Malabar Midwives is an initiative of the Royal Hospital for Women Foundation and is supported by the Sydney Community Foundation’s Sydney Women’s Fund and Be Kind Sydney Appeal.
Born and bred in Little Bay, Lee met her now husband in school. Recently welcoming their first baby Tatum, Lee came to Malabar Midwives – Mother & Baby Clinic.
Established in 2006 by the Royal Hospital for Women Foundation, Malabar Midwives aims to improve maternal and infant health by providing culturally appropriate care.
“I breastfed for nine weeks and it was really hard for me. Just having Amy and Lola to talk to about everything," said Lee.
“I feel like I’ve got a safe place and feel comfortable to talk about anything with no judgements.”
Malabar Midwives. Image Benjamin Strum
In addition to creating accessible healthcare, Malabar Midwives creates belonging, “I’ve made new friends with other mums like me to share stories and concerns with, and I’ve also reconnected with friends from school.”
Working in partnership the team includes a Consultant Midwife, four Clinical Midwife Specialists, an Aboriginal Health Worker, a Social Worker and, in partnership with Sydney Children’s Hospital, a Child and Family Health Nurse closely collaborates with the team to provide continuity of care.
Since it began, Indigenous women accessing maternal healthcare has more than tripled with births at The Royal Hospital rising from 30 to 100 each year.
In 2017, Malabar Midwives received a $10,000 ‘Bid for Good’ grant from the Sydney Community Foundation and Sydney Airport partnership which was used to support the Malabar Midwifery Service and a Young Parents Group.
Amy Mackenzie, Child & Family Health Nurse said; “The grant was used to support our Malabar Midwifery Service and our Young Parent’s Group. Without this funding we would not have been able to continue our group this year and our families are so grateful.”
The program supports young Aboriginal families with children from birth to 18 months through a weekly playgroup at the Malabar Mother and Baby clinic. Each week, providing a safe environment for parents to yarn and connect with local families. They discuss a different parenting topic such as feeding, mental health or child development.
Participants have direct access to a Child and Family Health nurse, Social Worker and an Aboriginal Health Worker who can better manage any psychosocial stressors that they might be encountering. The grant helped cover the cost of providing lunch each week, take the families on excursions and purchase culturally appropriate books and toys for the children.
“We are now able to treat our families on special occasions such as Mother’s Day which has been greatly appreciated as many of our parents have limited financial and social support,” said Amy.
“It has been lovely to watch friendships blossom within the group with many of our graduating families continuing to meet up in the community for play dates and birthday celebrations.”
Andrea, mum to four month old Callum said; “I’ve received negative comments about my parenting style and going to this group has given me reassurance that we are doing great.”
“This program has helped me connect with other mothers in similar situations. It’s made me feel safer and more independent and more confident at home.”
Please help us support this critical program and create equitable access to healthcare for new mums.