Steamboat Springs Being pregnant with your first baby is a time of joy and excitement. It also is a time for asking many big questions: What is happening to my body? Will I be a good mother? Who will be there to help me? What will labor be like?
At the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association, we help first-time mothers address these questions and provide them with support through the Nurse-Family Partnership program. The program is free to first-time mothers who meet income qualifications. We find that enrolling a mother as early in the pregnancy as possible is key to being able to provide the best outcome for the baby and mother.
The program has been serving women and their families in Moffat, Rio Blanco, Routt and Jackson counties since May 2001. During that time, nurses in the program have served more than 380 families.
The program focuses on the relationship between the family and the nurse, providing free support throughout the pregnancy and until the baby is 2 years old. In addition, it has statistically proven results, helping mothers and babies to have better health in pregnancy, improved child health and development, better school performance and stronger families.
The part of the program I enjoy most is getting to know each client and discovering her strengths. Many young women are not aware of the wonderful strengths they possess. I try to point these out to my clients. Then, I try to build on her individual strengths as she moves through the journey from young womanhood to motherhood. Motherhood is unique for each woman. She will need to access her unique strengths as she gets to know her baby and learns to guide the baby as he or she develops.
The program is unique in that nurses meet frequently with each client. This gives the nurse the opportunity to get to know clients and help them as their babies develop. I find working with first-time mothers to help them achieve their goals to be very rewarding and inspiring.
If you or someone you know is pregnant with her first baby or you would like more information about the Nurse-Family Partnership program, call the VNA for more information at 970-871-7686 or go to www.nwcovna.org/nfp.php.
Diane Kelly is a nurse for the Nurse-Family Partnership program through the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association. The VNA has been a member of the Routt County Early Childhood Council since its inception in 1997.