On the eve of the birth of her third child, Ayanda Borotho opens up to LOREN STOW about what pregnancy, labour and birth mean to her and her husband.
When Ayanda Borotho was given the gift of her second pregnancy, 10 years after her first, she was endowed not only with a decade’s worth of wisdom and life experience, but also with an entirely more supportive environment into which she would bring this new life forth. She was able to make different choices – and she desperately wants to share these with other mothers-to-be in South Africa in the hope of igniting a spark within them.
“My approach to labour and birth has evolved as I’ve grown,” explains the 35-year-old businesswoman and actress, who is best known for her roles in SABC1’s Nomzamo and more recently as Phumelele Zungu in Mzani Magic’s Isibaya, among other television appearances. She studied speech and drama in her home province of KwaZulu-Natal and is also qualified in advertising and brand management. She reveals her husband, a former medical doctor turned businessman, was a significant influence in her changing views. “He firmly believes that women are made to be too afraid of birth, a process that is completely natural,” she explains.
When the couple discovered they were expecting their first son three years ago Ayanda knew she wanted a different birth experience from her first a decade before. “At first I didn’t know exactly what I wanted, but I knew there had to be a more fulfilling and intimate birth experience out there. So I started to look around.” At the time Ayanda discovered a television programme that followed women as they were having home births and this sparked a connection in Ayanda. She recognised that this was something she felt fitted her vision of ‘something different’. “My firstborn was in delivered in hospital, but both my husband and I don’t see birth as a medical condition that needs treatment in a medical facility; rather, it’s a natural event that could happen in our home with the right support.” And so the couple’s homebirth journey began.