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MOMS Orange County and its mission of “Helping Families Have Healthy Babies,” is not just an abstract concept represented by a colorful logo,  but is made up of many real people working in collaboration with each other to serve our clients.    These individuals put into motion the mission of MOMS Orange County through their hands, feet, hearts and minds.  In each Lil’ Bits edition, we will introduce you to one of the many valuable people at MOMS Orange County who bring our mission to life.

Kely Joaquin is the newest addition to the MOMS Orange County Maternal-Child Health Coordination team and took some time to talk with us in between her client visits.  Kely comes to MOMS Orange County with experience as a caseworker specialist working closely with families and years of work in the medical arena, particularly with the geriatric population.  Kely holds a Bachelors Degree in Human Services with specializations in Gerontology and Social Work.

Tell me about yourself.

I was born and raised in Peru until the age of 13 when my family came to the U.S.  We settled in Whittier where I spent eleven years before I got married and had my own family.  I now live with my husband and daughter, along with our two dogs (Candy and Jade) and bird (Blanquita).   In my free time, I love to travel and learn about new places and cultures, develop my photography skills, tasting foods from around the world and spending time with my family.

What initially drew you to MOMS Orange County?

On a personal level, I had just given birth to my first child.  Being a first time mother, I knew that being a part of MOMS Orange County would be a great opportunity to expand my own knowledge about the development of my baby. Coming from a difficult pregnancy, I was interested in learning more about prenatal care.  During my pregnancy, I was hospitalized twice due to risk of premature labor, suffered from nausea well into my third trimester and had a hard time gaining the appropriate weight.  In the midst of that, I was also informed of the probability my baby would have Down Syndrome. Lastly, my baby underwent fetal distress during labor and a C-section was almost performed. It was such a physically and emotionally exhausting experience on so many levels that I felt incredibly lucky that my baby was born healthy.

Since coming to MOMS Orange County, what has been the most striking thing you’ve come to learn?

Since coming to MOMS Orange County, I’ve learned a wealth of information that I am able to pass on to other women.  It brings me such joy to meet the soon-to-be-mothers, speak to them about this time in their lives, and encourage them to be emotionally and physically healthy because I resonate so deeply with that message.

In the three months that I’ve been at MOMS Orange County, I’ve been struck by how impacting our home visits can be to our clients and how significant the emotional support given to a pregnant woman can be to her baby’s physical and emotional health.  I feel so honored to be part of that experience in a woman’s life.

When was your MOMS Orange County “a-ha” moment?

In part, being a new mother confirmed this for me, but I now truly understand the significance of what MOMS Orange County does–there is absolutely nothing else as important to an expectant mother during her pregnancy than to deliver a healthy baby and continue to nurture and nourish her baby’s growth and development after its birth.  MOMS Orange County does fantastic work educating parents and providing the support and encouragement for women and their families to reach this goal.