As Australia continues to deal with devastating bushfires, a female firefighter has made headlines for her inspirational response to the dangerous nature of her work.
In pregnancy, a woman’s body is pushed to the limit. The energy we exert in growing another human is miraculous, and for most of us getting the tube to work is a struggle. So it’s pretty incredible to hear the story of Kat Robinson-Williams, a pregnant volunteer firefighter who’s helping with the onslaught of bushfires currently happening in Australia.
Robinson-Williams is a third generation volunteer, whose mother and grandmother both assisted the fire service before her, with her grandmother even being pregnant herself in the bushfire season of 1995. Firefighting is part of her history and to support her “country and mates” is something she’s impressively passionate about.
But the 23-year-old says that since becoming pregnant she’s received messages asking her to stop, something that’s prompted her to take to social media and share an inspiring response.
Writing on Instagram next to an image of herself wearing her firefighter uniform, Robinson-Williams addresses other women in the same position as her: “For all the females on the ground in New South Wales right now. We stand together we stand proud!”
She continues: “Yes I am a firefighter. No I’m not a man. Yes I am a female. Yes I am pregnant. Yes I am going to the fires. And yes I’ll be alright. No I won’t just stay behind. No I don’t care if you don’t like it.”
Robinson-Williams finishes her post with a powerful comment on why she does what she does, writing “I love my country and I love my mates” and promising “I’ll always make the way, as long as I am physically able to help, I’ll always work my best”.
Speaking to BBC News, the volunteer explained why she felt the need to write the post: “I wanted to tell them [my friends] I’m okay and that I’m not just going to stop. I’ll stop when my body tells me to stop.”
She also added that she had spoken with her doctor, who said she was safe to continue “as long as I wear the right equipment”.
Both New South Wales and Queensland are currently experiencing a large number of extremely dangerous bushfires. At the time of writing reports say there are around 150 active fires across the two areas. This week 50 houses have been damaged, while last week 200 homes were affected; three people have also lost their lives. Although the threat levels have been downgraded slightly in New South Wales (from the highest to the second highest), BBC News reports that NSW Rural Fire Services Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons has said: “We’ve got the worst of the summer – the worst of the season – still ahead of us.”
Robinson-Williams’ post has attracted lots of positive feedback, with other firefighters expressing how much they respect her determination, as well as other mothers offering words of support and understanding.
One social media user writes: “Yes! Good on you – I’ve spent my entire pregnancy being told what I should and shouldn’t be doing, as if at the moment of conception I’m unable to make sound, rational choices about the health of me and my baby. You are as much a firefighter as you are a mother-to-be. Good luck with the fires, and wishing you a comfortable pregnancy!”
It’s also encouraging to see a male firefighter, who found her post all the way from Germany, offering his support as someone else in the profession: “Dear Kat, I just read the report about you on BBC news and I think you’re doing the right thing. Being a (male) volunteer fire fighter in Germany I’m in full support with you and your decision to continue your important work to fight fires. You sound very reasonable and will stop when your doctor thinks it’s time for your offspring to get all the support to enter this world and and I do wish, too, that he/she will follow in you and your families steps. Pregnant girls know how to take care of their babies. Nature made sure of that!”
Yes, if she chooses it, motherhood is a huge, consuming and overwhelming part of a woman’s life. But what we love about Robinson-Williams message is how she highlights that it doesn’t define who you are or erase your other interests.
Images: Getty / Instagram