First-Time Parent Fears and Challenges are Eased with Trust and Kindness

EveryStep board member Kelly Caldbeck is competing against other board members in EveryStep's Amazing FundRacer May 18. Competitors are vying to raise the most donations to EveryStep through their individual teams. See the button below to donate directly through Kelly's team, and read on about her recent visit to Laxmi and Ja.                 

Any parent facing the daunting task of trimming your baby’s nails for the first time knows the fear of accidentally harming that tiny finger. Laxmi, who came to Iowa from Nepal, is scared, too. Her baby has been scratching his face. Laxmi knows those nails need trimming, but she tried once, unsuccessfully, and doesn’t want to try again.

Audrey Van Kamen is an RN with EveryStep’s Nurse-Family Partnership program. She is also a mom and understands Laxmi’s fear. With the aid of an EveryStep interpreter, Audrey shows Laxmi some tricks and then has her do it herself. Success!

Showing Laxmi how to trim her baby’s nails is more than teaching a parenting skill. It is the result of the trust built between Laxmi and Audrey, and the availability of an interpreter to enable the conversation. EveryStep’s pregnancy and parenting support make both possible.

EveryStep Foundation Board of Trustees member Kelly Caldbeck had the opportunity to accompany Audrey on her visit with Laxmi and she recognized the relational aspect that makes EveryStep’s programs successful. “I was touched by how nice and established of a relationship Audrey had with mom, dad and baby. It was more than just a professional relationship. It was kind, intimate and genuine. It was clear how much the family trusted Audrey,” says Kelly.

During her scheduled visit, Audrey weighs, measures and tests baby’s development and also checks in on Laxmi’s well-being – she had an appendectomy shortly after giving birth. When Laxmi’s husband shows Audrey the medical bill resulting from the appendectomy, Audrey makes a note to contact the EveryStep Foundation to see financial assistance is possible.

“I think the impact of having a nurse visit the family from prenatal care through year two is multifaceted,” says Kelly. “Not only are the nurses providing their expertise in regard to the pregnancy and development of the baby, but they provide kindness and support for the parents. This resource is incredibly valuable.”

Following the check-in with Laxmi, Audrey and Kelly travel to another location to meet with Ja, who is interested in EveryStep’s pregnancy and parenting support. Kelly was impressed with the interaction. “The kindness that Audrey showed Ja during their first meeting really resonated with me. Ja recently moved here and doesn’t speak any English. Our time with her helped me understand the challenges associated with not only moving into a new community but also learning how to have a healthy pregnancy and raise a baby.”

The interactions Kelly observed during the two visits with Audrey enriched her commitment to EveryStep’s work. “EveryStep touches everything that I feel strongly about. I left those visits feeling inspired, motivated and thankful that EveryStep is a resource for families. I’ve seen firsthand how staff members engage their clients and the community, and I couldn’t be more supportive.”

Donate to EveryStep by Supporting Kelly's Amazing FundRacer Team

EveryStep’s Nurse-Family Partnership program pairs specially educated nurses with first-time pregnant people. Regular visits begin early in pregnancy and continue until the child’s second birthday. The nurse provides new parents with the confidence and tools they need to provide a healthy start for their child, as well as continued support for the birthing parent’s health and wellbeing.

The help EveryStep provides to new and expecting moms like Laxmi and Ja is just one example of what EveryStep’s staff and programs do every day, all across Iowa. The EveryStep Foundation uses financial gifts and donations to assist during emergencies. As a nonprofit, EveryStep relies on gifts and donations to ensure this work continues.

If you or someone you know is struggling to find the support they need, please contact EveryStep at 515-558-9946 or complete the commitment-free, confidential “Find Care” form on EveryStep’s website at EveryStep staff will follow up with a phone call to answer your questions and provide assistance.