"She Believes in ME More than I Do in Myself"

Rosa Lee is depressed. She intended to go to cosmetology school next year "...to make something of myself." Now she is unexpectedly pregnant--and hopeless about her future. Her best friend, Alisha, took the train with Rosa Lee to her first prenatal visit.

Alisha is her oldest friend. They graduated from high school together about the time Alisha had become pregnant. Rosa Lee remembers her own mother declaring that "Nothing good will come of Alisha" when she heard about the pregnancy. But lots of good things have come Alisha's way, and Rosa Lee is proud of her best friend.

Early in her pregnancy Alisha was enrolled in a special program for young, expectant women. She had come to know Ms. Jacobs, a public health nurse with the the Nurse-Family Partnership Program. (http://www.nursefamilypartnership.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=home) Ms. Jacobs visited Alisha at her house throughout her pregnancy and after the baby was born.

Alisha said Ms. Jacobs and she chatted about the expected: taking her vitamins, using no alcohol, and watching for signs of early labor. But there was always something more to talk about. Ms. Jacobs would ask about Alisha's hopes for her child, where she wanted her child to go to school, and how to negotiate some help from the baby's daddy. They talked about how to stop verbal abuse in the household and how to talk about her real feelings with her boyfriend. After the baby was born, Ms. Jacobs continued to visit. Alisha learned how babies talk with their bodies, how some crying is normal, and how to help a baby learn to sleep at night. They worked on a childcare plan that would enable Alisha to attend night school at the local community college. "Sometimes Ms. Jacobs would see "Me" better than I could see myself!" Alisha remarked.

Alisha helped Rosa Lee sign up for the same program. In a brochure Rosa Lee read that moms in this program succeeded in surprising ways. The pamphlet said that these moms had longer intervals between the birth of their first and their second child, spent less time on welfare and using food stamps, and got along better with the baby's daddy. It even said these kids did better in school later in life. Rosa Lee loved hearing that!

Rosa Lee felt the baby kick for the first time last week. Being a mom seems more real to her now. She tells Alisha that "You and my nurse seem to think I'll be a good mom... and I'm beginning to believe that myself!"