St. Joe’s Healthcare calls the mothers who show up for work every day and keep our hospital running– heroes.
To celebrate their superhero moms this Mother,s Day weekend just a few of them were asked to share their “why” with us and tell us how COVID-19 has changed motherhood.
Corry Marchildon, Respiratory Therapist
“A lot of things have changed in our everyday lives during this pandemic. One thing that will never change is our role of being a mother. As a mother, our job will always be to love, protect, and nurture our children; perhaps now more than ever. This pandemic has proven to me how much, as mothers and health-care workers, we can rise to any challenge. The pandemic has reminded me also to appreciate the love, health, and safety of my family, friends, and fellow front-line workers”
Dr. Christine Ribic, Transplant Nephrologist
“Being the mother of a 2-year-old and a kidney doctor, it has been challenging to balance my family life with my work. Sometimes I was winning the battle and many times I was losing. However, the COVID -19 pandemic has provided some opportunity. With daycare and extracurricular activities being closed, instead of rushing to get my daughter ready in the morning as I get ready for work, I can have breakfast with her before I leave. Instead of receiving reports of what topic she has learned today, I can practise the alphabet with her.
We read more books, play in the backyard and dance together more than ever. Although it is not without challenge and would not be possible without the support of my husband, I have found much joy in a time of uncertainty. There is nothing more I look forward to in my busy day than spending this quality time being a caregiver, teacher, playmate and mom to my daughter.”
Josephine Mojica, Medical Device Reprocessing Technician
“Being a working mom of four children is quite a challenge itself. We have a full house, with both my parents living with us. As a mother, my role is balancing different responsibilities. I’m a psychologist to my eldest son, who has Asperger’s syndrome. With his routine changed, I need to find answers to so many of his whys. I’m a teacher. I have to supervise my 9-year-old daughter’s homework, and maintain her competitive dance techniques. She loves to dance and is full of energy, and I need to keep up. I’m a financial advisor to my adult children – giving them advice on money matters for their future.
There are times I want to tap out, especially when I am exhausted and there’s still one more chore left to do. But then I realize how lucky I am to have a job that provides food on the table, a roof over my head, a hard-working and loving husband, healthy parents I can hug every day, and an army of children who help in any way they can. I encourage all moms out there to stay strong. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel. It may be difficult for now but it will pass, and we will rise together stronger.”
Jesse Harwood, Registered Practical Nurse
“It has been hard to leave my kids when I work. They are 5 & 7 and have some understanding of what is happening, and I think it makes them a little afraid. They ask me to stay home and at times there are tears, but my kids also think being a nurse is important. It doesn’t make leaving my family any easier, but caring for others in important work, and I hope this is a lesson that resonates with them.”
Jessica Smith, Registered Practical Nurse
“The pandemic has created anxiety within myself I didn’t know existed. I have taken on the new role of my children’s teacher with home schooling. Dealing with the fear of making sure they remain safe while I still provide my patients with the level of care they deserve has been a challenge. “
Monica Speziale, Registered Nurse
“My three sons are all adults and living on their own. I also have two grandchildren. I worry they are all keeping healthy. My sons have all been working through this pandemic so I worry about their safety. But, mostly, I wonder how their future lives will be impacted by this. Will pandemics be the new norm? Will our society change and how is that going to impact my sons and grandchildren?”
Dr. Jill Rudkowski, Internal Medicine and Critical Care Physician
“As a mom, COVID-19 has reminded me to fall back on strategies that have helped me through difficult times in the past. These include finding pleasure and meaning in small things, being patient with myself and others, being collaborative, and innovating and getting creative. There are challenges at home and at work every day. When I focus on these four things, I can find opportunities that might not have been there before COVID-19.
I have worked with the medical school team to reimagine how we teach students and this has been both challenging and exciting. At home, we have had more time to play creative yard games and bake. These are some of the opportunities that have had a positive impact on me and my family.”
Alicia French, Registered Nurse
Stephanie Brooks, Registered Practical Nurse
“The health and well-being of my family is always my primary responsibility, so I’m incredibly grateful to work in a hospital that prioritizes our safety. Having immediate access to proper equipment, along with enhanced hygiene protocols, gives me the ability to do my job while also staying in control of protecting my own family. While I never imagined being pregnant at the frontline of a pandemic with a toddler at home, I am so fortunate to have the overwhelming support from my St. Joe’s family, and what has truly felt like the entire community. If there’s a silver lining to this experience, it’s how lucky I feel to live, work and raise my children here in Hamilton.”
Melissa Padum, Registered Practical Nurse
“Working in the public sector exposes us to various illnesses. It’s nerve wracking at times knowing there is the potential of putting my child’s health and welfare at risk. Universal and PPE precautions at the hospital, however, are taken very seriously to minimize the possibility of transference.”
