Do something that scares you everyday (or The opening night for BOLD Birth Theatre, Joburg)

Do one thing every day that scares you.

Eleanor Roosevelt US diplomat & reformer (1884 – 1962)

Wow! I can’t believe that after months of talking, planning and rehearsing, we are finally here – we had our first performance for press and birth professionalslast night. It was great!!!

I’ll be honest – I was nervous about how it would be received. None of us are professional actresses and the most acting any of us had done until now was a bit of highschool/uni drama. And that was a long long time ago! We decided to perform the play with our scripts in hand, to help with the confidence levels, make sure the stories flowed and were portrayed accurately. I was concerned that whilst this was clearly an amateur performance, that having scripts in hand would make it look even more amateurish. But I think my fear was unfounded. We all knew our parts really well and while the scripts were there as a comfort blankie, I don’t think they detracted from the story at all!

There were lots of nerves, lots of rescue remedy drops were consumed, lots of calming essential oils were inhaled (don’t laugh, most of us are birthy, slightly crunchy girls who believe in that sort of thing!) and we all had a glass of red wine beforehand to alleviate the jitters.

And then it was time. With the first laugh from the audience, I knew we would be okay. One of the tag lines from the play is “My body rocks” and last night we definitely rocked!

During the interval, we were happy – it was going well and confidence levels were up, but so were my nerves… my “big scene” happens in Act 2. But it went so well – no lines forgotten or skipped… after that it was smooth swift sailing to the end. WE DID IT!

There was an interesting discussion after the play with the audience about the content and message of the play and that was kind of the point of it all – we are all activists for better birth experiences for mothers the world over and this was activist theatre. If you left the auditorium with something to think about, then I believe that we did what we set out to do.  

One of the highlights of the evening was to meet Karen Clarke, the founder of Busfare Babies – they are the beneficiary of all of our performances and they deserve every cent for the wonderful work that are doing with rural mothers in Hamburg, Eastern Cape.

We ended the night on such a high, chatting and hungrily consuming the leftovers from the cheese and wine function held before the event – with the nerves gone, we were all ravenous!

And we do it all over again on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.

Some photos from last night can be viewed on Jenty’s blog.

For more info check out our Facebook page and our website… and book your tickets!!!

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Being BOLD

A couple of months ago one of my friends from our doula community decided she would like to either stage a performance or a screening of the play “Birth” by Karen Brody. “Birth” is the Vagina Monologues for the birthing world and something about this idea grabbed my attention and wouldn’t let go. Maybe it was the high school drama club in me that needed some attention but I volunteered to get involved and here are – a few months down the line with venues, performance dates set, a website up and running and publicity starting.

In addition to assisting with the organising, I am playing the role of Janet in the play. Janet is a lesbian woman in her early 40’s who decides to have a baby. She is strong willed and I love her determination in spite of what her peers think.

The proceeds of our performances will go in part to BOLD and in part to Busfare Babies.

Bold is an international movement to make maternity care mother-friendly and there have been hundreds of these fundraising performances of Birth around the world since 2006.

Busfare Babies is a local non profit birth house situated in the Eastern Cape whose aim is to bring gentle, safe birth to local rural women.

Please check out our website and if this is a cause which speaks to you, please support us by seeing our play or donating to our cause or forwarding details on to whoever you think would be keen to help!

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What’s a doula to do?

I am getting ready, mentally and physically, to be a doula at a birth soon. I don’t take on many births so this is a challenge for me.

I am refreshing my knowledge of the practicalities, accupressure points, aromatherapy oils.

I must gather the contents of my doula kit – it hasn’t been used in a while and the important bits have been relocated elsewhere – for example, the rescue remedy is in my medicine chest and the tea tree oil next to my bath, the rice bag is next to my bed.

It will be a home birth – I need to get my head around that. Most of my experience is birth unit based births. I need to consider all new aspects of birth that I may be faced with when helping to deliver a baby at someone’s home.

Most importantly, I need to get into the right headspace to be of value to the expectant couple.

I need to build up my confidence levels – know that I was chosen for a reason and they will appreciate my presence. Thicken my skin in preparation for dealing with a challenging midwife. 

And then I need to empty my cup

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29/31 Having a passion can be a pain in the butt!

I grew up in a family with some fairly rigid religious views which I rejected once I reached an age where I was independent enough to do so. To this day I shy away from sharing strong views on anything. It was hard to grow up feeling different from everyone and I think I always feared rejection because of those differences. It’s a fear I am not entirely sure I have ever grown out of. I do have opinions – but I often keep them to myself, or share them with those who won’t challenge me.

I have realised recently though that whilst my religious views may not be the same as those of my family, I have a passion of a different nature and the fervor with which I approach my passion might actually be similar to the fervor with which my family approach their religion. 

The passion in question is for natural childbirth. I have spent the last few years learning about all things related to childbirth and I have some fairly strong views about the best way for a baby come earth-side. These views often leave me very frustrated as I hear others feeding the misinformation and myth surrounding pregnancy and birth. Misinformation about things like due dates, reasons for c sections, issues with breastfeeding leave me so irritated. I still keep my mouth shut a lot of the time, and that’s probably a good thing as each woman has her own road to travel and for most women, these issues are really non issues. 

It is a lesson that I keep relearning – not to care so much. 

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