who are we?

Shakti Births is run by Tamryn Schmahl, an accredited HypnoBirthing® Childbirth Educator and certified birth doula in Centurion, Gauteng. We support birthing parents by providing HypnoBirthing® antenatal classes, doula services, and birth equipment for hire/sale. 

meet tamryn

Photo of Tamryn Schmahl

If you enjoy controlling every aspect of your life, the unknown (read: birth) can really throw you off-kilter … Whether it is your first birth or your 7th, you never quite know what to expect.

Hi, I’m Tamryn, and I’m addicted to planning (and childbirth). 

When I fell pregnant, in an effort to control as much as I could about the amazing (but unpredictable) journey that is pregnancy and birth, I did the only logical thing I could think of: I planned and researched as much as I could! I became enthralled with all things birth and watched an inordinate amount of birth videos in my mission to find out every possible thing I could about the adventure that awaited me. It was at that point, while devouring yet another packet of Jelly Beans, that I came across some birth videos that didn’t quite look like the others I had seen … There was no screaming, no chaos, no loud and forceful coaching … Just a calm parent birthing their baby. Some breathed their babies out almost unnoticed, others roared – but one aspect was present in all these births: these fearless parents were so in control and seemed to be in touch with their bodies on a whole new level, while everyone in the room held space for them and just trusted their power, strength, and capability to birth their babies.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I had some very specific fears, including the usual fear of pain and tearing, and that my baby would make herself comfy in a breech position. So, when I found out that the parents in these videos practised something called “HypnoBirthing®”, I had to find out more about it! I promptly found a class in our area and dragged my sceptical husband along. After sharing many aha moments in the first class, we agreed that it was a pretty mind-blowing programme. We completed the course, and I went on to have a fantastic HypnoBirth with my baby girl. 

But something nagged at me, and questions ran through my mind … Now my baby had arrived, how could I continue to experience the magic of childbirth? When would I find myself in that sacred space again? How could I help other birthing parents shatter their fears? How could I support others in achieving the childbirth experience they deserve? I soon found my answer: I would study to become a doula and HypnoBirthing® Childbirth Educator (HBCE). And that is exactly what I did.

 

Still want to know more? Here you go.

In addition to my birth-related certifications as a doula and HBCE, I hold a BA degree in psychology and linguistics (cum laude). I have worked in many diverse fields, including hospitality, motor, publishing, and mental health. I’m also a freelance copy-editor (fiction is my preference), and I love good food, good books, nature, and animals (especially cats). I have a questionable sense of humour and am not one to shy away from profanity (so apologies in advance if a few expletives slip into my posts). 

Some of the words used by my colleagues and friends to describe me are: unbiased, wise, silently impactful, dedicated, warm-hearted, knowledgeable, honest, strong, passionate, calm, pensive, empathetic, adventurous, formidable, dependable, detail-oriented, professional, bullshit-less (yes, she made that up, but I love it), approachable, determined, ethical, organised, wise, assertive, responsible, transparent, and meticulous.

i look forward to joining you on the adventure of a lifetime.

Tamryn Schmahl

Owner | HypnoBirthing® CBE | WOMBS Birth Doula

Me relaxing in labour, around 8cm open.

Birth Philosophy

So, what does a positive birth experience look like? That depends entirely on the parents! What follows are some general beliefs I hold, which guide the unbiased support I provide my clients.
  • The best birthing environment is one in which the birthing parent feels safe and most in control. That may be in a hospital, at home, or in a birth centre.
  • A birthing parent deserves an environment in which their privacy, independence, and emotional security is encouraged and ensured.
  • Preparation of the mind and use of the senses during the birth process – no matter what type of birth you envision – will contribute towards a calmer environment and stronger familial bonding.
  • There is no single right way to birth; each birth is unique. What may be positive for one parent may not be so for another. Only the birthing parent has the right to decide whether or not their birth experience was positive and empowering.
  • Evidence and research is ever evolving, and it is important to evolve with it and think critically.
  • Each unique birth journey should be evaluated before deciding on the best way to support the birthing parent and their family.
  • Expectant parents should have access to information they need or want. They should be able to actively participate in decisions regarding the use of medications and procedures, should this be their wish.
  • Expectant parents are encouraged to choose care providers who share in their vision of birth. Birth plans often change and sometimes don’t allow for a lot of time to think before a decision needs to be taken, so trusting a care provider and being at ease with their recommendations is important. Don’t settle.
  • I will do my utmost best to ensure that a parent is satisfied with their baby’s birth. I cannot guarantee a birth outcome, but I can do my best to help the birthing parent advocate for themselves and their baby, so that they might achieve peace in their heart and know that they were an active participant in their birth journey.

some thoughts on birth

When considering my birth philosophy, or general thoughts about birth and why I am so taken by the process, I find myself thinking back to a beautiful piece called “Toward a Magickal Birth” by Deirdre Pulgram Arthen ©1989. What follows are some excerpts that resonate with me the most (posted with permission). You can read the full piece here.

“Becoming a mother is a sacred act. Bringing forth a new life into this human sphere is, perhaps, the most powerful work that anyone can perform. Without it, we cannot survive. Without it, no heritage, no wisdom, no political or philosophical belief has any meaning. Since the beginning of time, the mystery of birth has been celebrated. Even now, in our society of “rational” and medically dominated childbirth practices, the light of the magic of new life pierces through the surgical masks and steel as a mother greets her newborn. Each birth connects us with all the births that have gone before and with the women who have birthed before us, with all life that is yet to be.

Despite these natural connections, most women giving birth today find it a struggle to move beyond culturally ingrained patterns to an intimate and personal relationship with the eternal, spiritual side of birthing. We are confronted on all sides with horror stories and bad advice. Is it any wonder that so many women approach birthing fearfully, and disconnected from their own power?

We must create an environment for the birth in which we will be able to fully focus our energy without any unnecessary distractions. We must choose carefully the place in which we wish to give birth, the people we wish to support us in the process, and make contingency plans for any eventuality that might occur. While a woman may be at the peak of her power as she moves closer to the instant of birth, she is also in a very vulnerable position should anything unexpected occur. If she has made decisions ahead of time regarding as many possibilities as she can imagine, and if she is surrounded by people she trusts with whom she has shared those decisions, her ability to adjust to difficulties while maintaining her focus is greatly improved.

We never know exactly what the birth will be like, so we enter into the unknown tingling with anticipation. At the same time, we are filled with an inner stillness which echoes the timelessness of what we are about to do. Remember the stereotyped husband who gets flustered and drives away to the hospital, leaving his calm wife in the driveway? All women, regardless of preparation, have access to the racial memories that accompany birth. We know already. We just have to remember.

We enter the chosen place and create our circle. Relying on our intuition and those with whom we have chosen to share this experience, we begin to let go into the process, focusing on what we know. There has never been a time more requisite of perfect love and perfect trust.”

Affiliations

I am trained as a birth doula with Women Offering Mothers Birthing Support (WOMBS) and as a HBCBE with HypnoBirthing® International. I am also a member of Doulas of South Africa (DOSA), and I am a registered birth doula service provider with Discovery Health, Momentum Medical Scheme, and Fedhealth.

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