By Derek Gean (Fort Wood Community Editor)June 23, 2016
For many new and expectant parents at Fort Leonard Wood, June 20 to 21 were special days.
The USO, in partnership with the What to Expect Foundation, hosted a Special Delivery Daddy's Edition Party Monday and a What to Expect Special Baby Shower Tuesday for moms. The events provided parents with games, food, prizes and gifts and featured Heidi Murkoff, the best-selling author of the "What to Expect" book series.
"Both of these events help celebrate new beginnings and what better way to welcome those expecting than by throwing them a baby shower," said Kelly Brownfield, Fort Leonard Wood USO director.
"We were excited that we could include Heidi Murkoff. She truly allowed our participants to open up and ask any questions they may have had relating to their pregnancies, or 'what to expect.' We were thrilled to see the father's open up during their event, and everyone shared a few laughs throughout both events."
On both days, the parents played games and were served a meal. The moms received gifts and the dads took part in raffles for different prizes.
The father's party was a pilot program of the USO.
"We were honored that the National USO office would ask us to kick off the first ever Special Delivery: Daddy's Edition as a pilot program to see if this is something they want to continue around the world," Brownfield said. "We worked hard to pull this event together."
During Tuesday's shower, each mom received a goodie bag, cake was served, and Murkoff was available to answer any questions participants had.
"Motherhood is the ultimate sisterhood," Murkoff said in an earlier statement. "For military moms-to-be, far away from their immediate Family and friends, these baby showers were more than gift bags and cake. They were about connecting and sharing a common bond and creating friendships with women experiencing the same mix of emotions during one of the most important milestones of their lives."
Jess Paden, one of the expectant moms participating and an Army spouse, said the event made her feel special and gave her the opportunity to make connections with other moms.
"Being so far from Family, it was great to have a chance to meet other women who are expecting," Paden said. "The goodie bags were such a cool surprise."
Since launching in 2013, the program has supported more than 2,700 military spouses and expectant active-duty mothers.
The very first baby shower was hosted for expectant military moms in Colorado at Fort Carson. Brownfield said, on average, each shower hosts approximately 100 expectant service women and military spouses. There are a total of 23 planned this year worldwide.