GROTON, Conn. – Seven-seven expectant military wives, recent moms, and service members assigned to Naval Submarine Base (SUBASE) New London, its tenant commands, and military commands across New England were honored with a virtual group baby-shower hosted by the March of Dimes, Nov. 17.
This sixth annual event had some modifications due to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic but still maintained the dual benefits for the non-profit March of Dimes organization and the participating moms and military families.
“March of Dimes has provided baby showers before; but due to COVID, we moved it from July to November this year and split the shower event into two elements with a virtual shower celebration and then a separate gift opportunity,” said Katrina Hagerty, SUBASE New London, Fleet and Family Support Center new parent support specialist. “Additionally, the shower’s virtual nature allowed us to open it military moms from all over the New England area. We had people from Massachusetts, the Cape and we had parents from Rhode Island take part.”
The March of Dimes mission is to promote full-term pregnancies and help expectant mothers take charge of their health. Under the organization’s “Mission: Healthy Baby” initiative, the March of Dimes strives to address the unique needs of military families who may be stationed far away from the support of family and friends, or who may have a spouse deployed while the other is expecting a child.
Expectant and new moms received valuable information during the virtual shower about resources and tools they may need, and many also enjoyed the opportunity to receive a bounty of gifts in drive-thru fashion at the Historic Ship Nautilus and Submarine Force Museum, Nov. 19.
Twenty-seven families drove to the museum where they were greeted curbside and presented with a stroller and a box of supplies. Other supplies were mailed to the moms at home. March of Dimes and sponsors from Berkowitz Hanna and Hanscom Federal Credit Union to the Boston Bruins and UPPABaby, made the generous gifts possible.
Tracy Gray, a Coast Guard wife who participated in the shower and gift drive-thru, was appreciative of the “Sailors who helped load the stroller. They were kind enough to do all the lifting for me and put it in the back of the van.”
She was also thankful for the gifts she received at her door, which included among other items: diapers, a baby monitor, and homemade baby blanket.
“I would like to give a shout out to the March of Dimes,” said Gray. “I have had several babies in the NICU [Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit], and they were very kind and helpful and informative. I appreciate them putting on the baby shower. And the military faces who are part of this, too. They do a lot for these baby showers and I really do appreciate it. I know other moms do as well.”
During the pandemic and resulting economic fallout, buying the necessary products for new children has become difficult for some families. One father who picked up the products on his wife’s behalf expressed his gratitude as well.
“It’s a very good thing to receive during these COVID times,” said Machinist’s Mate (Auxiliary) 2nd Class David Burton, assigned to Naval Submarine Support Facility. “My wife is three months pregnant. We don’t know if it’s a boy or girl; we get that test next week. I’m hoping for a girl.”
Overall the success of the shower in these challenging times was rewarding for all, according to Haggerty.
“Despite all going on with the virus and mitigation strategies and measures, this year’s shower still allowed the March of Dimes to provide key information to our military moms and to offer thanks, along with their sponsors, to some very deserving women,” said Hagerty.
For more information about the March of Dimes or the SUBASE New London Fleet and Family Support Center, visit https://www.marchofdimes.org/mission/mission-healthy-baby.aspx, or call Fleet and Family at (860) 694-3383.