Be­yond stigma of ad­dic­tion

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News - FIRST RE­PORTED AT

“We don’t fo­cus on their drug and al­co­hol use, we fo­cus on giv­ing them high-qual­ity pre-natal and post-natal care,” she said

“We are very pro­tec­tive of the women. There is a huge stigma at­tached to drug and al­co­hol use dur­ing preg­nancy, but no-one knows the path these women have been down to get where they are.

“We find that these women are never por­trayed in a pos­i­tive light and how brave they are. We see women who are keen to make changes and try hard and no-one is harder then they are on them­selves.

“They are coura­geous for com­ing for­ward and dis­clos­ing their ad­dic­tion and be­ing fo­cused on the well­be­ing of their baby.”

The ser­vice of­fers a mul­ti­dis­ci­plinary team ap­proach to im­prove the health and well­be­ing of the women and their ba­bies, with mid­wives, an ob­ste­tri­cian, par­ent ed­u­ca­tion, so­cial work­ers, an ad­dic­tion spe­cial­ist and 24-hour mon­i­tor­ing avail­able.

Ms McLau­rin said even as mid­wives of the ser­vice, there was a stigma for them.

“It’s not a sought-af­ter field and peo­ple of­ten won­der why we would want to help preg­nant women who are us­ing drugs and al­co­hol,” she said.

“Of­ten peo­ple as­sume that we have a back­ground us­ing drugs and al­co­hol be­cause we work in this field, but if we were diabetic spe­cial­ists, you wouldn’t au­to­mat­i­cally as­sume we had a back­ground with di­a­betes.

“The mes­sage is these women are no dif­fer­ent to any­one else and they de­serve the best stan­dard of care.”

The WANDAS success rate is high, with many women go­ing on to stop us­ing drugs and al­co­hol.

Ms O’Con­nor re­ceived a Churchill Fel­low­ship last month to travel to Canada and visit drug and al­co­hol pro­grams and get tools to im­ple­ment at WANDAS.

Ms O’Con­nor said the best part about the ser­vice was bond­ing with the women and their fam­i­lies.

“The re­la­tion­ships we form are dif­fer­ent to any other clinic, be­cause we spend so long with them,” she said.

They were proud of the ser­vices pro­vided and their team, she said.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie­mu­ni­ d463126

Mid­wives An­gela O'Con­nor and Re­nate McLau­rin from WANDAS.

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