On March 15, 2017, Rosa Valentin – a 16-year old mom from Lancaster, Pennsylvania – testified before the U.S. House Ways and Means Subcommittee on her experience in the Nurse-Family Partnership program and how her nurse Beth Russell has helped her to become a confident mom. Rosa was joined by her 20-month-old daughter Angelica.
Rosa was 14-years old when she found out she was pregnant and was unsure how she would take care of a baby and continue high school. Her nurse Beth was there for her to help her have a healthy pregnancy. When Rosa had difficult pain during pregnancy, Beth helped her to learn what was going on with her body, when to get medical care and how to take care of herself and stay healthy.
“It has meant so much to me to have a nurse at my side, someone who I could trust for advice…” said Rosa before members of Congress.
As a teen mom, Rosa experienced a lot of stress and disrespect from her peers. Angelica’s father, who she thought would be with her to raise her baby girl, was not around and no longer a part of their life. Sometimes, Rosa shared, she just needed to vent, and nurse Beth was always there for her when Rosa was unsure of herself. Beth gave her confidence that she could be a strong mother for her baby, and helped her to be the mom she wanted to be for her daughter.
After her baby was born, Rosa had so much to learn about taking care of her newborn. It was difficult to keep up with classes and she started to fall behind in her schoolwork. Nurse Beth did not let her lose sight of her goals for school. Together, Beth helped Rosa develop a routine for her daughter and find time to study. Rosa is planning on going to vocational-technical school next year, and Beth has helped her at every step to achieve her goal.
Rosa is now in her junior year of high school. Her daughter Angelica is almost 2-years old, and is a healthy and bright toddler who loves reading and pointing out things around her.
“…I know that I am doing the right things for her. Angelica makes me happy every day, and I am so proud to see how much she has learned and how much she has grown,” said Rosa.
“I don’t know what it must be like to be a teen mom without this support, and I know there are so many more new moms just like me who are in need of it. Having a nurse like Beth, who I could trust with questions about my health when I was pregnant, breastfeeding when I was a new mom, child development as she grows, and life goals – helped me to be a successful parent,” said Rosa.
During the hearing, U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell said after Rosa’s testimony, “Your grace, courage, maturity is something to be marveled at.”
At the hearing, Rosa represented over 33,000 first-time moms and their families currently enrolled in Nurse-Family Partnership. Her testimony helped Congress to understand, first-hand, how Nurse-Family Partnership nurses are changing the lives of both new parents and their babies.
U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis said to Rosa, “You are indeed a formal role model.”
Rosa and Beth are with the Nurse-Family Partnership program at Lancaster General Health/Penn Medicine in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.