Jeny came to Children’s Friend through the agency’s Pawtucket WIC program. She had come to Children’s Friend pregnant with her first child, seeking supplemental food supports, health care referrals, and nutrition education.
Jeny was young and scared and experiencing pregnancy for the first time. When the Nurse Family Partnership program (NFP), was recommended to her, Jeny thought having more support and expertise was just what she needed to charter this new territory. Jeny notes, “The more support I had, the better.”
NFP is a national evidence-based maternal and child home visiting service for expectant first-time mothers and their newborns. Expectant mothers are paired with a registered nurse, who provides free, intensive home visiting services for the mother and her child until the child’s second birthday.
“When I first became pregnant, I thought the hard part would be actually giving birth. I had no idea how unprepared I was. I looked forward to the weekly visits as I learned more about how to keep us both healthy and prepare for the birth. I immediately created a strong bond with my nurse. I had someone checking on me and someone to talk to while I worked problems out. When I needed to rant, she was there helping me to calmly problem solve.”
Jeny had faced abuse growing up and she was often too scared to seek therapy and support. The birth of her first child was a turning point. “Talking to my home-visiting nurse gave me the courage to face my fears. What you share is confidential and there’s absolutely no judgment. The support helped me deal with my past. I had tried therapy before but had never stuck with it. My nurse encouraged me and helped me find a good therapist. This time I’m determined to work through it, not only for myself but for my child too.”
Jeny not only learned how to become a mother, but she also gained important life skills, including working on self-sufficiency and planning for her family. “I learned so much and after I had my daughter, Cindy, NFP helped with learning the right parenting methods, putting my child first, and better preparing for our future.”
“When Cindy developed a medical issue, NFP was there referring us to Early Intervention (EI) for more support. EI provided services to help with developmental delays. Cindy received both occupational and physical therapy and the family continues with the educational program. “It was just so helpful to have immediate help. Questions were answered quickly and we felt so supported.”
Cindy is now a happy, healthy toddler. While Jeny is proud of her accomplishment of graduating from the NFP program, she’ll miss the weekly home visits. For those facing a similar situation as Jeny, she has some advice. “Take advantage of the program. Let people into your life. NFP helped me break the cycle of abuse without judgment. It can help you too.” As Jeny celebrates her graduation carrying a happy, smiling toddler, she is hopeful for their future and grateful to have come so far in just two short years.