Nurse-Family Partnership

Nurse-Family Partnership's mission is to empower first-time mothers living in poverty to successfully change their lives and the lives of their children through evidence-based nurse home visiting. The goals of the Nurse-Family Partnership program are: 1. Improve pregnancy outcomes by helping women engage in 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; 2. Improve child health and development by helping parents provide responsible and competent care; and 3. Improve the economic self-sufficiency of the family by helping parents develop a vision fo...
Oct 8, 2013

Overcoming Addiction and Becoming a Great Mom!

Jessika, Lilly and Nurse Julie
Jessika, Lilly and Nurse Julie

Nurse-Family Partnership, along with your support, serves pregnant moms who are often seen as high-risk.  Following is a story about how one high-risk new mom has overcome the odds to be a loving and caring mom with impressive aspirations:

It was hard enough for Jessika to learn that she was pregnant at age 20. What made it even harder: Few others seemed to have faith in her ability to be a good mother.

“Friends thought I wouldn’t be able to do it,” she recalls. “They doubted I could be a good mom. My family fully supported me, but they thought I was going to need a lot of help.”

The reason: Jessika was a recovering heroin addict. Though clean for three years leading up to her pregnancy, she was still in a methadone treatment program.

“Everyone still thought of me as a junkie,” Jessika says. “It hurt my self esteem a lot. But it kind of pushed me to show everyone that I could do it.”

Jessika went to the Berrien County Health Department  in Benton Harbor, Michigan, to get a test confirming her pregnancy. While there, someone handed her a brochure for Berrien County’s Nurse-Family Partnership program. “It sounded like something that would help me,” Jessika says. “I didn’t have any experience with kids.”

Upon enrolling in the voluntary program, Jessika was paired with NFP Nurse Home Visitor Julie Sittig, a registered nurse with more than three decades of experience, the last five with NFP. Julie first visited Jessika when the young woman was 14 weeks pregnant, and Julie was immediately struck by Jessika’s determination.

“She was very engaging and well-spoken,” Julie recalls. “She expressed a desire right away to change her life. We hit it off, and I wanted to work with her — but I have to admit, I was worried her chances of success were slim.”

Julie felt this way for many reasons. Jessika was unemployed, and in addition to taking methadone she also smoked cigarettes. Making matters worse was Jessika’s tenuous relationship with the father of the baby, whom she moved in with after learning she was pregnant.

“I had been with him for three years, so it wasn’t some random guy,” Jessika says. “We tried to make it work, but he started cheating on me the minute I got pregnant. You can imagine what that did to my self esteem — the bigger I got, the more he cheated.”

“Jessika was looking for someone to help her through all this,” adds Julie. “She was missing that in her life.” It took Jessika a bit longer to realize it, though. After their first few visits together, the young mother-to-be briefly resisted seeing Julie again. “I almost wanted to stop, but my mom told me to keep doing it,” Jessika says. “After I had cancelled some visits, Julie said, ‘Give me a couple more appointments to change your mind’ — and I am so glad she did.”

From then on, it was full steam ahead for nurse home visitor and client. Jessika quickly reduced smoking and then quit altogether while pregnant. With Julie’s help, she applied for food stamps and other assistance programs, improved her diet, and began walking several times per week for exercise.  Jessika also took a keen interest
in prenatal health. “She realized all of it could have a potential impact on her baby,” Julie recalls. “She just changed everything — her baby and herself became the most important things in her life.”

Jessika soon realized how much Julie cared about her future, especially because of the young woman’s past.
“[Julie] was so worried about the drugs,” Jessika says. “She was always giving me books and having me read them out loud while I was pregnant, and telling me to keep busy. She never came out and said it, but I could  tell
she was worried about me relapsing. It was so nice to have someone who wanted me to stay clean.”

This strong bond with her NFP nurse also provided Jessika support during a physically difficult pregnancy. Jessika began having chronic vomiting spells — she now suspects it may have been due to the methadone — and
frequently visited the hospital to receive I.V.s of fluids to stay hydrated. Then, five weeks before her due date, Jessika went into labor quite suddenly and delivered a baby girl. She named her Lilliana, or Lilly for short.