Jennifer Lowe, Registered Nurse
“Being a nurse working on a unit with COVID-19 patients has highlighted how important it is to maintain safe practices both in the hospital and at home. I have altered my usual daily routines, and have found all areas of my life have been impacted. I’ve been open and honest with my family to have them understand the pandemic, how it impacts our community, our home, and myself. My son Emry has been amazing through all of this and asks me every day how I am feeling and what I need. He has shown me that family and special connections are what get people through times like these.”
Andrea McKnight, Nurse Practitioner
“Being a mom and a nurse practitioner caring for COVID-19 patients has been difficult at times because you are performing a balancing act between your professional obligation as a nurse and prioritizing the safety of your family. Juggling the two has been a struggle from time to time, yet, I find it has been helpful talking to the other mothers I work with knowing that I am not alone. Working with a great team of health-care professionals, and knowing that everyone is working their hardest to keep everybody safe, has definitely made it easier. My family has also been supportive in all of this as well, understanding my role in the pandemic and how important the fight against COVID-19 is to me.”
Sarah Pietarinen, Logistics
“With both my husband and I working long hours, my kids have been staying with my parent’s for the last few weeks, but we are going to pick them up tomorrow, so I am getting the best Mother’s Day gift!
Although these have always been part of my role as a mom, this has certainly brought out the fiercer protector, teacher and provider in me! It has also taught me that screen time isn’t that bad!”
Deborah Couto, Registered Nurse
Candice Decker, Emergency Department Registered Nurse Flow Coordinator
“Working through the pandemic being in charge of the all the flow in ED has been very challenging and tiring at times, but very rewarding to be able to help our community. As a mother working 5 days a week, its hard to balance my time and energy as well as helping my kids with learning and staying active, and sometimes feels like I’m doing enough. But my kids are happy, safe, and tell me everyday awesome of a job I do and that’s what matters most.”
Mary Hastings, Nurse Educator, RN
“I am the educator for the emergency department where COVID is considered ground zero. Over the past few months I have been working late nights and ensure safety for my staff and of my family as well. I am very proud to say that my son and daughter both work at St. Joes. My son is an Rn on 7 Nephrology and my daughter works at west 5th as a recreational therapist working with Forensic patients. Both vulnerable populations they serve and are great at what they do. It makes me really proud as a mother. COVID has made our family stronger by serving our community and joining forces as a family sharing our concerns, fears and evidence as the pandemic evolves. COVID made me realize my family loves and appreciates what I do. In times of uncertainty I am glad that I have the support of my family and we can all lean on each other.”
Catherine Duffin, Acting Director, COVID Support
“COVID-19 has affected me as having to significantly balance my role between teacher, mother and nurse. All areas require full attention and that requires balance, taking time to watch a movie together or do some schoolwork, or play baseball outside. During this time we appreciate how much our children need our support and reassurance. Each day they tell me to stay safe at the hospital, and that they are proud of what we do at St Joes.”
Lynda Carter, Registered Nurse
“COVID-19 has impacted my role as a mother by worrying that I may potentially bring the virus home to my family by working in the ER . On my days off I am helping my children with their online schooling and ensuring that they remain safe throughout this pandemic.”
Sherry Efremidis, Logistics
“Not everything is important … Health and happiness are the priorities J”
Alanna and Lori Ferguson, Registered Nurses
Mary-Lou Martin, Registered Nurse
“I have learned to communicate and connect with family members in different ways. Zoom video calls are now a regular occurrence with the immediate and extended family.
One change in my role as mom is that I am more aware of sharing relevant information and educating my adult children about COVID-19 so that they stay safe. We have discussed the challenges and stressors that may be impacting us as individuals, family and our world. There are some aspects to the relationship with my children that now feels like role reversal. My children seem to want to take care of me, even though I let them know they don’t need to because I take sensible precautions at work. Both my children are kind to me and want to be supportive. I recently was exposed to someone with COVID-19 and they regularly ask me how I am doing. I check in with them more frequently too. My children care for others in a way that makes me feel very proud. My adult children and I are working together to be hopeful, adapt to change and be resilient during this period. We continue to learn more about each other during this journey through COVID-19″
Mistie Willis, Registered Nurse
“The pandemic has changed my role of being a mom to being a full-time teacher, mother and nurse. It’s changed how I protect my kids and how I talk to them about the outside world. It’s impacted the balance we had and shown me how much our friends family and neighbours play such an important role in raising my kids especially when I can’t be there, and how much not having that village is emotionally physically and mentally draining.”
Natalie Booth, Registered Nurse
Cristie Paglia, Registered Nurse
“Being a mom I’ve been carrying a lot subconsciously dealing with this pandemic.
I think about the safety of my kids and family after caring for sick people.
I missed the hugs and kisses of my kids after a mentally and physically exhausting day at work.”