Nurse Miriam S. could hear the anxiety in the young mother’s voice. When they got down to “real talk,” as Miriam said, Lila * mentioned that her baby’s father had tested COVID-positive.
Miriam, who works with at-risk, first-time mothers through VNSNY’s Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP), helped Lila make the right choices. The father quarantined elsewhere and resumed safe visits after he recovered. “Every phone call, I let her know that she’s an excellent mother,” said Miriam. “During this time of uncertainty and darkness, it’s so important to hear something good about ourselves. This empowers the mother to the core and will make a difference for future generations. It’s humbling, the long-lasting impact of this program.”
Says Lila, “It’s like having a good friend to talk to about your problems.”
Miriam visits one-on-one with NFP mothers to help them and their babies stay healthy and meet their goals. Because of the pandemic, the visits went virtual, including a telehealth assessment of mother and baby, followed by Miriam’s “real talk.” She explained: “I ask them, ‘How are you dealing with all this, how are you spending your day, how can we help?’ And we really talk.”
The NFP mothers wonder where to get diapers or find a food bank. Should they keep their regular pediatrician appointment? Does the baby need a mask? “I can hear in their voice at the beginning of the visit that there’s a lot of fear in the not-knowing,” said Miriam. “VNSNY provides us this information so we can pass it right along to them. By the end of the call, the moms’ voices change. I can tell that they’re going to be okay.”
*Patient and family names have been changed to protect privacy
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