In the summer of 2020, Hannah’s friends jokingly asked her if she was pregnant because she was eating more than usual. “I took a pregnancy test and to my surprise, I was pregnant!” Hannah remembered. She was 20 years old, working part time in retail and living with her dad in a rural part of Wisconsin.
When she was 10 weeks pregnant, Hannah’s boyfriend, Robert, proposed. “I met him in 2019 and it was love at first sight,” Hannah said.
Hannah first learned of Nurse-Family Partnership ® (NFP) through the hospital during her first prenatal appointment. She said, “When you are first pregnant, it’s so overwhelming. So I decided to give NFP a shot.” Hannah first established a short relationship with an NFP nurse in Sauk County before transferring to Juneau Adams County NFP when she moved in with her mom toward the end of her pregnancy.
At 41 weeks, Hannah began having contractions. “After 30 hours of labor, I was not progressing. They gave me one last chance before prepping me for a cesarean section,” Hannah said. “I gave one final push and he finally arrived.” Hannah and Robert welcomed their son, R.J., on January 12, 2021. The next two years would be a whirlwind for the new family.
Jodi helped me find a babysitter that accepted state assistance – so that I wouldn’t have to bring my son to work with me anymore.
-NFP Mom Hannah
R.J. was two months old when Hannah began visiting with her new NFP nurse, Jodi. “It was the height of COVID, so we first met via telehealth then transitioned to meeting outside,” Hannah said. “Jodi was so knowledgeable about everything and I could tell that she cared about my personal needs.”
Jodi remembered, “By the time I met Hannah, she had a number of goals established. I jumped right in to identify Hannah’s strengths and build a rapport. Her first goal was to breastfeed R.J. for at least one year – she had built a successful milk supply and routine.”
During this time, Hannah was parenting alone as Robert was serving a year and a half in prison. Hannah said, “I couldn’t visit him because I was finishing a probation period for an earlier criminal charge.” Jodi added, “We had discussions about how she could keep Robert part of R.J.’s life even though he wasn’t physically present. I also ensured we talked about her loneliness and isolation.”
After R.J. was born, Hannah struggled with postpartum depression. Jodi said, “I encouraged her to meet with her provider for a mental health screening.” Hannah started therapy and taking medication. She said, “That’s when I got the motivation to start getting things done!”
Next on Hannah’s list was to get a job in hopes of renting an apartment of her own. She said, “Jodi helped me find a babysitter that accepted state assistance – so that I wouldn’t have to bring my son to work with me anymore.” Jodi explained the challenge of childcare in Wisconsin, “It is extremely difficult in such a rural area to find childcare. I gave Hannah the resources and she accomplished a big piece of the puzzle.”
Her past does not have to define her future. Becoming a mother changed her life and goals in a positive direction.
-NFP Nurse Jodi
Hannah said, “My biggest goal was moving out of my mom’s house. Jodi helped me figure out what to say to renters as a new mom with a criminal record and a low-paying job.” Jodi said, “This is called ‘motivational interviewing’ where we practice what to say so she felt prepared and confident.” After long consideration, the landlord gave Hannah a chance and they moved into their first apartment when R.J. was six months old. Jodi said, “She had that place so cute and made it a home!”
Next, Hannah accomplished getting her High School Equivalency Diploma, or HSED, in September 2021 while working full time in retail. She said, “I told Jodi I didn’t want to lose this direction I was going in.” Jodi added, “I supported her with a few resources through the Wisconsin Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.” Hannah began working on her medical administrative office assistant certificate. She said, “Jodi planted this seed in my head, now I have a 4.0 GPA and will finish the program this fall.”
Robert was released from prison in August 2022 and married Hannah in November. Hannah recalled with a laugh, “It was a beautiful wedding, but when I was getting ready to walk down the aisle, R.J. kept pulling on the front of my wedding dress to be breastfed!”
Before Hannah graduated from NFP in January 2023, Jodi said, “Toward the end, Robert attended the visits and was really interested.” Hannah and Robert are expecting their second child this August. Hannah said, “Jodi taught me so many things as a first-time mom, so I feel more prepared for my second baby.”
Through all this, Hannah continued breastfeeding R.J. past two years old and learned how to play and promote the development of her growing toddler. Jodi reminded Hannah often during their partnership, “Her past does not have to define her future. Becoming a mother changed her life and goals in a positive direction.”