A mum on a mis­sion

SUP­PORT FOR STRUG­GLING MUMS

Comment News (Gosnells) - - News - Jes­sica War­riner

KAYLA Michael is a step closer to her teenage dream.

The 20-year-old mother-of-two from Kelm­scott has been nom­i­nated for Miss NAIDOC Perth, in be­tween as­sist­ing ar­chae­ol­o­gists in the bush and speak­ing out to help other moth­ers with post-na­tal de­pres­sion.

“I’ve al­ways wanted to do it since I was younger,” Ms Michael said. “This year I was like ‘yep, I’m def­i­nitely do­ing it’.”

Miss NAIDOC Perth is a lead­er­ship and em­pow­er­ment pro­gram for Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der women aged 18 to 30.

The Kelm­scott mum’s main mo­ti­va­tion for en­ter­ing this year’s com­pe­ti­tion is to raise aware­ness of de­pres­sion some new moth­ers face af­ter the birth of their baby.

“I guess it was like, with my son, this is a life-chang­ing ex­pe­ri­ence,” she said. “And then when I didn’t have a con­nec­tion with him when he was born, and I was see­ing ev­ery­one else have their con­nec­tions with their ba­bies, I was like ‘what’s go­ing on?’.

“It’s a tough one. I wish there was some­thing else that could make it a bit eas­ier on moth­ers that go through that.

“I know there’s a lot of girls out there that find it hard to say they’re go­ing through that, just be­cause in our com­mu­nity peo­ple aren’t re­ally aware of it that much.

“Peo­ple say you’re go­ing through a rough time, but they don’t re­ally know how it feels. “It feels hor­ri­ble.” Ms Michael said peo­ple told her many things about how to com­bat her post-na­tal de­pres­sion, but it was her kids and fam­ily that pulled her through.

“My nanna said ‘you need your son in your life’,” she said. “She gave me so much ad­vice and she made me feel like I could do it.

“She gave me so much strength.”

The prepa­ra­tion for the com­pe­ti­tion has in­cluded lead­er­ship work­shops, a photo shoot and a cul­tural day, some­thing Ms Michael par­tic­u­larly en­joyed.

“I re­ally loved it,” she said. “Lis­ten­ing about our an­ces­tors, I felt re­ally con­nected.”

It’s this con­nec­tion that Ms Michael builds on with her work, when she helps ar­chae­ol­o­gists check sites in the Jar­rah­dale area.

“When they want to come and build on our land, they get the peo­ple from that land to walk through the bush first and check if there’s any her­itage sites,” she said.

“I’m re­ally an out­door sort of per­son; there’s a lot of spi­ders and snakes and stuff, but when you’re walk­ing through, I guess you just don’t care any­more. “It just feels good.” Ms Michael said win­ning the com­pe­ti­tion would be a big ac­com­plish­ment for her.

“With the post-na­tal de­pres­sion, I was build­ing up all these walls around me and try­ing to stay away from a lot of peo­ple,” she said. “Now I feel like I’m more con­fi­dent and I think I would be a good leader within this com­mu­nity.”

Miss NAIDOC Perth will be crowned at a gala event at Crown Casino on May 27.

Pic­ture: Marie Nirme www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d469227

Miss NAIDOC Perth nom­i­nee Kayla Michael.

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