(Left to right) A/Nurse Manager Operations Michelle De Vroome, Eliza Pross, Chief Executive Deb Willcox, NSLHD Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Service RN Jami Seale and Director of the NSLHD Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Service Peter Shine
new resource to guide mothers and their families A new booklet will provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mums-to-be and their families across the district with information they need to successfully navigate their pregnancy.
“This resource pulls together existing information, but shares it back with our community in a way that recognises the role of mind, body and spirit in caring for ourselves and our babies,” Eliza said. “Hopefully it provides families with a sense of safety and encouragement during a time that can be quite overwhelming, particularly within the Western health system. “I hope the booklet empowers Aboriginal women to know what to ask for and gives them space to value themselves and think about what they want from their journey in a format that’s not overwhelming.” A ceremony to launch the booklet was held at RNSH on Thursday, August 4 to coincide with National Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day. It featured a commemorative performance by members of the Koomurri Aboriginal Dance Troupe. In addition to the booklet, posters based on the well-known children’s ‘Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes,’ rhyme, translated into the Dharug and Guringai languages, have also been created by NSLHD Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Services Integrated Team Care Manager Ruby Van Kool. The posters will be displayed in maternity, paediatric and child youth and family services across the district and aim to provide a further welcome and support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mums and families. “We know Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mums-to-be are always clinically safe in our care, but we want them to feel safe holistically too,” NSLHD Chief Executive Deb Willcox said. “There’s many issues facing all mums-to-be. The booklet and posters will help remove some of the stresses facing new mothers and their families.”
‘Tiny Feet, Big Journeys’ – A Guide for Pregnant Women and Families contains extensive details for mums and their families living or birthing across the region, providing information in an accessible and culturally- relevant format. The booklet is a collaboration between the Northern Sydney LHD Nursing and Midwifery Directorate, Maternal, Neonatal and Women’s Health Network and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Services. It was compiled by Ochre and Salt, a northern Sydney-based Consultancy. “This booklet is about empowering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in a format that recognises our holistic concepts of wellbeing and supports women to know their rights,” Ochre and Salt Director Eliza Pross, a Yuin/Nueonne woman who developed the booklet in partnership with representatives from each organisation, said. “It’s also about giving them space to think about what is important for them during and after their pregnancies.” The 42-page booklet contains several first- hand accounts from mums sharing their experiences of issues including preparing for birth, post-natal depression, breast feeding and bonding with their new baby, among others. It will be available via the NSLHD Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Service website and intranet and at all maternity and child youth and family services across the district.
NSLHD Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Services Integrated Team Care Manager Ruby Van Kool (2nd to right) with the translated posters she developed
Attendees were treated to a performance by the Koomurri dance group
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