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Having a Baby This Year? The VA Is Throwing You a Shower

Two Airmen assigned to the 606th Air Control Squadron kiss while holding their infant son, born during the father's deployment. (U.S. Air Force/Joe W. McFadden)
Two Airmen assigned to the 606th Air Control Squadron kiss while holding their infant son, born during the father's deployment. (U.S. Air Force/Joe W. McFadden)

This article by Abigail Chu originally appeared on the Military Officers Association of American (MOAA) website.

This Mother's Day, celebrate the women who sacrifice not only by serving our nation, but also as they navigate the new responsibilities and demands of motherhood.

The Department of Veterans Affairs is partnering with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation and Philips to honor veterans and caregivers welcoming new babies into their families in 2018 with the first nationwide baby shower. Nearly 2,500 new parents and parents-to-be will come together for events hosted by 60 VA medical centers across the country leading up to and following Mother's Day on May 13.

Senior VA leaders, representatives from Philips, and Dole caregiver fellows will also attend the events, which run from May 5 to 16.

Madison Moore, a representative from the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, said the events will help connect new parents to resources inside and outside the VA.

"We know that veterans and caregivers often lead busy, stressful lives," she said. "Our hope is that these events will help our veteran families connect to a community of those who can support them along their journey."

Half of our nation's two million female veterans are in their 20s and early 30s, according to the VA. Officials there hope to raise awareness for the services they offer women, including primary care, prenatal and maternity services, and a week of newborn treatment.

The baby showers are open to male or female veterans welcoming babies this year, Moore said, but the idea is to highlight those key services the VA offers women.

Beyond being armed with information, parents will not leave the baby shower empty-handed.

"The VA has worked with key corporate partners to provide two new baby packages with useful gifts for parents-to-be," Moore said. "One has been generously provided by Philips containing their top-line baby care products. This kit will also contain helpful resources for veteran caregivers provided by the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, as bringing a new baby into the family can often be a stressful time for someone who is also caring for a wounded, ill, or injured veteran."

The other kit will include a diaper bag, hair brush and comb set, bib, layette, blanket, hat, and toiletries. The VA will also present a number of bigger ticket items - such as car seats or cribs - so at least one veteran at every site is surprised with a special gift.

Ultimately, the VA and its partners seek to provide new parents with the essentials they need to care for their new babies and, importantly, themselves during the first days and weeks of their child's life.

The kits are available for sponsorship from the VA. Those interested in supporting a veteran's family can click here to sponsor a kit.

This article , 'Having a Baby This Year? The VA Is Throwing You a Shower,'

originally appeared on the Military Officers Association of American (MOAA) website. MOAA is the nation's largest and most influential association of military officers.

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