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  • Writer's pictureBook Harvest

New Moms, Veteran Moms

New moms are tired and tenacious, fragile and fierce, enervated and energized.  And when you get a room of them together, they share truths about pregnancy, birth, and motherhood that ring truer than any book or professional will ever tell you.

Books from Birth Implementation Specialist Wilmarie Cintron-Tyson shares a book from the box with a mom and her new daughter, demonstrating how to captivate a baby’s attention.

Imagine, then, what it’s like to bring together a group of new moms that share another truth among them:  serving as a member of the United States military! Several of us had the privilege to join a group of women veterans at a Baby Shower organized by the Durham VA Healthcare System last week, an event coordinated by the Women’s Health Clinic. Two extraordinary Maternity Care Coordinators, Kate Berrien, RN, BSN, MS and Maria Ellis, RN, IBCLC, support women veterans who are entering motherhood, some for the first time; others with a sibling for their other little ones.  

Kate and Maria work with all the women veterans in 27 counties in central and eastern North Carolina.  Several times a year they host Baby Showers so that their patients can get together to meet one another, share stories, exchange contact information, make playdates, and get support from others who know something unique about their lived experience.

A mom-to-be veteran is thrilled to take home Books from Birth, the first collection of books for her baby’s home library!

Book Harvest came to the Baby Shower at the VFW Post 7383 in Cary, North Carolina to share an added resource for each of the veterans attending.  Everyone received a Books from Birth box, filled with 10 brand new board books for newborns, along with an adorable “I Am A Book Baby” onesie and easy-to-reference tips and reminders about the importance of establishing a habit of shared reading routines with babies -- right from birth!  Books for older siblings were displayed across the room for them to choose and take home to keep forever.

Older siblings had the chance to choose books of their own to take home and keep forever – and didn’t hesitate to start reading during the event!

The spirit of camaraderie and friendship among these women (most of whom had never met one another before!) was palpable. From a quiet set of introductions, a symphony of voices soon filled the space as people shared their experiences, joys, and challenges. Many hands were ready to sway and snuggle with babies as moms had a little taste of respite; Book Harvest folks were especially eager to nestle up close with the little ones!  And Kate and Maria provided group and one-on-one time to offer wise and supportive counsel to these extraordinary women.

Everyone left with an armful of resources; from homemade baby blankets and a mountain of diapers to a beautiful Books from Birth starter home library that was a welcome – and surprise! – delight for all!

Kate Berrien (L) and Maria Ellis (R) flank some of the moms and babies who attended the Baby Shower. Book Harvest’s Wilmarie Cintron-Tyson (Center) beams with joy with a little one!



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