May 9, 2017
“Being an Aboriginal midwife is my absolute passion.”
Leona McGrath has just participated in the Walk with Midwifes, as part of closing the gap for Indigenous health outcomes in Australia.
“When I had my own children, I often say that if I had another black face in the clinic, in the birthing room, on the postnatal ward, I know my experience would have been a whole lot different.”
Her reason for wanting to become a midwife was to look after her own people. Leona was aware of the health disparities in Australia. But she was horrified to learn, at university, just how bad infant and maternal Aboriginal health outcomes are. This knowledge spurred her on, a single parent, to complete her Bachelor of Midwifery.
Leona’s family story shapes her as the strong and passionate person she is today.
Her great-grandmother, a Woppaburra woman from Great Keppel Island, was taken to the mainland in chains.
“I say I’m the person I am today because of her. There’s something that’s come from my Big Nanna.”
Her mother, a beautiful and incredibly strong woman, was born in 1952 and grew up at risk of being taken from her family by the government, as part of the Stolen Generation.
“My grandfather just kept moving everybody around. Because he… didn’t want them taken. And a lot of horrible things happened to my mum.”
It was a privilege to sit and listen to Leona talk. The sense she evoked of her family and culture was powerful, a spiritual experience. As she said,
“We wouldn’t be here without our elders and how strong they were.”