Military moms- and dads-to-be received a special treat Wednesday at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
According to a March of Dimes press release published in the Kansas City Star, the March of Dimes teamed up with the PGA Tour and Operation Shower, a non-profit organization, to provide free gift boxes of baby clothes, toys and supplies to expectant military families. Operation Shower, which was created in 2007, provides what it calls "showers in a box" for expectant military families who are experiencing a deployment or other high-stress situation.
A free box of baby clothes and supplies may not sound like a big deal, considering the amount of clothing the baby will probably outgrow in its first year, but for many military families, it can make a world of difference. This is especially true for junior enlisted soldiers and military families that already have several children, for whom the financial burden of a new baby can be quite hard to shoulder. Every little bit, no matter how small, helps.
The "showers in a box" can also play a huge role in stress relief. All too often for military couples, the joy of expecting a new baby is dampened by news that the baby's father will be deployed for part or all of his significant other's pregnancy. He may even be absent for the birth, and sometimes, if the mother is a soldier, she may receive orders to deploy while her child is still an infant. And while families generally accept these situations as part of life in the military these days, that doesn't mean it's easy. Pregnancy, even on its best day, can be stressful for both partners. Add a deployment into the mix, and you've got a recipe for anxiety that could potentially contribute to premature birth or low birth weight, according to the March of Dimes.
That's why helping hands like Operation Shower can have such a huge impact. Amid the stress of expecting a baby and dealing with a deployment, Operation Shower's "shower in a box" gives these parents-to-be a much needed opportunity to take a deep breathe and focus on celebrating their new little one--and that's definitely something to celebrate!
Photo credit: flickr.com, normanack