Becoming a parent for the first time can be intimidating. Important questions arise such as how often and how much should my baby be fed? Is this crying okay? Will my baby ever sleep through the night?
Learning how to parent is difficult, but it can be even more challenging for young moms who did not experience quality parenting themselves. And what about a support system for guidance and encouragement? New parents without a support system can easily find themselves feeling alone, confused and vulnerable.
For particularly vulnerable new moms, there is a possibility that lack of knowledge and resources may lead to a detrimental situation for their child. That is why CEDARS has placed a significant emphasis on working with vulnerable new moms in their first few years, teaching them the milestones of normal child development and helping to reduce stress within their home. We know that these simple actions go a long way to bringing safety and stability to babies’ lives.
Pria had recently learned she was pregnant and had no idea what to do or how to get help. She confided in her school counselor. Because of their previous conversations, Pria’s counselor knew that Pria’s family would not be a support to her which put her unborn child at risk.
Pria grew up without consistency or stability in her home. By the time she was a teenager, she had learned not to expect consistent meals or new clothes to replace out-grown outfits. She had also learned not to expect medical care when she was sick or injured. Pria’s counselor also knew that because Pria experienced such a childhood, she had not learned to manage emotions in healthy ways and often expressed herself using inappropriate behaviors.
Through no fault of her own, Pria was not equipped with the necessary skills and support in the 6 Protective Factors linked to lower incidence of child abuse and neglect. This put her unborn child at risk. Her school counselor told her that we could walk alongside her to help her with any concerns. That’s exactly what we did.
Pria came to us hesitant at first, but she quickly saw the benefits that good prenatal care could offer to her baby. She worked closely with our team to learn more. She gained hope and confidence for her family’s future and began to ask excellent questions of our team. When Michael was born, Pria was prepared to implement good parenting techniques, including safe sleeping practices and car seat safety. When she had questions, we were right there to guide her. We are confident that Michael’s future is bright because we were able to spend quality time with Pria.
Next month is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. All month long we’ll be sharing ways that we can all work to prevent child abuse. To kick off the month, we will be hosting an open house on April 1st. If your travel plans permit, we invite you to join us and pledge your support to help prevent the abuse and neglect of children. Attendees will be able to demonstrate their support by tying a white ribbon onto the railings of The Railyard in downtown Lincoln, surrounding the roughly 4,000 blue ribbons that will already be on display, representing the number of known children who were victims of abuse and neglect in Nebraska last year. It is our hope that this public display will serve as a reminder that we can all play a role in keeping children safe.