Caroline Maxwell spends most of her days driving to farms to help new mums just home from hospital find their feet.
- Caroline Maxwell is a registered midwife and nurse and lactation consultant.
- She helps fill a gap in maternity services in the bush
- Caroline had a lofty request granted to be airlifted to a property in outback NSW to help a new mum.
The private midwife and lactation consultant is based in Narromine, near Dubbo, but a cry for help from a mother more than 500 kilometres west gave her a challenge like never before.
“We called over Zoom,” Ms Maxwell said.
“But it became apparent that it would be really handy if I could be in their home.
With four children of her own, making a 1,000 kilometre round trip was not an option, so the private consultant put out a call on social media to see if someone could fly her to the remote property.
“I was having coffee with a girlfriend and I said, ‘Wouldn’t it be amazing if I could just fly,'” Ms Maxwell said.
“I thought. you know … it’d be great to for some philanthropist billionaire to say, ‘I can fly you’ — but of course it was the local community who came to the rescue.”
In the middle of sowing and trying to control a mouse plague, a jeweller and real estate agent in Narromine stepped up to cover the costs of the flight and a local pilot agreed to fly Ms Maxwell out for the day.
“I feel like I’m growing wings,” Ms Maxwell said.
“I’m so excited to finally be able to go to this home and see this mum and have a proper hot cup of tea with her and just to give her the time that she needs to really understand where she’s at and help her.”
Filling a gap in services
The Royal Flying Doctor Service only makes infrequent trips to isolated properties with public health midwives, so Ms Maxwell has made it her mission to fill a gap in services.
“Having a baby sometimes is really often very isolating and some women feel really nervous about even just getting in the car with their baby to go to the local clinic however far that might be.”
Caroline Maxwell grew up in Goodooga, a town of about 200 people near the Queensland border, but trained as a midwife in Sydney.
“I understand the tyranny of distance, but having trained in Sydney, [and] had a really good look at what is available to the girls in the city and the level of care that’s available and so when I got back out here, I realised that there was a gap.
“To be quite honest, I didn’t realise how big the demand would be.
“I wish I had a plane and endless pots of cash so that I could just go out and see these girls who are so isolated in such an already socially isolating time.'” she said.
“I thought, you know, that’d be a nice thing for me to do occasionally to see some girls who might like a bit of extra service or a different service and I’ve been blown away by how many people I’ve been able to help.”
“Obviously, the logistics of doing a 1,000km round trip in a day when obviously you are a private consultant becomes very expensive very quickly for a mum.”