And while a support person is now allowed to stay, Lisa says it’s where they need to stay that’s the problem. They are offered a chair or a vinyl mattress on the floor to sleep on.
“Culturally we are taught to care for those we get care from, especially a parent or significant other. It’s about manaaki - respect - and providing those we respect with a minimum level of care. To ask your mum, a grandmother, to sit on a plastic seat while you sleep in a bed for five hours, it is very difficult to ask because of the respect we have for them. And many women won’t ask.”
Lisa says as well as supporting the mother and pēpi, these chairs will make the environment safer. “I don’t imagine nurses like stepping over a sleeping man to check on a women during the night. It’s not safe and it’s not right.
“For rural families, we also need to provide the support person with a place where they can get enough rest so it’s safe to get home. For our Kaikōura families the new mum, baby and support person have a three hour drive once they leave hospital. We need to ensure they’ve had enough sleep to make that trip safely.”
Lisa is encouraging people to support Māia Health Foundation’s Maternity Chair campaign as she knows just how great a difference it will make.
“I’m hoping you can hear my haka now. Support Māia and help buy these chairs for our wahine, our pēpi and our community.”
For more information about Māia’s Maternity Campaign click here.
To gift it forward now, click here.