VNSNY’s Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) program in the Bronx pairs nurses with low-income, first-time mothers, starting in pregnancy and continuing through the child’s second birthday, in order to promote life-long health and wellness for mom, child and future generations.
The following is from a young mother who completed VNSNY’s Nurse-Family Partnership program:
I found out I was pregnant in October 2011. I was 19 and a sophomore in City College. I felt as though my world had come crashing down. I couldn’t bear the thought of being considered a statistic who didn’t finish school and got pregnant at a young age.
I initially heard about the Nurse-Family Partnership program during my second trimester, through my prenatal visits at Morris Heights Health Center. Within a week of calling the program, I was introduced to Denise, the best nurse, friend, mentor, and advisor a teen mom could ever have. She changed my life. Throughout the spring of 2012, Denise told me everything I needed to know about my pregnancy. She taught me how to eat correctly and how much weight I should be gaining, and provided step-by-step guidance on this new journey called parenthood.
Still, I had a difficult time accepting my pregnancy: I didn’t go to school that semester because I was embarrassed of what my peers would say. Instead, I worked a part-time job until a few weeks before my due date of May 30th. Denise helped me learn to slowly embrace my pregnancy, but I worried about my child struggling, my family struggling, the stereotypes, money, a place to live, my education, my child’s education, and more. Once Hailey was born, however, everything soon fell into place; my daughter meant the world to me. I wanted to be the best parent in my child’s eyes. Denise helped me realize that, at 19, my life was not completely over. I bonded with her because she was also a young Hispanic mother and she motivated me to do better. I admired her success as a young parent and how she made it her business to give back to the community.
I started school again, and focused on my daughter. But being a new mom, full-time student, part-time worker, girlfriend, daughter, friend, and more was all too much to take in, and I fell into a post-partum depression. Denise knew I would benefit from talking with Debbie, the Mental Health Counselor at NFP, so we began sessions. With the help of Denise and Debbie, I improved my relationships with my mom, my in-laws, my boyfriend/ Hailey’s father and, most importantly, myself. I continued seeing Debbie for some time. As she began to see me blossom with more confidence and pride, we were able to part ways successfully.
Thanks to the Nurse-Family Partnership, I can proudly stand here today and say that I am a senior at City College who will be graduating with a Bachelor’s of Science in Childhood Education, and I will be applying for grad school. I have an amazing, hard-working boyfriend and an amazing support system, my mom, Denise, Debbie, and everyone who has accompanied me in this journey. Today, I know what it is to stand up for your child, and take pride in caring for and loving another living being.