What I do know about the story of my own birth is that my mother wanted to have a home birth, she was born at home and as had everyone else in her family, but she was living in Switzerland at the time and she was living in a communal house and she was a single mother and the man of the house, the man who sort of ran the house, said that there was absolutely no ways that this African girl was going to squat down and have a baby in his house, and the nearest sort of natural birthing centre was in the next Canton, which is like a province. And so, I think her friends chipped in for her to be able to go to this state of the art, private hospital near there, but that was with a doctor, and the doctor was going away on holiday the week that I was due, so then she was booked in for an induction the week before her due date, and her friend took her there and dropped her off and she was induced that evening. And she took with her this little green statue which she had brought back from South Africa, she was a rape counsellor in South Africa, and she brought with her this statue that this woman who was grateful for the counselling she had done. She brought that with her, that was her doula, that was her sort of link back to South Africa in this hospital room in Switzerland. And my dad wasn’t there, he was in England. He was actually married to somebody else at the time, so he was on the phone telling her how to breathe, sort of sneaking phone calls because his wife wasn’t allowed to know that my mother was in labour with me in this hospital [starts laughing] room in Switzerland, and she kept hanging up on him because he was irritating her. I know that she had to labour on her back and that she had a foetal heart monitor strapped to her, that she laboured for 12 hours, and that she birthed on her own and that I was 5 kilos. But she never spoke about it a negative way, she always spoke about it in a very positive way and she gave me a very positive imprint of my birth, so… that’s in short is what I know about my birthing story.
Meet the artist
Photographing the story telling circles has been more than just a job for me or another photography booking. It definitely had me questioning my relationship with my mother and got me thinking about it actively and how I can be a better daughter and assist her where I can. I totally related with some of the stories shared, further solidifying the fact that you do not have to give birth in order to understand mothers or be a mother. The circles has allowed me to redefine what being a mother is entirely. I definitely want to host a circle with my aunts, cousins, mom, gran and the rest of the matriarchs in the Mkosi family to have similar conversations.