Jessika’s past caught up with her once again. First, because the baby was born methadone-positive, the hospital was required to notify Child Protective Services (CPS). But thanks to the visible and active support of Julie and the methadone clinic, CPS officials closed their case quickly and Jessika never lost custody of Lilly.

“[Jessika] said she’d work with CPS to do whatever she could to be a good parent, and she has,” Julie says. “She is just awesome, and has made remarkable strides.”

Next, Jessika enlisted Julie’s support in helping her move out of the house she had been sharing with the baby’s
father. “He was verbally abusive, “Jessika says. “I know [Julie] wanted me to get out of there. She knew the environment at my parents’ house would be much better for Lilly, so I moved back home.”

Today, Lilly is nearly two, and 23-year-old Jessika will soon graduate from the NFP program. Her daughter is happy, healthy, and ahead of all her developmental milestones. Jessika recently got a job as a home health aide, and she is applying to college — she hopes to become a registered nurse herself someday. She donates time at her local church. Not only is she still clean; she’s also weaning off the methadone with the full support of the treatment clinic, her doctor, and Julie.

“I just want her to be happy,” Jessika says of her daughter. “I want to give her everything she wants. I never thought  I wanted to be a mom, and I know it sounds cheesy, but it is so gratifying. When you teach them something and they learn it, it’s incredible. It’s rewarding to know that I taught her — that I did that.”

“Her high is her daughter now,” Julie says. “That’s how she stays focused on Lilliana’s future, and what she can
be to her child. She loves her daughter so much. I think she’s going to do well.”

************

Your support of Nurse-Family Partnership helps to make success stories like Jessika's possible.  Thank you.

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Jul 10, 2013

Mom-to-Mom

Card sent by Babies R Us/Boppy Shopper to NFP Mom
Card sent by Babies R Us/Boppy Shopper to NFP Mom
 Mom-to-Mom

That connection is what Mother’s Day 2013 was all about, thanks to a unique partnership between The Boppy Company, maker of the award-winning Boppy® Feeding and Infant Support Pillow, and Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP). Together, they are supporting at-risk moms through The Boppy Effect™: Get One, Give One program.
As part of the program and in honor of Mother’s Day, for every Boppy® Slipcovered Pillow purchased by consumers at Babies"R"Us stores and Babiesrus.com during the month of May, The Boppy Company donated a Boppy Slipcovered Pillow to NFP agencies, which distribute them to Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) moms-in-need. The Boppy Company pledged to donate up to $250,000 worth of Boppy Slipcovered Pillows.
"Our team was so impacted by this program last year, that we have pledged to increase our total donation tenfold," said Nancy Bartley, CEO of The Boppy Company. "We’re excited by the opportunity to leverage our distinctive retail partnership with Babies"R"Us and their network of stores across the country to provide more moms access to the Boppy Pillow and a way to interface with this wonderful charitable organization."
Consumers also filled out a postcard – included with their purchased Boppy Pillows and in their Registry Gift Bags – to write a message of support to these vulnerable new NFP moms. The note was anything from a simple poem to a piece of advice. It connects those giving to those receiving and makes everyone happy – which is what "The Boppy Effect" was all about.

This support from the Boppy Company and all the people who registered for or bought Boppy pillows in the month of May was one of many ways Nurse-Family Partnership is working to get our name out and support more than 26,000 moms and babies in 43 states across the United States.  Your support of our program is invaluable as is your telling others about us - thank you! 
 
Jul 10, 2013

Empowering Women, Changing Lives

This video is from one of our Nurse-Family Partnership agencies in Texas and it is a great example of how Nurse-Family Partnership is able to step in to the lives of vulnerable moms and their babies and make a difference.  Our nurses work with more than 26,000 families in 43 states in the U.S. to improve and change the lives of these families.  Your support of NFP is critical to our ability to impact these lives!  Thank you for being involved and please tell more people about Nurse-Family Partnership and how we empower women and change their lives and the lives of their children!

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