Brady and Ginevieve
Your support of Nurse-Family Partnership creates bright futures - not just for the babies born into the program, but for the moms too! Here is a story about one of our families:
Hers is a strong, clear voice with an energy that young people seem to have when their future
is undeniably bright. To talk with Brady today, you’d never know it wasn’t always that way.
"I was in a low point," she confides. A low point just before she met the young man who would quickly become the father of her child. Her first marriage had ended in less than a year, due to domestic abuse. The divorce was followed by job loss, and the need to move in with her grandmother for a while. But Brady began to pull herself up.
“I got a new job waitressing and moved in with a colleague who introduced me to Sean,” she said. “I tell people that he and I shook hands and we were pregnant!” she laughs, in hindsight. But at the time, it wasn’t something to laugh about.
“We were doing…not great,” said Brady. The timing could not have been worse for starting a family, as the Great Recession had begun and job lay-offs were prevalent, especially in construction, where Sean worked. He had moved back in with his parents.
“We both had messed up personal lives,” said Brady. On top of that, neither one knew anything about babies, yet these almost strangers were going to soon become parents together.
Brady did know enough to seek out prenatal healthcare at a clinic in Shreveport, where a nurse referred her to Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP). “I thought it was an automatic that everyone signed up,” she remembers. “So I did.”
That was the start of her two-and-a-half year journey with two nurses who became her sounding boards, her support and her friends. Her first NFP nurse home visitor was Nancy, who helped her through her pregnancy and when her daughter was born.
July 15 marked six years since Ginevieve was born and was named after Brady’s grandmother, who was born on the same day 81 years earlier. She was perfect.
The young family, however, was struggling. “We didn’t know each other very well and I wasn’t very good about knowing how to talk our way to compromise,” said Brady. "I spent the time trying to fix everything, do everything. I think I changed all the diapers for the first two years."
Brady was feeling the stress of the relationship and baby. On top of that, she felt criticized. “A lot of what I heard when Ginevieve was very young was how I was doing everything wrong.”
What often kept her going was Nancy and Wendi, the nurse supervisor who took over when Nancy left her job mid-way through Brady’s time in the program.
“Nancy and Wendi were there to have an adult conversation with me and care about me,” said Brady. “I didn’t have any of that. No one else was telling me I was doing a good job, but to hear from an actual nurse, validating me…I felt like a success because of that.”
Give credit to Brady, says Wendi. “She was hungry for knowledge.”
The nurse-client mom relationship is a trusted one. Nurse-Family Partnership tries to keep the same nurse with a mom throughout the program, but it isn’t always possible because of moves and job changes. When Nancy left NFP, Wendi knew that there was a chance that Brady would not connect with her as the new nurse. “But she took it in stride and really welcomed me with open arms,” said Wendi. "I felt like after our very first visit, I had known her a long time.”
Wendi also knew that this young woman, who was dealing with instability in her relationship, her housing situation and her job, was someone who had a great deal of strength.
“I was enchanted by Brady,” said Wendi. “She was one of the very few moms that I’ve known who was still breastfeeding at 18 months. It told me she had a lot of perseverance and heart.”
Brady had learned from Nancy just how important breastfeeding is to a baby’s health and development, and Wendi reinforced that. Brady embraced that knowledge, breastfeeding Ginevieve past the age of two. Today she believes it has made a difference to both her child and herself.
“It’s one of my proudest things,” said Brady. “It is invaluable. Ginevieve is so smart. And we are so close, because breastfeeding is not only about breastfeeding, it’s about closeness.”
Ginevieve is now an artistic little girl who reads well and is ready to start second grade in the fall of 2014. She also was one of only two children in her kindergarten class who were invited to test for Louisiana’s Gateway accelerated program in first grade.
Her mom is understandably proud, and so is her former nurse, who recently saw both Brady and Ginevieve more
“Ginevieve was thriving,” said Wendi. “Very smart; she had a big vocabulary. Not to mention that she is preciously cute!”
Wendi is also quick to compliment her former client, who is employed as a WIC breastfeeding peer counselor. “If ever there was a role model for breastfeeding moms, Brady has a market on that!”
It is a job she adores. “I love working with moms to give back what I was given,” said Brady
Does she see just a little bit of herself in some of the young women she now helps? “Absolutely,” Brady said. “Too many women don’t have support. I didn’t.” To pay it forward just a little more, she often refers her clients, when appropriate, to Nurse-Family Partnership.
Today, Brady and Sean are no longer a couple, but they continue to raise Ginevieve together. Despite their difficult start, Brady is quick to praise. "He is a great dad," she said. “We made it work; we raised our daughter together for six years.”
And, thanks in part to two strong role models, Brady found her own voice that seemed to be at risk of being lost in that early rush of pregnancy, relationship and motherhood. “Everyone needs support, and for me that was NFP.”
Brady has a child who is thriving; she has a meaningful job that she loves. And, she is earning her Bachelor’s degree in
Education from Louisiana State University in Shreveport. She knows that NFP made a significant difference in her life, and she knows she now loves working with moms and babies herself.
As for her future? “Wherever the Lord puts me and wherever I'll be the most effective is where I'll go."