CHARLOTTE, N.C. — For most nurses, when a mom and baby leave the hospital, they don’t usually hear from the patients again. But for the last two years, Anita Beatty has had the opportunity to watch Christaiua Williams and her daughter Daylynn continue to grow.
Beatty works as a nurse for Care Ring North Carolina’s Nurse-Family Partnership.
The program connects expectant mothers with a nurse to visit them at home, before and after their baby arrives, for up to two years.
As a single mom, Williams says she was overwhelmed and scared when she was expecting her daughter.
“What am I supposed to do? I’m responsible for her,” Williams said.
But through their biweekly visits, Williams says Beatty has continued to counsel and coach her, teaching her everything she needs to know.
“She was so comforting. She gave me advice. She was my therapist, my mentor. She was just everything I needed,” Wiliams said.
Beatty says support is especially important for minority mothers going through pregnancy.
“My role is not to tell you what to do. My role is to support you and those things that you like to give you education around health that I know you need to know and to help you learn to advocate for what you need,” Beatty said. “Because when your child comes, you're going to be your child's advocate.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Black women are three times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause than white women.
While the CDC says access to health care can be a contributing factor, it says structural racism and implicit bias also play a role.
“I've seen it firsthand — it’s very heartbreaking,” Beatty said.
That is why Beatty continues her work through Care Ring.
“It makes me humble to be able to give them something that they're in need of that ordinarily they wouldn't know sometimes to ask for,” Beatty said. “And sometimes they don't always know what they need.”
Care Ring is working to expand across the greater Charlotte area. The Nurse-Family Partnership continues until a child is 2 years old.