Posted on Tuesday 8 October 2013
Shereece Foster, daughter Nymiah (centre) and Dorothy Porter
X Factor finalist Shereece Foster has come a long way with the support of Guy’s and St Thomas’ Family Nurse Partnership.
The 22-year-old mum of three-year-old Nymiah was helped by our family nursing team to develop the key skills she needed to take care of her baby and herself during pregnancy and beyond.
Two teams of specialist nurses in Lambeth and Southwark have helped more than 500 mums under the age of 20 since the Family Nurse Partnership began in 2007. The 12 nurses - all former midwives, health visitors and children’s nurses - provide a home visiting service to first-time parents from early pregnancy until the child’s second birthday.
Shereece from Upper Norwood was 18, pregnant and living in a hostel when she was first introduced to the Family Nurse Partnership. She suffered from low self-esteem after being bullied at school.
She says: “I was in a really low place but with the help of my family nurse I began to feel confident again. I realised that I needed to give my daughter the best possible start in life.”
Now part of the X Factor finalists Miss Dynamix, Shereece says that her family nurse, Dorothy Porter helped her to find a good local nursery for Nymiah and to go to college to study health and social care.
Dorothy Porter, a Family Nurse Partnership supervisor says: “The first two years of a child’s life are crucial in terms of their emotional well-being and brain development.
“If we can reach young mums during pregnancy, at a time when they feel most motivated and inspired to do the very best for their baby, we can make a huge difference that will improve the health outcome of many hundreds of children.”
Dorothy and the family nurse team provide young parents with information and guidance including advice to increase the chances of a healthy pregnancy and labour, help to build positive relationships with their baby, and support to find a job or returning to education.
Dorothy says: “Some young people have never had a role model to show them what it means to connect with a child and to put the child’s needs above their own.
“Reading to their baby, playing on the floor, talking and listening to the child about their day and going to the local park are all simple things to improve their child’s development.
“Our family nurses work hard to build strong relationships with our young mums and dads so that they make healthier lifestyle choices and can plan positive futures for themselves and their babies.
“We help them to achieve their aspirations and to be the very best parents that they can be.”