Dr. Namira Williams supports Mothers with Disabilities

Updated: Jun 17

Most people would not ask a woman with a disability when they are going to have children because it is just awkward. Sometimes that question is not even thought of.

Dr. Namira Williams

disAbility Maternity Care

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Dr. Namira Williams believes in supporting parents with a disability to become the best parents they can be. She honours the special connection one has with one's birth mother and that is what all mothers and their children should have the opportunity to experience and enjoy fully.

Dr. Namira Williams, CEO & Educator of disAbility Maternity Care believes that all women have the right to establish relationships, have consensual sex, and become mothers should they so choose. disAbility Maternity Care was established to provide women with disability and service providers information to assist in supporting them to become mothers.

Dr. Namira Williams, disAbility Maternity Care on Brilliant Online Magazine
Dr. Namira Williams, CEO disAbility Maternity Care

Early Days

As a child growing up in Fiji, Namira had always known she wanted to work in health. She saw a lot of poverty and health disparity around her. It put her on a career path to work with disadvantaged groups in Australia and other countries.

People with disabilities have always somehow been a part of Namira's life.

A friend of her mother's married a wonderful man who had cerebral palsy, and he became a mentor to her in her adolescent years. Later on, during her nursing training, she volunteered for a social youth group for young adults with intellectual disabilities. Since then, she has had three people in her extended family with a disability.

Taking action to make a change

Namira began disAbility Maternity Care when she realised that the current maternity system in Australia generally does not meet the needs of women with a disability.

Having worked as a midwife for over 30 years, she has seen changes to better meet the needs of families. Fathers are now expected to be there at the birth, and birth centres have even been set up. These are some of the improvements that have taken place over the years.

Despite the rhetoric of social inclusion for people with a disability, most people with a disability are not well supported to have children. This is especially so for women with an intellectual disability. And when they do, there’s a high chance that their children will be removed from their care. This creates trauma for the mothers, the family, and the infant, as well as health workers. "I have experienced this both at work and within my family. We know the consequences of child removal from the Stolen Generation in Australia. What we have seen is the devastating impact of this where intergenerational trauma is still affecting young children now.", says Namira.

What's really important when it comes to work-life balance?

Balancing work and family life is no walk in the park for Namira. She has a golden rule she lives by that helps her stay focused and balanced. She has learnt that the best way to cope is to focus on the most important issue at the time. It could be playing with her grandchildren or presenting a webinar for her business. She knows when she focuses on what is really important and be fully present, she can make it work.

What also helps is the fact that Namira works for herself. She is able to choose and decide what she wants to be involved in, and beyond her business, she teaches at the University of Newcastle as a casual academic. She also undertakes some research projects. Having the option to choose how committed she wants to be in her projects means that she can juggle her passion for disAbility Maternity Care and her home commitments much better.

Last year she completed her PhD in Midwifery with the University of Newcastle having undertaken research in maternity care for women with an intellectual disability.

Namira is a mother to 3 children and now a grandmother with 4 grandchildren. Her family is the most important part of her life and has also been the inspiration for what she does. She would spend her last dollar on her grandchildren and experience their joy and being with them. For her, it is the memories of one's family that keep people alive and inspire one to keep going.

She gives time to herself as well and enjoys reading, gardening and sewing. She makes time to have coffee or lunch regularly with her friends who are mostly midwives and like her