Nurse-Family Partnerships Empower First-Time Parents: Kymirah's Journey

Jan 29, 2024 | Nurse-Led Care News |

First-time parents face many challenges, especially those living in America's "poorest big city." Issues with poverty, housing instability, and unreliable transportation to medical appointments compound the challenges of becoming a first-time parent. 

Recognizing this, the National Nurse-Led Care Consortium launched the Philadelphia Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) program in 2001 to serve low-income, first-time parents in the city. The program is an evidence-based national model with outcomes that include long-term family improvements in health, education, and economic self-sufficiency.

We sat down with one first-time mother, Kymirah, and her nurse, Becca, to hear about their experience, and learn how the nurse-parent relationship can improve a child's health.

 

Can you tell us about the beginning of your nurse-parent relationship?

Becca: Kymirah and I met one another back in November 2021, when she was pregnant. At that time, our relationship was virtual because we were still in the throes of the pandemic. But initially I learned about her: her story, her excitement about becoming a mom, and the challenges she was facing at the time. One such being housing instability.

Kymirah: Becca and NFP came alongside me during my second trimester. I was going to become a first-time mom, and Becca made the pregnancy easier than I ever could have imagined. She eased my worries and was one of my main supporters during the hard times. She is reliable, encouraging, and respectful.

 

What changed along the way as your relationship grew?

Becca: Kymirah is an incredibly dedicated mother. When her daughter Journee was born, Kymirah devoted herself to being Journee’s first teacher. She always reads to Journee. Two years on, their bookshelf is overflowing! Reading, playing, and learning together has always been a priority in their family. I always love bringing a craft with me during our home visits.

Kymirah: From the moment I had Journee, Becca has been there every step of the way. She supported me in the birth of my daughter, and taught me how to breastfeed. I’ve also struggled with reliable transportation, and NFP always provides transportations to important things, whether a doctor's appointment or activities like Kith & Kin. But even further than helping me in motherhood, Becca has continued to support my educational goals and create a workspace that works for my entire family.

Becca: Kymirah is an incredible advocate for others, that’s her career. She supports youth experiencing homelessness, and I’ve now watched Kymirah herself go from struggling with housing insecurity to staying in an apartment and building a beautiful home for her family.

The purpose of NFP is to develop an interpersonal relationship between nurse and client. That would not have been possible without Kymirah herself being especially dedicated. Oftentimes, we tackle problems together, but sometimes we need even more help. Having a legal support team and a family support fund on our side gives us even further expert advice, and a safety net to fall back on. The program as a whole looks different for every family, but Kymirah has made it her own and it has been an honor to stand beside her and her family as they grow and love one another.

 

Becca, since working for NFP, what have you realized about the challenges new mother’s face?

Becca: I think new mothers face an uphill battle in many ways. Prenatal care sometimes requires weekly appointments, and this can be a huge challenge for people who are working and struggle with transportation. When the baby is born, parents face a demanding combination of sleep deprivation and physical healing, all while navigating the monumental emotional transition into parenthood. This is no easy feat, especially for single moms and those with limited familial support. Every stage of those first two years brings along its own challenges and its own joys. New words come with new abilities (like throwing food around the kitchen for fun!). I am always in awe of the superhuman patience parents seem to possess.

Through my work with NFP, it has become resoundingly clear that paid parental leave is a necessity. New mothers shouldn’t have to choose between making money for rent and taking care of their newborn baby. NFP has given me the opportunity to meet people like Kymirah who are not only parenting, but also supporting and advocating for those around her. I will miss her dearly when our time in NFP concludes. I know she will continue to touch those around her with dedication, passion, and love.

  

Learn More About the Philadelphia Nurse-Family Partnership

The Philadelphia Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) has been serving low-income first-time mothers in Philadelphia since 2001. It is a national, evidence-based community health program. The program’s outcomes include long-term family improvements in health, education, and economic self-sufficiency.
LEARN MORE

 

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About The Author

Katie Pratt is the Communications Manager for the National Nurse-Led Care Consortium. 

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