The health of our community depends on everyone working together to build a strong and vibrant community. Healthy children are fundamental to achieving this. Supporting moms and children is something that is near and dear to me. The Pima County Health Department reaches out to be a support that helps moms in this community succeed, I’d to share one of their stories. – Dr. Francisco Garcia
How do you know if you are ready to be a mom? Sometimes in life we get to ask that question before becoming pregnant. Sometimes it’s when you are sitting in a WIC clinic 6 weeks pregnant. That was me. I found out I was pregnant, and I would be doing this as a single mom.
I knew there were a couple of things I was supposed to do. First, make an appointment with an OB/GYN. My doctor was very kind and recommended that I consider a couple of community resources that could help me. One was to make an appointment at a WIC clinic and enroll in the program for pregnant women. The second was to consider a program for first time moms called Nurse Family Partnership. This program would have a public health nurse meet with me and provide me with information and guidance about my baby and me.
I made the appointment and met with WIC consultants who, after enrolling me in the program, also recommended the same program my doctor recommended for first time moms. I called the number and made an appointment to meet with a nurse where I was pleasantly surprised to learn I didn’t have to go to another office, nor sit in another waiting room. The nurse would come to my home and from the comfort of my kitchen table, she explained the program and how together, she and I would meet and talk about my growing baby while I was pregnant and until my baby was two years old.
After that first meeting, my nurse and I met once a week while I was pregnant. Every time we met, she would bring videos and information that helped me prepare and gain a better understanding of what to expect. Things that were so useful and I had no idea were even available. After my baby was born, I remember trying to breastfeed and how helpful it was to have the encouragement and support of my nurse. I learned that it is valuable to read to my little girl, even while I was pregnant and after she was born I continued. It is our special time together. She loves mommy and baby reading time, and my heart glows with happiness. I didn’t realize that it is important to play games with my brand new infant; my nurse explained that helped important development through different growing stages.
Just recently, my baby and I learned some techniques to help address and reduce her separation anxiety. After a couple of weeks, my little girl is doing wonderful, and we know how to cope should it come up again sometime in the future. In all the things my nurse has helped me understand, the one thing that stands out was how she helped me see how big my baby was during different times during my pregnancy – it was amazing.
Now that the love of my life is turning one, I look back on those first visits with my nurse, the things I didn’t know, and how grateful I am to be in this program and for all she has taught me. Working together, I have become a better person and definitely a better informed mom. There are certainly many things down the road I still need to learn; but today, as I plan for her first birthday, I am confident I will learn them. Together, my baby and I will continue to grow.