The setting is perfect; you might find soft music playing in the background, the lights dimmed, in a space meticulously chosen and surrounded by the closest people to her. It's not a romantic dinner but a home birth. While it is a practice dating back centuries before transitioning to hospital births, today more and more women in Aruba are considering or choosing to have their babies at home. This growing group is supported by a Doula, assisting in this beautiful process. Roxanne is the founder of Mama of Light, through which she provides this special assistance. It's a job she calls her passion, beginning when she was only 9 years old.

“The role of a Doula is a very ancient one. It is a woman supporting another woman through the most essential processes of her life. A Holistic Doula is a woman who has been professionally trained to offer guidance, support, and care in the mental, emotional, spiritual, and educational aspects during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum. My love for this work began at the age of 9. At that age, I attended my first ‘birth,’ that of our family dog at home. That day I was completely amazed by the experience of watching a puppy be born. That's where my love for biology also began, and why I decided to study Biology. Fast forward many years later, living and studying in the Netherlands, I attended many spiritual ceremonies where I felt that one of my life's purposes is to guide and support women through all the ‘rites of passages’ they experience in their lives in a holistic way. After that, I decided to start my journey and took my courses in the Netherlands. Every day I learn.”

“My ideal patient is a woman who wants to feel empowered during her pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum, or any other feminine experience (miscarriage, abortion, infertility, etc.). A woman who is open-minded and who wants or desires to connect more deeply with her body, soul, and feminine essence. Who not? Well, I believe a woman who is ‘super closed-minded,’ who does not want or is open to learning new things and who lets fear dominate her life.”

“With the knowledge I have gained from my studies in Molecular Biology, I understand the physiological processes of the female body much more deeply. Hormones, the nervous system, menstrual cycles, etc. From a holistic perspective, I understand how all this connects with the mental, emotional, and spiritual state of the woman and how they can affect each other. This gives me the chance to support a woman much more deeply, intentionally, and personally in the process she is undergoing. Whatever that may be.”

“It's beautiful to see a mother/woman learn to trust the wisdom of her body and intuition more. It is beautiful to see a woman feel empowered in the most important processes of her life and also to see her remember the immense power that lives within her. The most challenging part is to see how often the birth and/or female health system in Aruba does not really prioritize the mental, emotional, and spiritual health of the mother/woman first. This creates a ‘gap in the system’ that is difficult to fill if not many people are aware of it.”

“In my opinion, the birthing process is a very spiritual and sacred act. I always meditate before attending a birth and visualize the best possible outcome. During a birth itself, I pray and ask for the energy of love from God to work through me, through the mother, and the baby. I do not only do this during childbirth but also before I work with any woman.”

“Currently, I am one of the few (or the only one) who practices as a Doula on our island. The role of a Doula is very new in Aruba but also extremely necessary. Many women experience traumatic births or very difficult postpartum periods. A Doula offers guidance, support, and care to help the mother experience these periods in a more pleasant way. Not everyone knows about the work of a Doula or even that these services are available on our island. Over time, I hope to see more mothers interested in these services and, at the same time, more Doulas doing their work with a lot of love and intention.”

“The work of a Doula is not the same as that of a Midwife. A Doula and midwife work together. A midwife focuses on the medical aspects of childbirth and a Doula focuses on the emotional, mental, spiritual, and educational aspects. Normally, a midwife is with a mother at the moment the baby is born in a hospital, and a Doula is with the mother throughout the entire labor, delivery, and postpartum process, whether at home or in a hospital. There have been cases where I have had to perform the role of a midwife. This happened when babies came very quickly and the midwife could not arrive in time. In such cases, I also have the knowledge and experience to handle the situation.”

“Much of the prenatal and postnatal care in Aruba is ‘baby-centered’ and not ‘mother-centered.’ Often, the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health of the mother is sidelined, and all attention goes to the baby. We forget that a mother needs the same care, especially since she too is being born anew. Gradually, I am seeing changes happening in the prenatal and postnatal care system in Aruba, and this makes me very happy, but there is still a long way to go. One of the things I wish to see more of in Aruba is home births. The same thing that all our ancestors used to do. This is the best thing that supports a physiological birth between the mother and the baby. Since childbirth is the most natural thing our bodies can do, it is not necessarily a medical event. The Netherlands has the highest rate of home births in the world, and in Aruba, it is almost non-existent. As an island of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, I believe this is a beautiful example that we can start to follow.”

“Mama of Light is the name of my company, and it is a name I chose with great intention. To be a ‘Mother of Light’ is the vision I have for all the mothers on the island. A mother/woman who stands in her feminine power and light. A woman who shines brightly and shares her glow with her children and our entire society. Another inspiration for this name came from the Papiamento word for ‘give birth,’ which is ‘duna lus.’ We as women bring light into the world when we have a baby. Every baby and person is a being of light.”

“One of the greatest fears many mothers-to-be have is the pain of childbirth. During my workshops and one-on-one prenatal sessions, I provide mothers with a lot of information and teach them various techniques and practices of the ‘hypnobirthing’ approach, so they can learn to deal with the sensations of childbirth in a very calm and controlled manner. I also teach fathers how to better support the mother during the childbirth process but also in the postpartum period. When a woman truly understands how the childbirth process fits together, she will know how to support her body and her mental state better. Knowledge is power, and applied knowledge is even more powerful.”

“The current allopathic medical system is a very new system in the history of humanity. But the work of natural midwives and holistic Doulas is an ancient job. Only in the last 80 years has childbirth been medicalized. As I mentioned earlier, childbirth is a physiological act of the body and functions better when a mother is mentally, emotionally, and spiritually balanced. Many women experience traumatic births and very difficult moments during their pregnancy. This is exactly why the work of a Doula is so important. As a Doula, I support and assist mothers in these processes and also educate them about all their options during childbirth.”

“Future mothers, your pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum are very sacred experiences in your life that can affect you until the day you die. Take the initiative to prepare yourself in every way. It is your human right as a woman to experience all this feeling empowered in your body.”