I was born in a small town called Beaufort West, South Africa. Beaufort West is a typical small town about 450 km from Cape Town, with a rich romantic history. The town is regarded as the halfway mark when travelling on the N1 from Cape Town to Johannesburg. The town was called Beaufort in honour of Lord Charles Somerset’s father, the fifth Duke of Beaufort, and man who could trace his lineage back to the Plantagenets. Beaufort West became the first municipality in South Africa and had the first town hall in the country as well. Beaufort West people are very friendly and helpful and has produced many medical greats. The world’s first heart transplant surgeon, Christiaan Barnard was born en bred in Beaufort West.
I was a former resident of the old Bo-dorp. Many coloured families lived there before apartheid, but we were moved to live in a area south of the town. The old Bo-dorp’s past is filled with family sagas and many stories about the old business district of early New Street. I attended the Old North End School, now a second hand motor spare type of store.
I grew up with 5 sibblings. Life was sometimes very tuff. Needless to say, my life was always very interesting. I grew up in a culture where large families and birth are common and celebrated events. This was a big factor in influencing me to choose midwifery as a career. I am a midwife and an educator, with a steady devotion to chilbirth. I began my midwifery journey through Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town. I trained first as a nurse and then as a midwife, qaulifying in 1983. I enjoyed many different clinical placements in South Africa, varying from rural midwifery, attending home births to a nursing placement attending births in a busy city hospital. I am also proud to be carrying on in the footsteps of my great-grandmother, grandmother and great-aunt, who worked as midwives in Beaufort West rural areas.
I believe that birth is a healthy and natural body function and that it should be left alone so that birthing women will give birth with dignity. That is why my primary responsiblity is to empower women to give birth sponstnously. I love to spend quality time educating and upporting women and their families during this special period in their life.
Midwifery to me means informing, supporting and respecting women and their families through this profound period of their lives. To understand that birth, and pregnancy can be laden with broad values and vast diversity are also elements I see central to midwifery. As old as the midwifery profession is, it is enriched by older values and I am honoured to be part of it. My work is exciting, rewarding and very satisfying. Working with women, their families and babies at this very speical time in their lives is immeasurable. For this reason I keep my skills and information current by attending conferences and workshops around the world.