I have known Magdeleen, or Maggie if you prefer, for more than ten years and our friendship reached a whole new level when she became my Doula last year... Not many people know Maggie the way I do and I recently took the time to interview her so you can get to know her a little better... Who is the doula behind the scrubs? Let's find out...
Q: Maggie, please tell us more about yourself? Where were you born, schooling, siblings, the basics?
A: I came into this world with a bang. I was my mother's 3rd pregnancy full of complications and I kept on pushing early labour. Eventually my mother was put on bed rest which was very demanding with a toddler running around. She eventually decided to have a birthday party for my brother's who turned two which triggered my labour... (I did not want to miss out on the fun). I was born on a rainy Sunday in 1987 just after 8pm. My tiny self came screaming into the world after a quick labour and birth. I have an older sister of 39 and a brother 32 with whom I share a birthday. As a child you could always spot me miles away by my childish laughter and innocence.
Q: What made you decide to become a doula?
A: I always wanted to follow in my mothers shoes and become a midwife but God had other plans. Somehow nursing school didn't work out. My best friend kept on pushing me to become a Doula and Í finally took the step and it was life changing. This was my calling and this was what God intended for me to become. So far the journey has just been Blissful.
Q: What formal education and training did you complete?
A: I started out studying BCur at the University of North West but ended up graduating in 2009 in Psychology and Human Body Movement studies. Years later I completed my Doula course at Wits University.
Q: How many births have you attended?
A: Over 148 births to date.
Q: What do you enjoy most about your job?
A: Helping women become mothers, and of course cuddling with newborns. :)
Q: What words of wisdom or encouragement would you have for a first time mom attempting natural birth? ...and to one attempting a VBAC?
A: First time mothers can find pregnancy and birth very overwhelming. Its so important to have the right birth support whether you birth with a midwife or a Gynea. First thing I'll suggest is going to pro-natural antenatal classes. Many classes at Private hospitals focus on preparing the mothers for C-sections rather than natural birth.
VBAC mommies, this is your chance to have the birth you wanted without anyone pushing or interfering with your pregnancy and birth journey. Some VBAC mommies did try for a vaginal birth the fist time but had to get a c-section for the health of their babies. Due to the fact that those mommies already experienced labour their chances are much higher to have a successful VBAC.
Q: What would you say to a first time dad in the delivery room?
A: Oh the Dads, how I love men becoming dads. Dads, be calm and listen to your care provider. Trust her to make the right decisions for your wife and baby, and when a mom is in the transitional phase of labour (8-10cm dilated), let her be overwhelmed by her natural high of hormones and do not disturb her with questions and silly jokes. Never leave the birth room for long periods of time. Support and love her as she is bringing your baby into the world.
Q: I heard a little birdie whistle that you foster kittens from time to time. Is this true and why do you do it? A: Oh my four legged babies! I got involved after I adopted my first cat Emma from CatsRus. On the day of her adoption I learned of her dreaded start in life. She was found in a tied plastic bag with her dead siblings and she herself was merely hanging onto life... She was immediately taken to the vet and was placed in the care of a foster mom. Today I call her my fat cat. She is truly special to me and made me want to give back. So, every year I take in one litter and foster them back to health. This year I got two very poorly kittens and I nearly lost them. The next morning I started phoning all my moms and I collected breastmilk for my kittens. Within hours of their first feed of human milk their condition started to improve and today Felix and George are doing fantastic and are very naughty!
Q: Tell us something patients won't know about you? A: Mmmm... I have a hidden talent and I can sing... I completed my Grade 5 International Trinity Classical Music and singing exam with merit earlier this year.
Well, there you have it... She is friendly, fun-loving and passionate about bringing new life into this world. Her care stretches far beyond the delivery room as she befriends and supports her patients throughout their newborn and postpartum journey. She feeds kittens breastmilk and she is a classically trained singer... Far more than just a Doula!