Building a Bright Future: Cindy’s Story
Cindy Seenath didn’t hesitate for a second when she was asked if she was interested in joining the Nurse-Family Partnership program. When the advisor at the women’s health center in her hometown of Elizabeth asked her if she was interested in having a nurse come to her home during her pregnancy and for the first two years of her child’s life, Cindy replied, “The more, the merrier!”.
“I was excited to have someone with knowledge in maternal and child health be another set of eyes, and ears, and another brain that’s concerned about the same things that I’m concerned with,” said Cindy. “I was looking forward to receiving additional information outside of regular prenatal and pediatrician visits.”
The Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) is an evidence-based program that partners first-time mothers with nurse home visitors. Women who enroll in the program are visited by a specially trained registered nurse throughout their pregnancy until their baby turns two years old. During these visits, nurses offer knowledge and support to encourage a healthy pregnancy and baby. Nurses also help parents develop a vision for their future, plan subsequent pregnancies, continue their education, and develop job skills.
“It takes a special type of nurse to go into homes to educate and support the moms in our Nurse-Family Partnership program,” shared Emily Haines, Director of Public Health Initiatives at the Partnership for Maternal and Child Health. “Our nurses have a lasting impact in the lives of families served by the program, which is proven to reduce maternal and child mortality and improve health outcomes for mothers and children. The trusting relationship established between the expectant mother and her nurse is key to helping families thrive.”
Cindy, a single mom, was paired with visiting nurse Nadira Newby. Cindy and Nadira had an instant connection. She shared that Nadira went “above and beyond” to support her ensuring that she safely delivered her beautiful daughter, Selene Grace. Nadira not only helped Cindy stay focused on Selene Grace’s developmental milestones, but also with her own personal goals.
“The expectation of Nadira’s visits kept me on my toes and kept me going. Nadira was always encouraging me to meet my goals and silently cheering me on. She encouraged me to get back to me and find a balance between myself and my child. I feel like I survived because of her.”
Thanks to the encouragement from Nadira and the NFP, Cindy just completed her first semester at Union County College with a 4.0, and plans on majoring in business or nursing. Cindy and Selene Grace recently graduated from the NFP program in May, but she remains connected with the Partnership. Cindy attended the graduation ceremony for the Hudson Union families in December and showed off her amazing culinary skills with a beautiful cake for the families to enjoy.
“My journey with the Nurse-Family Partnership was a remarkable one and helped me recognize that motherhood is so hard, but so gratifying. The visual act of watching my daughter put on her cap and gown for the NFP graduation made me realize that motherhood is a long game, not a short one. It was Selene Grace’s first time putting on a cap and gown, and it won’t be her last.”
We are grateful to Cindy for sharing her story and highlighting the outstanding work of the Nurse-Family Partnership. We offer this program in Bergen/Passaic and Hudson/Union counties through a combination of state and federal funding from the New Jersey Department of Children and Families and the United Way of Greater Union County, as well as many other critical initiatives to promote a healthy pregnancy. Learn more.