Meet the Organic Birth Team!

Melissa Mann

Placenta Specialist & Certified Doula (KwaZulu Natal Region)
I attended a homebirth as a young teenager, it was memorable but not a life-changing event. It just seemed quite normal. When I got married and my husband and I were considering having a baby, my friend’s experiences were quite different to that first birth I had experienced. Many of them felt unsatisfied with their birth experiences and were unable to breastfeed. This lead me to my work in birth after I certified as a doula in 2007. I am passionate about supporting families in whatever decisions they make around their birth, post-partum and parenting experiences, by offering them the guidance and support to do what they really want to do. Most of the time it’s just encouraging them that what is happening is normal. I have been offering Placenta Encapsulation services through my company, Organic Birth since 2012, after a client from the States, who was a Placenta Specialist herself trained me to do it for her. Since then, I have improved my skills and training relating to this and have aligned the process with international standards as well as developed a local course specifically for the South African market, including all legal aspects and hospital protocols. I have trained four further Placenta Specialists that work under the Organic Birth umbrella. I encapsulated my placenta after the birth of my second child and my post-partum experience was worlds away from my first. Most of all, I had so much energy, and the lack of sleep didn’t affect me at all. That in itself is enough benefit for me to encapsulate for any future babies I may have. I homeschool my two children, write articles on birth, parenting and the post-partum, work in other creative endeavors as well as focus on the full administration, marketing, research and development, further training and legal aspects of Organic Birth.

“For birth companions to simply be, to do nothing when nothing is all there is to be done, to offer support without judgement, guidance without attachment, love without conditions – that is perhaps the greatest challenge and the greatest gift.” Vicki Chan, Midwife

Shannon Roach

Placenta Specialist, Midwife Assistant & Certified Doula (Gauteng Region)
I have always been very interested in natural birth and watched too many friends be forced unnecessarily into caesarean section births. I began studying direct entry midwifery in 2010 and supported mothers during their births as well as assisted at a local birth centre. I did my Placenta Specialist training in 2012 as the second in the Organic Birth team and took over from Melissa in Johannesburg when she moved to Durban. I fell pregnant in 2013 and gave birth to my daughter who was stillborn at term. I encapsulated my placenta after her birth which assisted greatly with the depression and loss of my daughter and in this way managed to steer away from anti-depressants. I was even able to donate milk for NICU babies for several months. During this time, I also decided to officially study as a doula through Childbirth International and I currently work for an esteemed private midwife as her assistant, doing her administration, bookings and assisting at births as well as doing placenta processing for Organic Birth.

Charlene Yared-West

Placenta Specialist, Certified Doula & Hypnobirthing Practitioner (Western Cape Region)
I am founder of the Relax Into Birth programme and I am a WOMBS trained birth doula and postpartum doula, Hypnobirthing practitioner and hypnotherapist (non medical). I also have a degree in Journalism (2003) and I write for a host of South African women’s monthly magazines, including Longevity and Life Healthcare. In addition to placenta encapsulation, I also offer holistic massage using Colour Therapy through Reflexology and Usui Reiki Ryoho for pregnancy and the postnatal period.

When I fell pregnant, I could not believe nor trust my body to attempt natural birth, but through education and encouragement, I changed from planning an elective caesarean in hospital to having a homebirth with an independent midwife and assistant midwife/doula in attendance.

Working as a doula and creating the Relax Into Birth programme has given me a very practical perspective on birth. My aim at every birth is to mirror exactly what the mother needs in any given situation, so that the experience she has is a positive one. My experience has taught me how important it is to educate and support mothers through their pregnancy, labour and birth so that they know they have options available to them to make informed decisions at every point on their birthing journey. It is also the reason why I love being able to offer the service of placenta encapsulation to mothers to help in the postpartum period. I always say that if I have another baby, I will be encapsulating my placenta. I didn’t know this option existed when I had my son in 2011. His placenta is buried under a most fruitful lemon tree in our backyard!

Mary-Jane Smith

Placenta Specialist & Midwife in Private Practice (Eastern Cape Region)
I have been passionate about birth for as long as I can remember, and always dreamed of being a midwife. I did my Bcur Degree in 2011 and became a midwife. When I fell pregnant with my first child I knew in my heart that birth had to be more that what I was seeing in the hospitals, and thus my own journey of pregnancy and birth began. I began frantically researching normal, natural birth. I read every book I could get my hands on from Ina May Gaskin, to Grantly dick Read and I fell in love with birth all over again. I did a few home births with the lady who was to be my midwife (Karen Clark) and saw the difference that a caring midwife, a protected space and a familiar environment can have on a woman. On the 7th of January 2014 (43+ weeks pregnant) I gave birth to my 4.2kg 1st born son, and I knew my life would never be the same again. I was so empowered and transformed by this experience, I just knew I needed to be able to give this gift to woman. After the birth of my son I worked as a private midwife for 2 years. During this time, I trained under Organic Birth and became a Placenta Specialist. I offered this service to my clients and saw the difference it made to their moods, energy levels and recovery period. When I fell pregnant again I just knew that I needed to try it out for myself. After the birth of my second son, I encapsulated my placenta and was amazed at how much energy I had and how stable I felt compared to the first birth. I feel so honoured to be able to offer this gift to new moms. I work as a private midwife and offer placenta encapsulation services through Organic Birth.