Working in our little silos, we tend to miss some of the fantastic mahi our mates in the offices next door to us are doing. So what better way to celebrate the awesome and inspiring whānau focused mahi our various hoa mahi (workmates) do?
Our organisation is extremely lucky to have two wāhine purotū (beautiful ladies) who dedicate their days to the hapū māmā as they embark on their pregnancy journeys. Many of the māmā our wāhine support are young, most are first-timers, and all are excited, nervous, and anxious about what to expect throughout their journey. This is where Angela and Jenny come into the picture.
Many of us know that Angela holds pregnancy and parenting programs for hapū māmā each month with both evening 6-week classes and Sunday classes available. What you probably didn’t know however is that she has helped a large number of expectant mothers form bonds and relationships with each other and has provided a dedicated social media account as the communication space outside of class. The Hapū-Māmā-WRHN Facebook page was established earlier this year and has been a vital tool in not only sharing helpful information with these māmā-to-be but also has become the communication tool of choice. Each month, a new group of hapū māmā meet each other in their first class and are then encouraged to join a specially dedicated Facebook group where they continue to communicate with each other for the following 6-weeks. Angela and a small team of WRHN staff use the dedicated space to communicate with each māmā group and each māmā shares their thoughts and experiences in a safe and familiar space with others who are going through similar journeys. Some have even continued to bond and have formed long-lasting friendships long after their 6-week class has finished.
Jenny Firman delivers a similar class for hapū māmā but from a kaupapa māori perspective. The Hapū Māmā Day has been designed to run once a month and is short and sharp. Jenny provides information about the stages of labour, what to expect, the different strategies for labour, birthing interventions, and hormones in labour. She also touches on the various pain relief options, postnatal emotions and mental well-being. Safe sleep, car seat safety and coping with a crying baby are also things Jenny will touch on which for many is helpful – especially those who aren’t normally around babies or don’t know what to expect. Jenny is raw and real in her delivery and uses Te Reo Māori me ona tikanga and te ao māori in her examples. She invites the whānau of hapū māmā to join in the classes and can sometimes have whānau groups of up to 4-5 members per whānau attend her classes. In addition to the Hapū Māmā classes, Jenny is also a master weaver and holds Rāranga Wānanga for Wahakura where expectant mothers come together and learn to weave their own wahakura. In addition to learning to weave, they are given the whakapapa of rāranga which provides a connection for māmā to their mahi.
In September, Jenny was part of a team delivering the Masterclass Wānanga Series in Whanganui. The initial hui was held here at WRHN and was a collaboration with Patrick Salmon who offers Heru & Hapū Māmā and Kelly Spriggs, a childbirth educator. The Masterclass wānanga series incorporates SUDI prevention kaupapa kōrero using wānanga rāranga and pūrakau, stop smoking support and te ao māori childbirth education. These are implemented over 6 weeks.
As a team, Jenny and Angela have found a way to connect with whānau from all backgrounds to provide support and education to the young wāhine and their whānau in our community – a service that we are lucky to be able to deliver. Regardless of whether they are wanting to learn through a mainstream medium or a kaupapa māori lens, this team have found a way to respond and deliver accordingly and is something we can be proud of.