When Dea'Jenay Reid discovered she was pregnant with her first child, she was 23 and finishing a rigorous nursing school program. While the idea of parenting brought a lot of feelings of excitement, it also brought many uncertainties and feelings of anxiety. When she learned of Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana’s Nurse-Family Partnership® program during a prenatal visit with her doctor, she was eager to enroll.
“I didn’t know a lot of people my age with kids, and I was really nervous about what was to come,” Dea’Jenay recalled. “I just wanted all of the information that I could get. Knowing that I had someone there to guide me and that I could turn to with questions alleviated a lot of stress.”
Dea’Jenay was paired with Nurse Mischa, with whom she quickly found common ground. Over the next few months, Mischa helped her balance school, feelings of self-doubt, postpartum anxiety and all of the questions that surround having a newborn.
“I’m really shy, so it usually takes me a little while to open up,” Dea’Jenay said. “But Mischa was also a pregnant Black woman and understood what I was going through while I finished nursing school. She was easy to relate to and made me feel super comfortable. As we got to know each other more, she became someone that I wanted to be like.”
She felt so inspired that a few months after graduating, she applied again to the Nurse-Family Partnership program – this time as a nurse home visitor.
“I didn’t tell Mischa when I applied because I didn’t want to have to tell her if it didn’t work out,” Dea’Jenay laughed. “But when I was offered the job and told her, she was so excited and proud.”
Dea’Jenay currently has a caseload of about 15 parents, but she may work with as many as 25-30 at a time. As the first client turned nurse, she has a unique sense of what it’s like on the other side. She continues to pull inspiration from her time with Mischa by making an effort to relate to her clients.
“I’ve been in their shoes. It’s not easy to open up, and sometimes you don’t even know what to ask, but having someone who can speak the same language makes such a difference,” Dea’Jenay explained. “Mischa showed me that. It makes it easier to have those tough conversations with families when they know that I know where they are coming from.”
As she looks forward to maternity leave with the upcoming arrival of her second child, she is already excited to reconnect with her clients when she returns. Ultimately, Dea’Jenay hopes to earn her master’s degree and transition to the mental health side of Nurse-Family Partnership.
“I love Goodwill and plan to stay here for a long while,” she said. “I have a lot of support through my colleagues and workplace. I feel like I’m just getting started.”
When you donate and shop at Goodwill, you're supporting moms like Dea'Jenay. Visit goodwillindy.org/nfp to learn more and to apply for Nurse-Family Partnership.