Cultural connection and health top priorities for new mums and bubs

Telena Douglas with son Jonty. Photo supplied by West Moreton Health.

A new program to support first-time Indigenous mums is being set up at Redbank Plains Community Centre by local Indigenous women in partnership with West Moreton Health.

‘No Buts for Bub’ was created from the shared experiences of Indigenous mums who gave birth at Ipswich Hospital in QLD.

Their insight helped to develop extra social and cultural support services for Indigenous mums to be.

West Moreton Health project coordinator Lynda Maybanks said Indigenous people experience many stress-causing social disadvantages, particularly during pregnancy.

“This program acknowledges this issue and provides flexible support in addition to the antenatal care mums to be are already receiving at West Moreton Health,” Ms Maybanks said.

Themed yarning circles will be an important feature of each support session and will be facilitated by local Aboriginal Elder Aunty Gayle Munn.

It is free for expectant Indigenous mums to attend and will involve various cultural activities like painting, beading and weaving.

More personalised, one-on-one social advocacy and support with an Indigenous Hospital Liaison Officer and Aboriginal Health Worker will also be available for Indigenous women.

“When you are pregnant it is not just your body that is changing but your whole life,” said Telena Douglas, a second-time mum who helped develop the ‘No Buts for Bub’ program.

“It can be very stressful and you can forget to care for your social and emotional health.”

Ms Douglas said it felt good to share her experience with hospital staff.

“Getting to share my experience means other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls who have their baby here [at Ipswich Hospital] will feel more supported and might not be as stressed,” Ms Douglas said.

Ms Maybanks said the program name reflects the idea that the health, cultural and social connections of mums and their newborns are a top priority: no buts about it.

“‘No Buts for Bub’ aims to help relieve stress on mums to be through engaging in cultural activities, yarning circles and providing links to community organisations for support with any social stressors the they might be experiencing – this is a new approach for West Moreton Health in helping to care for the community,” Ms Maybanks said.

‘No Buts for Bub’ begins Friday May 3rdat the Redbank Plains Community Centre and will be held every Friday until June 28th.

By Hannah Cross

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