Imagine that you and your spouse just immigrated to New York City, far away from close family and friends who you relied on for support. And then you find out you are pregnant.
Where do you look for guidance? How do you handle this life altering event without your closest loved ones?
Siby and her husband immigrated to Staten Island from India just a few years ago. When they found out they were expecting their first child, they did not know who to turn to.
She was overwhelmed, and she felt alone.
“I have no family here, my parents are in India. Without my mom, I had a lot of fears. What do I need to know for me and my baby? How can I handle this on my own without my parents?”
While at her 3 month prenatal appointment, Siby saw an ad for Nurse-Family Partnership® (NFP). Like many first-time moms who participate in the NFP program, Siby needed much support during her pregnancy and after her daughter was born.
NFP is an evidence-based, community health program that serves low-income women pregnant with their first child, like Siby. Public Heath Solutions (PHS) runs NFP programs in Queens and Staten Island, where each vulnerable new mom is partnered with a registered nurse early in her pregnancy and until her baby reaches two years of age. It is a life-transforming partnership, for the mom and her child.
When Siby and her husband met their nurse, she was instantly relieved.
“She came to my home throughout my pregnancy and was so helpful. With this being my first baby, I would not have known the first thing about taking care of a newborn, and I learned a lot. She made sure I knew that I could pick up the phone and call her anytime I needed to.”
PHS’ NFP program helps new moms to develop good preventive health practices, including thorough prenatal care from their healthcare providers, improving their diets, and reducing their use of cigarettes, alcohol, and illegal substances. When the child is born, nurses work to improve the child’s health and development by helping parents provide responsible and competent care. These practices have shown to have incredible outcomes, including reduction in child abuse, neglect and injuries, and reduction in behavioral and intellectual problems for participating children.
Not only do nurses work to improve the health of mom and child, but also work on economic self-sufficiency of the family by helping parents develop a vision for their own future, plan future pregnancies, and continue their education and find work. In fact, research has shown that NFP increases maternal employment by 82%
PHS’ NFP program not only supports new moms, but puts a great deal of effort into involving fathers. Studies have shown that this program has increased fathers’ presence in household by 68%. Siby’s husband did not know what his role would be as a new father, but with the encouragement of their nurse he was very involved.
“My husband became more excited than I was while pregnant. He always took part when the nurse would visit, he always had lots of questions. He was very engaged.”
Siby’s daughter is now two years old and thriving. Siby and her family successfully graduated from PHS’ Nurse-Family Partnership® program in Staten Island. Siby and her husband feel they have what it takes to grow their family when the time is right. “I feel equipped now. I have the confidence to be a great mom.”
Siby’s family may be an ocean away, but NFP provided her with the love and support she needed to succeed as a new mom.