Three-layer diaper cakes, retractable strollers, car seats, pack and plays… there was everything expectant moms could possibly dream of for their newborn child, as well as few other items they might not have even considered given away at the community baby shower in Brownsville on Saturday.
The event, entitled, “A Celebration of Motherhood,” was hosted by Brookdale University Hospital Medical Center in partnership with The Womb Collective, an effort to shower second and third trimester pregnant women in the community with health education, access to medical professionals, local resources, pampering, food, entertainment and, of course, tons and tons of gifts!
It was part baby shower, part resource fair, as organizations such as WIC, Healthy Start, ACS, SCO Family of Services and others also had booths on site to talk with the mothers about their services.
Brookdale’s Healthy Families program, under the Healthy Start umbrella, has been hosting the community showers regularly for the past few years– sometimes twice a year, said Roxanne Munroe, program manager for Healthy Families Brookdale.
“It’s really about introducing the moms to the resources that are available to them in the community,” said Munroe. “Every mom will receive a gift bag. We’re also raffling gifts and giving some away to the participants from quizzes we’re holding. We wanted to make sure that everyone who comes leaves with something special and feels special.”
Saturday’s shower was the first time the hospital partnered with a community program, The Womb Collective, a group of doulas and holistic womb wellness practitioners dedicated to establishing womb care standards from birth to death for black mothers locally and globally.
“We just wanted to pour our hearts in this and really show our appreciation for all of the women who are here today that are in the throes of getting ready to give birth really soon,” said Joan Sherwood, director of The Womb Collective.”It’s been phenomenal. It is beyond what we imagined. Each woman who came today will leave with a bag of essentials, such as onesies, socks, bibs, receiving blankets, toys, nail clippers…”
The two organizations working together brought out their largest crowd to date– close to 80 expectant mothers.
The shower had loads of gifts for the new babies, but it wasn’t short on pampering products for the moms either. “Moms get left out at baby showers, so we wanted to be inclusive,” said Sherwood.
Included in their gift bags were massage balls, shae butter soufles and hair care products. There was even an acutonics sound healing specialist on hand offering the soon-to-be moms five-minute sound therapy sessions to treat common pregnancy ailments such as back pain, fatigue, depression and musculoskeletal conditions.
“We’re providing them with a lot of information and resources that will assist them in creating interdependence, so they can go out in the community and share that these support groups are available,” Sherwood said.
And unlike most baby showers, there were a number of dads present to support the expectant mothers: “When we do the home visits, we try to get the fathers to understand that their presence is important,” said Munroe. “It’s really a project of ours to make sure the dad is involved in the whole process, whether they live in the home or not.”
Dominique Knight was one of the lucky participants in her fourth month of pregnancy with twins. “It’s been great,” she said of the shower. “I’ve learned a lot about how to be a better mom and to better raise my babies.”
The shower was a success. Not only was it a great way to honor and celebrate the life-giving power of women, but also it was an example of what can result when a community takes care of its community.