Portraiture Project

This is a portraiture project, documenting the “gatekeepers” of a growing movement regarding positive birth experiences in our country.  My aim: to promote those who are enabling women to identify with their power and femininity and therefore normalize birth and the body.

These are their stories / anecdotes / opinions about what they do and how they see it…accompanied by my portraits and some general information on each sitter.

Asanda Bobotyane is a nursing student and aspiring midwife who is based in Cape Town. She has been in the birthing profession for a little over a year now.

Asanda Bobotyane -Birth South Africa - Portraits by Leah Hawker

“I had all my children in the government hospital and it wasn’t nice… There are women being assaulted when they don’t want to push out their baby when the midwife says they must.
I’d like to see women treated with more kindness and respect when they give birth in government hospitals. The abuse needs to stop!”

“I also think that people worry too much about how their bodies change, and the pressure to look good even after you have children. They forget about the precious gift of having a child and how this is more important than how your body will change afterwards.”

 

• (I invite more participants to join the project, you are welcome to email me for more information).

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail this to someone