I met Colleen during a difficult time in my pregnancy. I was diagnosed with depression and the miracle of life, which brooded in my belly, to me, was alien and uncertain. My sister found a doula, highly recommended by local sources from Jeffreys Bay, and it was decided by my family that I should have an interview. One thing, amidst the chaos in my mind, was certain: I wanted a natural birth. I didn’t want to be medicated or cut. It was extremely important to me, that if at all it could be avoided, my child should enter the world in the way my body was biologically built for. This is why Colleen is held in such high esteem because she does stress the importance of natural labour and the favour it holds for both mother and child.
Colleen’s interview was more of a therapy session, this I remember clearly. She was wise and poised. She understood the severity of an unplanned pregnancy and the stress it placed on a single mother. She agreed to be my Doula and I felt such a sense of relief and thus began our journey. I must confess, as a first time mom and an eager knowledge enthusiast I barely touched upon any research regarding child labour. A feat Colleen endorsed. She made me feel very safe and calm and I was told step by step what to expect and what happens to my body during, before and after birth. Most importantly, she said she will be right next to me when ‘the deal goes down’ to go through it again. It’s such a blessing to have someone with so much knowledge and love for the process of birthing just a phone call away. She was always on call, ready to answer any questions and she was a major reason I wasn’t scared.
On the 2nd of July at 5am in the morning I felt contractions and started timing them. They were 5 minutes apart and that’s when I phoned Colleen and told her we are driving to the hospital. When we arrived I was informed that my doctor won’t be on duty for the day and that completely sent me into a state of stress as I thought know I will be cut by a complete stranger. Colleen was there, telling me not to worry, regardless of our doctor not being there, she was, and it will be fine. It turned out that I was in VERY early stages of the birthing process and because the hospital was such a dire and unpleasant experience for me, it was suggested that I go home which I more than willingly did. At 1am on the 3rd of July, my family and myself drove to the hospital. The contractions were all consuming, I was vomiting and sweating and squeezing my mother’s hand through every spasm until I thought I had broken it!
We arrived at the hospital, I had been speaking to Colleen through it all, she was there, ready and professional as always. We were told I was 9cm dilated, rushed to the labour ward where Colleen took me step by step on how to breathe, what is happening and before we knew it the sister handed my baby to me. Thandi was looking at me apprehensively through crystal blue eyes and I stared back the same. Then she cried and pooped on my belly! That’s how we met. Love at first sight!
I can’t explain in words how valuable Colleen was through it all. I also can’t stress enough how important it was to have someone with such an extensive knowledge, calmness and compassion with you through this most sacred journey you’ll ever go on as a woman. Colleen showed me how to latch her, came for 3 more visits to the hospital, explained bath time, skin on skin, demand feeding and I honestly confess that natural labour, and all Colleen’s passed on wisdom is why I have the calmest, healthiest, most adorable daughter anyone could ask for. I know all mothers say this: but she really is perfect!!! For that, I am eternally grateful to Colleen.