Suffering from depression her entire life, the year before Danielle became pregnant she attempted suicide four times. Before her last attempt she “just wanted to end it all and be out of pain.”
When she discovered she was pregnant, her initial reaction was “how could this be happening to me?” After getting out of a mental institution only a month prior, she felt “alone and scared,” but knew she needed all the help she could find. She began seeking resources, and was pointed to Nurse-Family Partnership at Ingham County Health Department in Lansing, Michigan.
Upon being paired with her nurse Kristin, Danielle had to initially work toward trusting her. “I was really hesitant to let this person into my life, but Kristin never pushed me. We talked about my fears regarding childbirth, money, stability, my depression… and she provided me with resources for every concern.” Kristin gave Danielle information on joining mom groups, provided contact information to a service that took her to her medical appointments twice a week, connected her with a breastfeeding coach, and put her in touch with Shades of Motherhood, a group for women with depression that she began attending before Mykah was born.
Danielle adds, “I can text Kristin at 3 am and I know when I wake up, she’ll have an answer for my question with resources for me to look into. She made me realize I could be a good mom, even though I felt like I knew nothing about being a mom before I met her.”
With very little family support, Kristin became Danielle’s lifeline and by the time her son Mykah was born, Danielle felt prepared, empowered and ready to be the best mom she could be.
Kristin and Danielle have worked together to set goals that Danielle is working on attaining beyond the two-year NFP program end date that include: getting her driver’s license back, becoming CPR certified, paying off debt and saving money, setting up a college fund for Mykah, providing a more stable home, and getting her bachelor’s degree in child development or a similar field.
“I never even thought I’d have kids, let alone want to work with them! My goal is to begin working as a nanny and then possibly open my own daycare.”
While working toward her goals, Danielle maintains a steady position as a restaurant manager and server. Kristin has written Danielle amazing character letters and advocates for her growth and goal attainment in every way she can.
In addition to maintaining her bi-weekly meetings with nurse Kristin, Danielle belongs to several supportive mom groups and continues to attend group sessions at Shades of Motherhood. “I know my depression will be something I will have to manage my entire life and with Kristin’s encouragement, I continue doing everything I can in order to do so. I love that the NFP program continues until Mykah is two as there are still so many things I’m learning.”
Under Kristin’s guidance, at age 4 months Mykah is also thriving. He loves bouncing and looking at himself in the mirror, and “brings joy to everyone that meets him.”
Danielle adds, “After my son Mykah, Kristin is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Mykah saved my life, and Kristin continues to make me better. She builds me up and she never makes me feel like I’m doing anything wrong. I’m so grateful for the support and wish every woman could feel as supported as I do.”