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Katherine Hospital partners with Motherland

Motherland announces national hospital strategy to support rural mums

Katherine Hospital is the first in Australia to partner with Motherland for a groundbreaking new program that’s improving postnatal support for rural mums around the country.

Motherland Village is Australia’s first online rural mothers group program that connects women to their own small personalised support group via a six week virtual program. The initiative launched in September 2021, with more than 70 rural women from six different states having enrolled so far.

Motherland Founder Stephanie Trethewey created the program after surveying more than 250 rural mums and discovering a staggering 61 percent don’t have access to a mothers group due to their geographical location or a lack of local services.

“We are failing rural mothers. We are in the midst of a loneliness epidemic that is only increasing mental health struggles for new mums in the bush” she said. The innovative online program places the focus on the mothers, not the children, and enables women to form meaningful connections and friendships through facilitated video calls and weekly online activities.

Katherine Hospital, which delivers approximately 300 babies every year, is the first hospital to support the initiative. The partnership will ensure every rural mum who births at their facility will be connected to Motherland Village and given the opportunity to enroll if they wish.

“Supporting women in the Big Rivers Region to have access to ongoing support post birth, despite where they live, is vital. Isolation in motherhood can be detrimental to not only the mother’s health, but the health of the entire family unit. The program that Steph has developed will ensure that mothers will be able to build their village, and share their experiences, whilst being provided information on services that they can access remotely.

“We are so excited to collaborate with Motherland to increase the support to the women in our region” says Director of Nursing and Midwifery at Katherine Hospital Renae Daniel.

The collaboration will complement the Katherine Hospital and Katherine Urban Primary Health Care’s existing post birth support services for rural mothers which includes postnatal checkups with their Midwives and Child and Family Health Nurses for the first six weeks.

“Having the support of Katherine Hospital is a huge milestone. They understand that connecting mums to additional support services such as Motherland Village can only improve outcomes for the rural mums who birth with them,” said Mrs Trethewey.

Northern Territory mum Stephanie Lewis who lives on a remote cattle station gave birth to her daughter at Katherine Hospital early last year. She joined the 6-week Motherland Village program in November in search of friendships with other rural mums.

“Motherland has helped me find my ‘village’ that most rural and remote mums are missing. Although we are spread across Australia, it is comforting to have other mums who understand the highs and lows of living on the land. Three months after our program ended and we still talk at least weekly and have monthly zoom calls”, said Stephanie.

Motherland’s partnership with Katherine Hospital is part of its bold national vision to eliminate the crippling social isolation and subsequent mental health struggles that many women on the land face.

“I’m on a mission to ensure every rural mum who gives birth in this country does not leave hospital without knowing that they are not alone and that there is a village of other rural mothers available to support them, no matter where they live.”

Northern Territory Minister for Health Natasha Fyles welcomed the program and acknowledged it would provide much needed support.

“We are proud Katherine Hospital is the first in the nation to partner with Motherland, which will help connect Territory women in remote and regional areas through establishing friendships and
support networks.”

While Motherland Village focuses heavily on supporting rural mums with children aged from zero to three, the innovative program also offers online mothers groups for rural women with children aged 4-10 years and 11-18 years.

For more information on Motherland, go to: or connect on social media via @motherlandaustralia.

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