Young mom shows strength in raising her baby

January 5, 2015

home visiting programFor public health nurse Kali Bandi,* the strength of the young women who benefit from Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) is demonstrated by one of her participants.

An intensive child and maternal health program, NFP gives disadvantaged young women — about to become first-time parents — one-on-one home visits with public health nurses throughout the pregnancy. These visits continue until children reach their second birthday. It is currently being offered in BC as part of an evaluation – the BC Healthy Connections Project – comparing NFP and existing health and social services.

One of Bandi’s 15-year-old participants comes from a family that truly values nursing care. Her own mother had been involved in a home visiting program when she was young. “Trust in nurses is very strong for this family,” Bandi says.

Throughout her interactions with this young mom — whose baby is now four months old — Bandi has been deeply impressed by the young woman’s parenting style. “She has the most amazing way of being with this baby,” Bandi says. “She’s very engaged, asks fabulous questions and has her own view of what she has to do.” At three days postpartum, the mom, who was then living at home, decided her own family situation wasn’t ideal for the baby. So, she moved out, into the home of her boyfriend’s parents.

“She does what she needs to do to take care of that baby in the best way she can,” Bandi says. “She’s a classic example of how age doesn’t equate to parenting ability.  I’ve worked with lots of moms who are older and highly educated and yet they completely flounder in frustration at meeting their baby’s needs.”

Reflecting on her 10 years as a public health nurse, Bandi says that NFP has given her new tools to work with families. But she also credits the families themselves. “Most of the participants have so many fires they’re putting out all the time. But these families have strengths and they can work through a lot.”

Note that NFP is available only through the BC Healthy Connections Project (BCHCP) for the duration of recruitment. Practitioners or young pregnant women can click here for details on how to reach public health and determine eligibility for the BCHCP.

*Name has been changed to protect privacy.