Updated: Jun 17
✦ It’s been a year since readers of Brilliant Online last met up with disAbility Maternity Care.
"During this time we have been strengthening our role in improving maternity care for parents with disabilities. We have been doing this through collaborative partnerships with other organisations, such as Maternity Choices, Karinya House, and individual women with a disability," comments Dr Namira Williams, CEO of disAbility Maternity Care.
Maternity Choices is a national organisation dedicated to advocacy and improving maternity services for women in Australia. Karinya House, in the Australian Capital Territory, provides support and accommodation services for vulnerable women, including women with disabilities. Like disAbility Maternity Care, these organisations are committed to improving care for women and families, and in particular, those who are disadvantaged.
Last year also saw them establish the role of brand ambassador with Deaire Pecora. Deaire brings to this role her lived experience as a mother with a disability and a passion to see service delivery improve for parents with disabilities. Deaire has two young children and wished "an organisation such as disAbility Maternity Care was around when I had my first child. This would have made it so much easier for me".
Brilliant Online shared Deaire's story: Becoming pregnant with cerebral palsy in December 2021.
Changing the conversation for parents with disabilities
While many services have been affected by COVID over the last year, disAbility MaternityCare has used this time to build their Strategic Plan and goals, develop partnerships, services and education. Their vision is for parents with disabilities to be equal and empowered citizens.
"There is a lot of work to be done in this area, from increasing knowledge around disability for maternity providers, to changing social attitudes around parenting for people with disability," comments Namira. "Often there is a perception that people with a disability cannot parent. The challenges these parents face, are more about the lack of specific services and support, rather than not being able to do it. So, it’s about breaking down those barriers and changing the conversation for them."
disAbility Maternity Care provides a range of education, both online and, where possible, face-to-face. They also provide tailored workshops for specific organisations where possible. The education aims to increase knowledge of both health and disability service providers.
We asked Namira a few questions…
Why do you do what you do?
I am passionate about our society being inclusive of parents with disabilities. Readers can read part of my story here which contributes to this.