I’m over at POSKOD.SG, an “online magazine about modern Singapore and its people, places, and phenomena.” It is, hands down, my favorite local read. Editors Dan Koh and Yu-Mei Balasingamchow do an amazing job of celebrating “the old-school and the cutting-edge; the strange and the familiar; the weird and the wonderful” of this island nation. POSKOD.SG‘s stories are unexpected and interesting.
“Women Helping Women: The Modern Midwifery of Ginny Phang” is a profile of our doula, or birth companion.
On a recent Friday, nearly 30 mothers nestled into Ginny Phang’s cosy Chip Bee Gardens home. The room hummed with the chatter of new mothers and mothers-to-be, punctuated by infants’ cries and coos. The women – and occasionally men – shared ‘war stories’ about the physicality, isolation and elation of parenting. From her corner, Phang instructed one mother on how to best use a ring sling and tended to another mother’s breastfeeding ‘SOS’. All the while, her iPhone buzzed over the din; her fast fingers sent support and information, perhaps to a first-time mother in early labour or to one of the many obstetricians with whom she works regularly.
Phang is a doula, or birth companion, and every Friday she hosts a “Mothers’ Circle” in her home. I first found myself at Phang’s in July 2011 when I was a few months into my first pregnancy. My partner and I had recently relocated from New York City to Singapore and we were keen on hiring a doula to educate us about childbirth and childrearing in Singapore, and to be our constant companion during and shortly after the birth of our child. Since then, I’ve been a regular attendee at Mothers’ Circle (though now with baby in tow).
Pinning Phang down to chat is no easy task. Her life moves at a frantic, organic and unpredictable pace. On the weekends, she teaches HypnoBirthing and breastfeeding pre-natal group classes. During the week, she is either attending a birth, overseeing her growing business Four Trimesters, or spending time with her pre-teen son Kieran, whom she describes as “the compass and the anchor of my life.”
Finally, on a humid Friday morning, we sat down in her backyard, her goldendoodle Junior underfoot, to discuss modern medicine and modern motherhood.
Continue reading here.