What Airmen can expect when they're expecting

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jacob R. McCarthy
  • Nellis AFB Public Affairs
It can be hard enough for first-term Airmen to find their places in Air Force society. It can prove even harder when those Airmen have to adjust as "first-term" parents as well.

For those Airmen making their first transition into parenthood, the Nellis Family Advocacy Program offers the New Parent Support Program designed to educate and facilitate the many needs of new parents.

The NPSP serves as a voluntary, home visitation program for expectant parents and parents with children no more than three years old.

"Most of the Airmen who come in are new to the military and are on their own for the very first time," said Ellie Hauck, a family advocacy nurse with the 99th Medical Operations Squadron.

The program is focused on providing home visits, helping Airmen adjust to their new roles as parents and developing problem-solving skills.

"The most important thing is educating parents about the pregnancy, prenatal care and the many growth and development changes the whole family will undergo," said Mrs. Hauck.

In addition to counseling and educational services, cooperation between the Nellis and Las Vegas communities helps to further the parenting success of Nellis and Creech Airmen.

Donations from organizations like the Las Vegas Assistance League have empowered NPSP nurses to provide layette sets, diapers, videos and educational literature to assist parents.

Thanks to the generosity of the Las Vegas Assistance League, NPSP was able to provide 100 layette sets to their clients.

Karen Garretson and her husband, Zach, an F-15 crew chief with the 57th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, are enrolled in the NPSP awaiting the birth of their daughter, Amy, who's expected to arrive in late December. The Women's Health Clinic suggested the program to the Garretsons as a means of support.

The assistance the NPSP offers is making the Garretson's transition to parenthood less stressful and more manageable.

"The pregnancy has been an emotional rollercoaster, but the one-on-one care from our [nurse] makes me feel more prepared about being a mother," said Mrs. Garretson, a former sensor operator with the 11th Reconnaissance Squadron at Creech.

"I think the most beneficial aspect of the program is once our daughter comes and we start focusing on the developmental issues of being parents," said the expectant mother.

As with most programs the Air Force offers, the NPSP is all about a committed focus on the happiness and well-being of Airmen and their families via a well-rounded approach to Airmen and the Air Forces' needs.

"If Airmen are happier in their homes, they stand a greater chance of doing a better job at work," said Mrs. Hauck.

For more information, call the New Parent Support Program at 653-3866.