BabyDink is proud to share the work of Core of Life, an incredible Aussie education service that exists to open conversation and share the simplest of messages – that Pregnancy, Birth & Early Parenting is a normal, natural part of life which we need to try and understand and respect. With a deep reverence for educating in the space of Postpartum health.
Together, Tracy Smith and Deb Pattrick, have had a 22 year long journey, tirelessly committing their time and expertise to Core of Life. An idea born simply from a need they saw in their midwifery work, to develop engaging and meaningful ways to share respectful and relevant pregnancy & early parenting information with local teenagers and young parents.
The ultimate goal? To support them on their pathway to becoming parents either now or ideally, in the distant future.
Core of Life stands in a commitment and passion for promoting equal access to choices related to pregnancy and childbirth. Over the years, Tracy and Deb have shared their programs vital resources with young people across all corners of urban, regional and remote Australia and have shared trainings with amazing midwives across the globe.
In the world of postpartum health, the First 1000 days global initiative, recognises the time from conception to 2yrs as being the most crucial time for nourishing our little humans, laying the blueprint for the health and wellbeing for the rest of their lifespan.
The word ‘nourish’ is so deep, meaningful, and rich. It brings forward images of providing delicious nutritious food (ideally Breastmilk but all feeding that supports a happy and healthy mother and baby is supported) and promotes a feeling of warmth, security, tenderness, joy and love. A baby enraptured in a bubble of bliss.
The first sound we hear as humans is the sound of our mother’s heartbeat. It validates our existence and creates for us in that exact moment, our first feeling of being ‘safely at home’. For 9 months this sound and feeling is being imprinted in our brains. Other noises – both comforting and unsettling, come and go, but that other ever-present “dubdub, dubdub“ continues on reassuringly.
After the birth, when caring for our babies, touch, talk and breastfeeding bring us the reward of the love hormone Oxytocin, whilst Prolactin activates the pleasure centre in our brain, encouraging more benefits for mum and our babies wellbeing. Mothers (and fathers), have the power to create a sense of safety – they are wired to protect. Everything around the mother is muffled like being in a bubble. Time is warped.
It is pleasurable to hold our babies and babies instinctively know they are meant to be held close and carried in order to survive. Tracy notes her most treasured moments in her work so far has been watching this instinctive nurturing. From spending time with the San Bushmen and women in the Kalahari Desert Namibia to a noisy busy suburban classroom of young teenage men, watching a group of them ever so gently pass a baby doll from one to the other as part of our CoL program.
This time after birth needs recognition of its worth, importance and its vulnerability. The mother brain needs to re-establish itself. This time needs to be free of judgement, and the word ‘should’ – just simply a time for learning, growing and loving. The baby’s feeling of connection, contact and sense of being ‘safely at home’ needs to be reborn into a different bubble, no longer part of the ‘womb’ world.
The focus during this precious time needs to be eliminating threats of stress around the new mother and this will look very different in everyone’s world. It’s up to those closest to her to champion her choices and support her gently and respectfully in her new role.
Embedded in CoL’s messaging and work, the core belief in the right for equity in the capacity for making fully informed choices and everyone equal having access to quality maternity care that is respectful of culture, language and spirituality.
Respect for age and sex be it young, old, female, male or non-binary.
Respect for nature, nurture and intuition.
Each of these is reflected in many elements of ColL's work. Education resources reflecting local language and respect for local culture and developing programs for young men or baby massage classes for young mothers.
Thanks to Tracy & Deb’s hard work and dedication, Core of Life has been in our communities for over 22 years.
For Tracy, elements of her own life and work are encompassed in the CoL philosophy and teachings. From my own journey of becoming a mother three times, as well as her time spent in nurseries in the 80’s feeling deeply that postpartum experiences for both babies and parents could be dramatically improved with connection.
And particularly as a new midwife in the 90’s, feeling the rapidly growing movement supporting women to take back their power in pregnancy and childbirth and then, as a homebirth midwife feeling the deep power of connection, love and true support and the enormous benefits this brought to both mother and father’s transition into becoming a parent.
It all started in 2002 when demand for a support program like CoL was extensive from midwives working in high need regions of Victoria.
After winning a MAVI College of Midwives scholarship, Tracy and Deb created a training program to teach others in various communities, how to teach the Core of Life program to young people and parents locally.
In 2005, local Commonwealth Ministers took notice of Core of Life’s programs and decided to grant Tracy and Deb federal support to allow them to take Core of Life to high need communities nationally, with an added special focus on supporting Indigenous youth and families in remote communities.
Now in 2021 Core of Life (operating as a program under their companies name Youth & Family Education Resources) has trained over 4500 midwives, nurses, teachers, youth workers, aboriginal health/education staff and other passionate members of communities to teach at least 500,000 teenagers and young parents both in schools and community settings over its many years of operation.
BabyDink is proud to collaborate with Core of Life as part of our community partnerships initiative.
If you want to know more about this incredible organisation? Visit their website here
Note: CoL receives some support funding from the Australian Government but relies heavily on creating strong local partnerships and generous contributions of time and commitment from the community.