Nursing is rooted in courage, selflessness and an inherent desire to simply help where one can. Nurses are, in other words, the perfect support system for low-income, first-time mothers in need of reinforcement.
Find out how nurses are pairing with new mothers to help them feel confident, cared for and empowered:
At the start of her junior year of college, 19-year-old Camille Wallace discovered she was pregnant. At the time, she lived in student housing with three roommates in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Her relationship with the father of her child had already ended. And her financial situation? Well, that was precarious. Wallace supported herself by working temporary or seasonal jobs on vacation breaks, earning no more than $5,000 to $6,000 a year. “I was a typical college student, eating ramen noodles every day,” Wallace, now 25, remembers. “I thought: ‘I can barely feed myself. How can I feed this child?'”
Wallace’s outlook changed, however, when she saw a flyer for something called Nurse Family Partnership. The maternal-health and home-visitation program set up shop in South Carolina in 2009, and it offered her a lifeline during this daunting period.
Nurse Family Partnership works like this: It pairs a low-income, first-time mother with a trained nurse, who counsels her throughout the pregnancy and until her child’s second birthday. The nurses visit the mothers frequently in their homes and offer guidance on everything from nutrition during pregnancy to breastfeeding to caring for a newborn and child development. In many instances, the nurses also play the role of social worker to help the mothers apply for government assistance, if they qualify; navigate tricky family dynamics; or escape abusive relationships. And they mentor young mothers as well, encouraging them to finish their educations, apply for better-paying jobs and set themselves on a path to financial stability so they can support their families.
Most important, the nurses try to ensure that the mothers, many of them teenagers, do not feel so alone. “I knew that if something were to go wrong, the nurse was just a phone call away,” Wallace says. “It made me feel so empowered to take care of my child myself.”
Curious to know more? Head on over to The Atlantic to check out the remainder of the article here, and be sure to share your thoughts on this budding partnership in the comments section below!