It is never easy to pindown an on-call home birth midwife but this month we managed to interview Sandy Standish, an independent midwife practicing in Cape Town.
How long have you been offering home birth services for?
I had my first own home birth in 1987 which sparked the passion. I started private midwifery in 1993 with Joy McPherson.
What are the reasons mothers come to you (or other midwives) for a home birth?
Mothers come to me mostly to experience a natural birth with as little intervention as possible. They want to have medical support without being disempowered. Home births also allow the privacy to birth however you feel works for you whether it is dancing wildly or meditating quietly, the space is yours to do what you like with. So birth is a much more private affair and is unique to each mother’s own expression of it..
What are the challenges you face as a midwife offering home birth?
The challenges as a home birth midwife is, always, about the backup and attitudes towards home birth. There is a degree of risk involved due to the limitations around medical support in an out of a hospital setting. Therefore, there is resistance and concern around obstetric backup. It is also the responsibility of the midwife to be aware of her limitations and move sooner rather than later if there is a concern around outcomes.
How did you get involved in home birth? Can you tell us about the first home birth you attended? What stood out for you?
Joy had only worked in hospital and she had the first home birth client and was stressed out so wanted me to be there as support and that is how we started having 2 midwives at a birth as was not the norm before that. I remember it was a typical cape winter night with rain and all.But we were happily ensconced in a warm home and praying we didn’t have to go anywhere. The birth went well.
For more info on Sandy and the services she offers (which include placenta encapsulation, childbirth preparation classes as well as private midwifery services) visit her website Birthing Naturally.