A Story from Our Nurse-Family Partnership Program: Crystal A.

As a young, first time mom, Crystal didn’t know how much help she was going to need.

“At first I didn’t want to take the program,” Crystal recalled of first learning about EveryStep’s Nurse-Family Partnership.

The program helps clients establish healthy habits in preparation for their babies by matching a newly pregnant woman with a home-visiting nurse who checks in with the family until the child turns 2 years old.

“But once they got me into it, then I really liked it, because we get a lot of help. If you ask a question they will help you. They will figure it out for you. It’s a lot of help when you don’t know what to do,” Crystal recalled.  

Crystal admits that she was blind to how helpful the nurses from EveryStep could be. At first, she thought she would be receiving tips and tools to foster her daughter, Yasel’s, learning.

However, her nurse partner, Amanda, helped her with much more; from basic assistance in signing up for insurance to long-term help exploring educational and career paths to better her own future.

Crystal noted that without her nurse partner to ease the application process of applying for financial aid and classes at Des Moines Area Community College, she isn’t sure what she would’ve done.

“I don’t think I would’ve started school, because it’s so difficult applying for financial aid,” Crystal said. “They [FASFA] don’t help you, they just give you the steps of what to do so that you can do it yourself. So it’s nice when someone comes to your house and goes through the steps with you.”

With help from EveryStep and Amanda, Crystal was able to explore what career she would like to have in the future. After taking a few courses in criminal justice, she found her passion was elsewhere.

That passion, it seemed, relied on creativity. Crystal toys with make-up, hair, cooking and Do-It-Yourself projects, so the best job for her would be one making use of these talents. Thanks to a suggestion from Amanda and the help of another organization, Crystal was able to create a resume and secure a seasonal position at Sephora.

One day, Crystal hopes to become a manager, but that will have to wait. She’s expecting her second child. This time around, Crystal feels more equipped and prepared for her new role as a mom of two – thanks to Amanda and EveryStep.

“I told Amanda, that I don’t think I’d need a nurse,” Crystal said. “I mean I would if I could stick with her. I’d have her for another two years. I just think it’s going to be easier for me with my second child.”

Thanks to her husband’s work in construction, she’s able to stay home during the day with Yasel, honing her parenting skills and imparting her love of crafts on the toddler.  

Yasel doesn’t seem to be interested in helping her mom with crafts or cooking just yet, and Crystal isn’t sure how interested she’ll be when she’s older.

“She’s a spoiled little girl. I don’t think she’s going to like to cook,” Crystal joked.

Crystal may not be able to bond over her interests quite yet, but having Yasel opened her up to EveryStep, which allowed her access to other opportunities.

“I think they made me a better candidate [for a job]. They help you a lot but it’s on you too. If we want something then we have to go for it. They always tell you that it’s up to you,” Crystal said.

In the end, Crystal is glad she joined EveryStep’s program, and she recommends it to others who might not be prepared for motherhood.

“I’ve learned that nothing’s easy, because it’s a lot of work,” Crystal said of her time in the Nurse-Family Partnership. “It’s easy when you have them, because they make it easy for you. I would really recommend it.”

This story is an edited excerpt of a piece written by Drake University student McKenzie Coons.