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Joeann Pagulayan, Nurse at Christchurch Women's Hospital

Joeann Pagulayan and daughter Matilda


Joeann's Story

“It’s so important to have your support person there but at the moment it’s just not comfortable for anyone to stay.”

When nurse Joeann Pagulayan goes to work, she sees a situation that is not ideal. She’s also experienced that very same situation first-hand, as a patient.

Joeann works at Christchurch Women’s Hospital, with most of her time spent on Level Five – looking after new mums and babies.  You don’t have to talk to Joeann for long to realise it’s a job she loves.

“It’s such a precious time for a new family and I want every new family to be able to be together, comfortable and safe,” says Joeann.

Joeann’s husband Mark was by her side when she was admitted to Christchurch Women’s Hospital last July after the birth of daughter Matilda.  Joeann was not well. She had lost a lot of blood during the birth and needed monitoring and support. Mark slept on a mattress on the floor.

“He just wanted to be there for me. Because of my condition mobilising was a bit challenging so he stayed all throughout those first few days to support Matilda and me.  And culturally it was just what we do – no matter how uncomfortable his stay was!”

Joeann is from the Philippines. She says in her culture, and many Asian cultures, a husband, partner or support person is expected to stay with a new mother.

“They are there to help – to take turns looking after the baby, giving the new mum a couple of hours rest. That little bit of support and rest changes everything for the mum – how they feel physically and emotionally and how they can connect with their new baby.

“As a nurse I feel really bad for those mothers who don’t have a support person to stay with them overnight. I see how difficult it can be for many new mums.”

Joeann understands why the current situation of providing a mattress on the floor or an uncomfortable chair means that for some, having a support person stay with them is not an option.

“Having people on the floor is not ideal at all for the patients or the staff.  Sometimes when we enter the room, especially if it’s dark, we don’t notice straight away that there’s someone on the floor. Most of the time if they need to have a mattress we try to put it by the window but sometimes patients change the room around.  It’s not an ideal environment for health workers, patients, babies or the support people.”

Joeann can’t wait to be able to offer support people a comfortable, lie-flat chair to sleep on.

“It will make such a difference to mums, babies, families and the Christchurch Women’s Hospital staff. I’m going to support Māia Health Foundation in their campaign to raise the $44,000 needed for these chairs. Please give this cause your support too.”

For more information about Māia’s Maternity Campaign click here

To gift it forward now, click here

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