By Maria Christina Yager

Fort Campbell, Kentucky–Best-selling author of the pregnancy and parenting “What to Expect” book series, Heidi Murkoff, visited new and expecting mothers at Blanchfield Army Community Hospital on May 6, in conjunction with her USO, What to Expect and Target present Special Delivery baby shower and reunion on Fort Campbell.

“This is our seventh year of doing Special Delivery baby showers, which we do around the world – Korea, Guam, Fort Campbell – you name it,” Murkoff said.

Photo credit DVIDS/Maria Yager

Heidi Murkoff visits parents and their newborn babies on the Mother Baby Unit at Blanchfield Army Community Hospital on May 6, 2019.

The [USO, What to Expect and Target present Special Delivery] baby shower tour has visited 35 military installations, giving military moms of newborns and moms-to-be an afternoon of traditional baby shower games, camaraderie, gifts and a question and answer period with Murkoff. More than 10,000 military spouses and active-duty women have participated in this free event at military installations worldwide since it began in 2013.

“We have no military in our family but we had long ago been asked to do a baby shower for military moms .. and we were completely addicted … [so] we decided to partner with the USO,” Murkoff said.

“We’re here not only to celebrate [mom], because these moms need to be celebrated, but also to bring moms together so they have a sense of community, which every mom needs.”

That sense of community is a sentiment echoed at Blanchfield. At the hospital, Murkoff joined expecting moms in a Centering Pregnancy prenatal group, a prenatal care program offered at Blanchfield and other military hospitals. In addition to traditional prenatal care, pregnant women in Centering Pregnancy meet regularly with other pregnant women who have similar due dates for two-hour sessions, discussing how their pregnancy is progressing, learning about topics related to their pregnancy journey and, as Murkoff advocates, connecting with other military moms.

“Being pregnant is hard enough under the best of circumstances, but when you take a mom away from her family and her friends, her network of support, then its exponentially harder, and then if her partner is deployed, even harder than that,” said Murkoff.

“There’s other first time mothers who are also sharing your same worries and your same concerns. I’ve met so many great girls in the group … people you want to have play dates with afterwards. It’s been really, really cool to be a part of that,” said Army Spc. Samantha Herrera, a Centering Pregnancy participant whose group was joined by Murkoff.

Photo credit DVIDS/Maria Yager

Heidi Murkoff visited expecting mothers during a Centering Pregnancy session at Blanchfield Army Community Hospital on May 6, 2019.

Murkoff spoke about a variety of topics with the Centering Pregnancy group, answering questions and talking with the moms and even a dad about their pregnancy journeys.

After Centering Pregnancy, Murkoff visited the hospital’s Mother Baby Unit to meet with moms, dads and their newborn babies. She spoke one-on-one with the families, offering hugs and congratulations.

Before departing, Murkoff hugged and met with hospital staff and gave a plug for the hospital’s upcoming Baby Steps Baby Expo, a free pregnancy and postpartum education fair for military families that are pregnant, planning to get pregnant or have welcomed a new baby in the past year.

“Knowledge is power. It’s especially empowering when you’re pregnant or when you have a new baby,” said Murkoff. “[The Baby Expo] has everything you need to know in one place, and I think that’s going to be really helpful to sort out the resources that are available to new parents because you don’t have to go it alone. You should have all the support that you need.”

The Baby Expo is May 24, 2019 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Fort Campbell’s Family Resource Center.

More than 40 educators and vendors will be on hand to answer beneficiaries’ questions and discuss available services. Topics include, prenatal care, hospital packing list, new parent support group, TRICARE, immunizations, well-baby care, Child, Youth and School Services, giveaways and more.

-This story has been edited for grammar, brevity and style. It was originally published on DVIDS.

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