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Women Related Happenings

Midwifery & Birth Conference 2017

In 2017 I was approached to document the Midwifery and Birth Conference hosted in Observatory, Cape Town by founders Ruth Ehrhardt, Lana Peterson, Gauri Lowe, Melinda Rollinson, Marianne Littlejohn and Sarah Meder.


The event which was founded in 2013 has been incredibly successful in uniting a community of both public and private sector nurses, doctors, midwives, doulas and other folk in the midwifery and birth industry in South Africa.

You can find the interviews and presentations which were held at the event on their YouTube channel here.

A bit about the event, text from their facebook page:

Our main goal is to promote sharing and collaboration between birth professionals and the women they serve. Our aim with the yearly conference is to provide a platform on which both birth professionals, mothers and fathers can all come together to discuss and debate relevant topics.

We hope that this space will provide fertile ground to inspire and create change in the South African culture of birth – whether encouraging more individuals to become caring, compassionate Doctors and Midwives, to helping find solutions to the deep crises in government maternity care, or to help mothers and fathers find their voice in decisions made at the highest levels.

You can find their Facebook page for more info here.

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Interviews & Conversations Projects Women I've Shot

Positive Birth in South Africa: This is Heidi Padoa


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 the processes before, during and after birth.

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.

Heidi is a doula based in the Garden Route area, Western Cape, South Africa. I met her at the Midwifery and Birth Conference in Cape Town in 2015. Heidi has been a doula for 6 years. She qualified as a professional labour and birth assistant through WOMBS in 2010 and has birthed 8 children herself (her own and surrogate), including; home, hospital, caesarean, breech and twin birth.

“I believe that the birth of a baby is a deeply sacred and miraculous event, filled with mystery, challenges, beauty, power, love and great joy which will affect women emotionally for as long as they live. It is divinely created to be a perfect, safe and strengthening process.
A woman is in her greatest power during childbirth, working with the co-creative forces of nature to allow the miracle of life to pass through her.”


“I most love to help women throughout their journey in pregnancy and birth, by providing emotional, informational and physical support, as I serve them as a doula.
I have attended many home, hospital and caesarean births, including the unassisted, undisturbed HBAC of twins and an amazing, unassisted HBA5C  (home waterbirth after 5 cesareans), amongst all the other miraculous births I have had the privilege to support”.

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

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Categories
Interviews & Conversations Projects Women I've Shot

Positive Birth in South Africa: This is Marianne Littlejohn


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.

Marianne Littlejohn has been a midwife for 34 years (actively practicing for 25 years). Marianne runs the platform Spiritual Birth which encourages women to have more empowered and profound birthing experiences. She is also the founder and director of the Mtwana Birth Centre in Muizenberg and specialises in natural births for which she is a fierce advocate.

Based in Cape Town, Marianne runs Antenatal Clinics in Rondebosch and Muizenberg, but travels to the northern suburbs for mothers who want homebirths.

Marianne Littlejohn Indipendent South African Midwife portrait by Leah Hawker

 “I have witnessed a lot of changes during my time as an active midwife and seen how birth has become more medicalized over the years in both the private and public sectors for different reasons.

In the public sector, the sheer numbers of women needing assistance and the decrease in the number of midwives, results in less one-on-one midwifery care for mothers.
Ideally midwifery care should be one midwife per each mother.
My approach is to educate and empower the mother to surrender to the physiological process of birth (yes, this innate knowledge is part of how we are made) and become conscious of the opportunity for growth and empowerment in the process of becoming a parent.”

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

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Categories
Interviews & Conversations Projects Women I've Shot

Positive Birth in South Africa: This is Yolande Maritz


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.

Yolande Maritz is a specialist midwife who works in central South Africa (Free State, Northern Cape and Lesotho). She is a trained water birth midwife , VBAC midwife and doula trainer.
Yolande has now been 7 years in independent practice as a midwife .

Yolande Maritz -Midwives & Doulas of South Africa - Portraits by Leah Hawker

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

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