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.