Emma joined Bright Start when she was 29 years old and 20 weeks pregnant. Bright Start Nurse Home Visitation program serves low-income, at-risk, first-time moms during pregnancy, after delivery, and through the child’s third birthday. The program provides prenatal, maternal, infant/child health assessments and education, parenting education, mental health services, and assistance with education and transportation.
Emma had just overcome a long history with drug abuse and had been sober for two years. Emma was doing well and was excited to be a mom. She and the father of the baby were in a healthy relationship, they lived in a nice rental home, and she had a great job.
After her baby was born, Emma really struggled with bonding with her baby. She confided in her Bright Start nurse that she didn’t feel loved as child herself and didn’t receive positive, loving interactions with her own parents. Her nurse validated these concerns and gave her some suggestions to help with bonding – such as singing to the baby, holding the baby skin-to-skin, and doing baby massage with her.
While at first things were going well with the baby and bonding, when Emma’s baby was about two months old, Emma started experiencing postpartum depression and anxiety. Through the depression assessment her nurse completed with her, it was evident Emma’s paranoia and anxiety were debilitating and getting worse. Her nurse connected her with the Bright Start therapist, as well as encouraging Emma to talk with her doctor about possible medication for depression. Emma’s nurse and therapist supported her with encouraging words and resources in order to get Emma the help she needed.
To help in her healing, Emma also wanted to be healthier and explore other self-care and parenting resources. Her nurse connected her with a nutrition classes, a new mom group, and healthy relationship classes. These connections gave Emma a sense of pride and helped motivate her to be her best.
Today, Emma is back to work and has her baby in a good daycare. She still struggles with bonding with her baby, but because she has self-awareness about this and wants to better, she and her nurse focus on this and set goals related to it. Emma is a great mom with a bright future in front of her and she has Bright Start to thank for helping her along the way.
Emma is just one of 190 families who were provided with 2,242 nurse home visits and therapy sessions through Bright Start last year. Of these mothers, 100% abstained from substance use, 100% received prenatal care, children had a 100% immunization rate by age 2, and 14% of the mothers enrolled in further education. Research has shown programs that utilize the nurse family partnership model show improved prenatal health, improved school readiness, reduction in arrests for the mother, and reduction in child abuse and neglect.
Your gift to Sioux Empire United Way of $500 provides 25 cab vouchers to prenatal medical appointments for Bright Start mothers. Receiving regular prenatal care is critical in the health of the unborn baby and mother. Women who receive prenatal care have healthier babies, are less likely to deliver early, and are less likely to have pregnancy related health issues.