Mothers giving birth on the land of their ancestors to ensure a spiritual connection between the baby and the land is a significant cultural practice in Aboriginal communities.
It’s believed that when this custom isn’t followed, it breaks the child’s spiritual connection to the community and raises emotional and spiritual issues, not just for the child but also for the mother.
But many Aboriginal women are often forced to travel hundreds of kilometres to give birth due to a lack of birthing services in remote communities, and they are fighting for it. Read more here.
Dr Sarah Ireland, a midwife and researcher at of Molly Wardaguga Research Centre says that the current health system does not do a very good job of making space for Yolngu people in the care of pregnant women.
“We found from research that we need to re-design maternity health service and part of that is investing in the First Nations workforce. We are very lucky to collaborate with Australian Doula College who provided accredited training for our doulas and that was complemented in quite a unique way with a Yolngu curriculum that was delivered by knowledge authorities in the community.”