They say it takes a village to raise a child — but many would agree the same sentiment could also be applied to new and expecting mothers.
Parenthood can be a stressful and difficult time. Receiving practical and emotional support from the community, however, can have a profound impact on the whole family’s happiness and stress levels.
Understanding this, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico (BCBSNM) and Familia Dental co-hosted a free community baby shower for more than 300 new and expecting moms and other community members at the Java Loft Coffee Shop in Clovis.
“It’s awareness for the community so they know what’s out here and available for them,” said Marylou John, community relations coordinator for Familia Dental. “There are a lot of resources that people don’t know about, and this gives them the opportunity to get informed.”
Attendees of the community baby shower were able to step inside the BCBSNM Care Van, where services and resources were being offered. More than 50 visions screenings were administered by the New Mexico Lions Operation KidSight, and 132 COVID-19 tests were distributed.
Inside the coffee shop, providers and community partners — such as Food Bank of Eastern New Mexico, Chicanos Por La Causa and Pregnancy Resource Center — set up booths and distributed relevant community resources and information.
Expecting mother Samantha Timson, who found out about the event after seeing a flyer on Facebook, said she was excited to attend.
“I can use all the resources I can get for a new baby,” she said. “Any help and information are vital for a new mom.”
The goal of the event was to connect growing families in the community with local service organizations that support women and children. Additionally, the no-cost event offered an opportunity for local mothers to interact with each other and make friends — creating a support network in the community.
“I thought this was a great opportunity for me to meet other moms, feel more involved in the community and be able to get some extra resources during this pregnancy,” said Jocelyn Fuentes. “There were definitely some programs I didn’t know about.”
According to a study published in Health Psychology Open, first-time parents often feel stressed, overworked, judged and even inadequate. Without a community around to validate some of those feelings, many parents may feel their pain is unique. When families are a part of a larger support system, parents no longer feel isolated and alone in their struggles.
“I’m blown away by the amount of practical support and supplies that families need, in addition to resources and information,” said Clovis Mayor Mike Morris. “This really shores up local families and helps them be best prepared to be great parents and take good care of their kids.”
“This is an investment in the quality of life and the wellbeing of Clovis residents and I’m grateful for it,” he added.
Those who registered early for the event were entered to win door prizes, including car seats, diapers bags, diapers, bottles and care packets for both moms and their babies.
“Any little bit helps,” said attendee Ashley Jimenez, who was eight months pregnant. “Any support is always very appreciated.”