First-time mom Arian Baker, 33, learned about Goodwill’s Nurse-Family Partnership through her obstetrician. As a medical student she knew that maternal and infant mortality rates are much higher among African-American women. She worked with her nurse to educate herself about the changes that were happening to her body and managing stress that could adversely affect her developing baby.
Although she knew more about health than the average person, she believed there was still a lot she could learn from the program.
“I was excited about the pregnancy but also scared. As a medical student, people often assume you have all the answers and know everything, which is far from the truth. I was just as lost as any other first-time mom. I hoped to learn about what to expect, how to have a successful pregnancy, what to do once baby got here and how to navigate pregnancy and the years to come,” she said.
Arian was paired with Robin Coleman, RN. She’s worked with dozens of new mothers the past four years as a Goodwill nurse.
“People often hear things about pregnancy and health in general via word of mouth and through the experiences of family. Robin made sure I had the information I needed to have a healthy pregnancy and prepare for becoming a new parent,” said Arian.
During their weekly visits, they talked about everything from safe sleep to car seat safety to financial concerns. Robin connected her with the Black Breastfeeding Coalition. As the months passed, Arian learned how to recognize signs that could mean there was an issue with
In July 2016, Arian and her husband Tracy welcomed daughter, Averie, to the world. Arian credits her nurse for recognizing she was suffering from postpartum preeclampsia, a serious condition related to blood pressure that typically occurs while still pregnant.
“Her checks on my blood pressure and overall well-being were so important. Given Indiana's high-ranking for postpartum maternal deaths, I honestly could have been another statistic,” Arian said.
Goodwill’s Nurse-Family Partnership provides a safety net and support system that first-time moms often don't have during their pregnancy. And the support continues after pregnancy, until children turn age 2, as new moms learn and hone their parenting skills.
“What I love is being able to provide support and empowering the mothers in our program to reach their fullest potential,” said Robin. “We’re fortunate that we have more than two years to build the relationship with our families and it’s wonderful to see moms gain confidence over time.”
“Robin was truly the support — and ultimately the friend — that I needed during that time. She encouraged me to make and achieve goals both personally and academically,” Arian said.
“Robin always provided job resources, information on free educational and recreation activities for families and even resources for procuring food. She also gave me great activities to do at home with my daughter so that I was actively engaging in her learning. Nurse-Family Partnership is an amazing program, and I am truly blessed to have been a part of it,” she added.
Arian will be awarded her medical degree in 2019 and plans to practice family medicine, inspired by family members who have struggled to manage chronic pain. She also wants to work in a smaller, possibly rural community where there is a shortage of physicians.
“Becoming a doctor has been a passion of mine since high school. I’m passionate about educating my patients and closing the gap in health care for underserved populations. I’m also passionate about being a good mother. My daughter is the joy of my life! I love watching her grow and develop into this smart, funny and determined little person,” she said.