Reposted with permission from CJP

Minutes after Nicole Spiewak gave birth to her second child, Noah, the baby was whisked away to the NICU at Newton-Wellesley Hospital. Nicole and husband Dan received the startling news that part of Noah's esophagus was missing and his stomach was connected to his trachea instead of his esophagus, a birth defect called EA/TEF. Immediate surgery was required, and Noah was transferred to Children's Hospital in Boston just four hours after being born.

"We were blindsided," says Nicole, a psychotherapist turned stay-at-home mom.

As a mental health professional, without family nearby for support, she knew she needed to reach out for help. A social worker at Children's connected Nicole with Lauren & Mark Rubin Visiting Moms®, a program of Jewish Family & Children's Service that provides consistent support and companionship to new moms, regardless of faith or background.

CJP provides funding for the Rubin Visiting Moms program—one of the many ways CJP helps members of the Jewish community and others in need.

"Those weekly visits from my Rubin Visiting Mom were a lifeline for me," says Nicole. Noah ended up spending much of his first year in the hospital and Nicole was right there by her baby's side. But spending so much time in the hospital left her feeling alone and missing her toddler daughter terribly.

"Sometimes it was hard to hold my head above water. My Rubin Visiting Mom provided the emotional support I needed," says Nicole. "She was there just for me, reminding me to take care of myself, so that I would have the strength to take care of my family."

Now that Noah is two years old, and doing great, Nicole still thinks about her Rubin Visiting Mom: "I honestly don't know how I would have gotten through that first year without her support—support that I continue to gratefully carry with me today."

Photo credit: Doug Owens