As someone who is passionate about early childhood education and teaching, I’ve always gravitated toward babies and toddlers! And as an educator, education advisor, and coordinator in the public daycare (CPE) system, child welfare is always top of mind for me. I have four children, but Sainte-Justine only became part of my reality during my fourth pregnancy. My son was born with a serious heart defect. With his life hanging on by a thread, my ordeal at Sainte-Justine was a highly emotional one that took us to the high-risk pregnancy clinic, prenatal screening, genetics, the neonatal intensive care unit, inpatient care unit, cardiac surgery, cardiology, pediatrics, respirology, complex intensive care program, neurocardiology investigation clinic (CINC), dysphagia clinic, ENT, orthopedic surgery, neurology, social work, ophthalmology, audiology, speech language pathology, and so on! I quickly became a mother slash nurse, cardiologist, nutritionist and occupational therapist, but thanks to the many professionals working on our case, I was able to slowly ease back into my most important role: that of just being a mom! I quickly picked up the medical lingo and learned everything I needed to do to care for my son. Actually, that was the only thing I could do! I had no control over anything else. Feeling helpless and wracked with anxiety about my son’s disease, I had to learn to take life one day at a time. Still a patient of several departments, my now three-year-old son gives me the courage and hope that everything will turn out fine, thanks in part to Sainte-Justine.
In this place, I experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, and both the hardest and the happiest moments of my life. I’m an optimistic, determined, sensitive and compassionate person by nature, and I want my experience to help other families who, for better or for worse, are going through the same ordeal. I want to be there for families, but more than that, I want to make their experiences as gentle and as respectful as possible on them and their child. I met a lot of people—doctors, residents, nurses and professionals —who changed our lives. Dedicated, passionate listeners who really cared about my son’s welfare, who took over my son’s care and allowed me to be a mother again. I felt like a real partner, like a key player in his care and in all the victories, big and small, we experienced together. One of these people once told me that I had to be my son’s voice because he couldn’t speak up for himself… And that’s why I’m here today, on the Users’ Committee, to be the voice of the patients and families whose paths have also led them to Sainte-Justine. I have a great deal of respect for other people. I like to find creative solutions to problems, and I’m attentive and sensitive to the situations of sick children and their families, which is why I decided to get involved with this committee, so I could put my talents and experiences to work!