Welcoming a new baby into the world is an exciting time in a parent’s life but it can also be stressful.
The Women Veterans program at Eastern Oklahoma VA is on a mission to help female Veterans by easing some of the stress that comes with caring for their new additions.
In September, the program hosted drive-thru baby showers in Muskogee and Tulsa with support from the Center for Development and Civil Engagement (CDCE).
Invitations were sent out to enrolled Veterans receiving maternity care services who delivered babies between September 2021 and September 2022. Those with due dates through December 2022 also received invitations.
Reached out to Veterans to discuss needs
A lot of planning, coordination and teamwork went into making the baby showers successful. Prior to the event, Makyla Clark, nurse navigator and maternity care coordinator, personally reached out to each Veteran to discuss their needs and wants.
Wish lists were created and shared with CDCE who coordinated donations from Veteran Service Organizations and other donors. The gifts provided were thoughtful and specific to each Veteran’s need.
Clark was pleased with this year’s turnout as the team was able to “shower” lots of Women Veterans with a variety of baby gifts and goodies.
“This year was a phenomenal year,” said Clark. “Out of 38 invitations sent, 22 attended. We follow these women from pregnancy to the birth of their child and then postpartum. We host baby showers annually to show these ladies that we support them. We want to make them feel comfortable and important. We worked closely with CDCE, which was able to solicit an abundance of donations for this year’s events. Our Woman Veterans shared their need for specific items such as car seats, highchairs, swings, and bassinets. We are happy to report that all items were provided during the event thanks to the support of gracious donors.”
Other items donated were baby clothes, hooded towel sets, books, diapers, wipes, toys, baby carriers, cups, spoons, diaper bags, strollers, walkers, bathtubs, baby bedding and more. The baby showers were well received, and the families invited expressed how thankful they were for the opportunity.
Candice Jordan, CDCE chief, said her team was excited to support such a great event for Veterans and their families. “It is such an amazing event. Our Veteran organizations, such as the Daughters of the American Revolution, Wagoner Elks, Gray Horse War Mothers, and American Legion Auxiliary Unit 198, really got involved.
“Thank you to the Women Veterans program for planning and facilitating the event, as well as all donors and staff who helped make it successful!”