Oklahoma City VA recently held its fourth annual baby shower and there couldn’t have been a better day.
“We hold this event every year either on the Friday before Mother’s Day or the Friday after,” said Melissa Overfield, head of the Center for Development and Civic Engagement. “Today was the perfect weather to celebrate these new and expecting moms.”
Initially, the baby shower was held indoors, but due to COVID-19 restrictions over the past two years, it was held as a drive-in event. The new mothers walked through the parking lot of the medical center to receive baby shower gifts.
“We have received items donated by the Benevolent Order of Elks, Daughters of the American Revolution, Colonial Dames, Salvation Army, American Legion Auxiliary, Soldier’s Angels, United Daughters of the Confederacy and Veterans of Foreign War Auxiliary”, Overfield mentioned. “We had so much community support for this event. I don’t want to leave anyone behind. Thanks to all of them.
Wide choice of gifts
Baby shower gifts included several boxes of diapers, a backpack full of baby essentials with a built-in changing pad, a box of quick-to-prepare non-perishable foods, a bag of baby hygiene items. Each mother also chose a large item such as a Pack-and-Play, bouncer, high chair or stroller. The radiology staff also made over 100 blankets for the new babies.
“I was surprised to get an invitation for the baby shower,” said Brittany Sharp-Browning, an Air Force veteran. “Usually with VA, we think a lot about male grooming. It was really nice to have done something specifically for women, especially pregnant veterans. I felt very touched by this.
“When they called me, I told them I already had my baby and they said I was always welcome,” said Army veteran Shelby Jenkins. “It’s really nice to be thought about, so here I am.”
Veterans who have been invited to the drive-thru baby shower receive their care through the VA Women’s Clinic and surrounding community clinics. Maternity care is provided under the community care program.
Make women feel more welcome
“I think VA fits better with women and women’s care, like pregnancy,” Jenkins said. “They really opened up more services for us, such as breastfeeding stations for mothers, and made us feel more comfortable.”
“I walked in. I was seen right away, was referred to community care and was seen quickly,” Sharp-Browning said. “Quicker than if I had tried to go alone outside of VA, I’ve been very happy with it. Whenever I’ve needed anything, whether it’s my doctor or women’s health, I always had what I needed.