THIS IS ME

ALE­CIA STAINES MA­TER­NITY CARE ADVOCATE

Life & Style Weekend - - MAGAZINE| Q&A -

Ale­cia Staines is a child­birth ed­u­ca­tor and one of the Sun­shine Coast’s most pas­sion­ate ad­vo­cates for the rights of moth­ers.

Her Ma­ter­nity Con­sumer Net­work led a vo­cal cam­paign call­ing for a re­view of re­gional ma­ter­nity ward clo­sures, lead­ing to a statewide re­view and com­mit­ment for many to re­open.

The net­work is also out­spo­ken on is­sues from home birthing to work con­di­tions for nurses.

But what does the Pomona res­i­dent do when she’s not cam­paign­ing or work­ing as a child­birth ed­u­ca­tor?

Week­end Mag­a­zine caught up with the mother-of-five to find out more about her life out­side the public eye.

1. Favourite time of day and why?

I love watch­ing a good sun­set, but once the sun goes down and my five chil­dren are in bed, I just like to sit on the sofa with a hot choco­late and en­joy the quiet.

2. What ex­cites you?

Per­son­ally, my chil­dren and their in­fec­tious ex­cite­ment when they learn some­thing new or discover some­thing they haven’t seen be­fore. Pro­fes­sion­ally, I love a pos­i­tive birth story. Birth is a rite of pas­sage and is trans­for­ma­tive for women. Pol­icy de­vel­op­ment in re­form­ing ma­ter­nity care is a pas­sion of mine.

3. Favourite sport? Player or spec­ta­tor?

I love soc­cer (though I am re­minded it is now called foot­ball). I have played on and off since I was a 10-year-old play­ing on a dirt field at pri­mary school. I was part of the first girls’ team formed in our dis­trict back in 1993. I have also played fut­sal (in­door soc­cer) and am keen to resume play­ing once my lit­tlest is a bit older (she’s 12 weeks).

4. Best child­hood mem­ory?

Pri­mary school. I grew up in west­ern Queens­land in a tiny farm­ing com­mu­nity called The Gums, pop­u­la­tion of about 100. Know­ing ev­ery fam­ily in the school and the com­mu­nity gath­er­ings at the lo­cal sports club meant it was like hav­ing the best ex­tended fam­ily.

5. Where were you born?

I was born in Toowoomba, but was meant to be born in Tara. The story goes that as it was Christ­mas Day, there weren’t the staff for birthing that day, so my mum was bun­dled in an am­bu­lance and I was born that evening in Toowomba Hospi­tal.

6. Where would you like to hol­i­day?

Sri Lanka and Laos are on my to-do list. I have trav­elled through most of South-east Asia and love the cul­ture and food. I am also fond of yoga, so wouldn’t be able to pass up a yoga class while there, ei­ther.

7. Cats or dogs? Do you have a pet?

Hands down, dogs. I haven’t had a pet in a few years, but have just re­cently got the kids a lit­tle fluff ball, a Mal­tese-shitzu, aptly named Bingo.

8. Who are your he­roes?

There are many com­mu­nity ad­vo­cates who spend a lot of time push­ing so­cial jus­tice is­sues. Any­one who puts their hand up to make change to en­sure more eq­uity and a bet­ter place for all is a hero.

9. Dream job?

I’m so blessed to be in my dream job. I work along­side women as they pre­pare for one of the most im­por­tant days of their life (birth). The ad­vo­cacy work I do goes hand-in-hand with mak­ing birth bet­ter for all.

10. What will you be do­ing in 10 years?

Well, my youngest will be 10 and my old­est will be 20, so prob­a­bly still jug­gling school run around all my other en­deav­ours. Hope­fully, I’ll have ticked off some of my travel bucket list. Most im­por­tantly, I’ll be able to say that Aus­tralia’s ma­ter­nity care sys­tem is truly woman-cen­tred and de­liv­ers good out­comes for moth­ers and ba­bies.

11. What’s the best thing about liv­ing on the Sun­shine Coast?

The weather. I love how mild the win­ters are here. Af­ter liv­ing in a few lo­ca­tions in­volv­ing scrap­ing ice off my wind­screen on a win­ter’s morn­ing, the warmer win­ters are a welcome re­lief.

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