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.

Ayla Nowell

Placenta Specialist & Midwife in Private Practice (Western Cape Region)
I have always loved babies and qualified as a midwife in 1986. I birthed my own 6 babies, 4 of which were born at home and all were breastfed for varying lengths of time. I became passionate about homebirths after my first homebirth in 1987 and have been interested in expanding womens’ experience of birth through different modalities to increase their emotional capacity to surrender to the process of birth fearlessly. I am studying family constellation and soul integration therapies with this in mind. I trained with Organic Birth in 2013 after one of my clients insisted on having it due to post-natal depression after her 2nd child. I have not looked back as all clients so far have been impressed with the effects. I have 25 years’ experience in the birthing field and currently work as a midwife in private practice as well as offer placenta encapsulation services through Organic Birth.

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.

Relma Erasmus

Placenta Specialist & Certified Doula (Free State Region)
I am 54 years old, a mother of 3 and grandmother of 4. I love photography, gardening, cooking and handcrafts of any sort. After having 3 traumatic births, the last one which left my youngest son mentally and physically disabled, left me with a sense of pregnancy and labour being something of dread and sorrow. I never realised birth could be something magical until my daughter had a waterbirth with a private midwife in Bloemfontein – Yolande Maritz, and the birth was BEAUTIFUL!!! That was when doula inside of me was born. I did my doula training and then mentored under Yolande. I did extensive reading and came across placenta encapsulation. I loved the idea and the benefits and found Organic Birth, did the training and now offer Placenta Encapsulation as well as doula services.