Monday, January 18, 2010

Helping your PRC: Baby Shower Part 1

The excitement and near-giddiness that cute baby items bring a woman is priceless. It's even more priceless when such items are given to a mother who has nothing.

Most women who are driven to consider abortion are motivated by dire - or at least seemingly dire - financial situations.

Offer to host baby showers for your local Pregnancy Resource Center! It's a great activity for your local group of church ladies, but don't be afraid to fly solo if you're organized, have the resources or are good at getting what you need. You will bring more joy that you can imagine. Not only will you give a mother comfort in knowing that she has supplies (and adorable ones at that!) for the baby, but you will help her see that little thing in her belly as a the precious child that he or she is.

5 Steps to Plan a PRC Baby Shower:

1.) Get to know your PRC and find out if they have baby shower guidelines established, and what their other needs may be.

2.) Determine for whom the shower will be held
You could host a shower for one woman, or a group. You could host it for women who originally planned to abort or for women who are simply suffering financially - or for whomever you or your PRC see fit.

3.) Identify the woman's needs

I'd recommend putting together a substantial layette for the baby's first months. Focus on the basics - don't get carried away with frivolous things that are cute but not vital to baby's care.

Bigger items like bassinets, cribs, car seats are undoubtedly the best thing you can give a woman. But they are very costly. If you can raise the money to give them: awesome! But if not, don't feel bad. Hospitals, fire and police stations often offer infant car seats for free or for a nominal donation. Check to see if there are other organizations in the area that can help with cribs (maybe St. Vincent's or the Christ Child Society).

Here's a good rule that I've used for past showers:
  • 1 pack of infant gowns (usually found in packs of 2)
  • 1-2 packs of onezies/bodysuits (usually found in packs of 5)
  • 1-2 packs of sleepers (usually found in packs of 3)
  • 1 pack of hats (usually sold 2-3 together)
  • 1 pack of booties (usually sold with 4 pairs)
  • 1 pack of bibs (usually 5-7 together)
  • 1 pack of washcloths (usually in packs of 5)
  • 1 pack baby towels (usually in packs of 2-3)
  • 1 pack receiving blankets (usually in packs of 3-5)
  • 1 heavier blanket
  • 1-2 baby toys - something that baby can use to teeth is a good idea
  • A package of diapers - size 1 is good. If you have the resources, feel free to go all out and give multiple packages of different sizes.
  • A nice gift for mom! Maybe a bath kit, a mug with a box tea (make sure it's appropriate for pregnancy), or anything along those lines.
*Note: For all clothes, go with size 0-3 months.

All of this can then neatly be packaged into
  • 1 baby bath tub AND/OR
  • 1 laundry basket
4.) Set the time, date, and location
Many PRCs are able to accommodate a little party - but for smaller centers you might have to look for another venue like your parish hall. For safety and privacy reasons I strongly advise against hosting these baby showers in your own home.

5.) Determine who's invited
Make sure the baby shower isn't just you and the woman - even if it's for a group of women! Get the PRC's counselors to attend, let the woman/women invite guests. If you're throwing a shower for a group of women, limit the guest number reasonably - maybe she can bring 2 or 3 friends/family members plus any children she already has.
Note: Never, ever exclude children she already has! If you're working with a group shower, it's a good idea to find a volunteer who can help keep the children entertained so mom can relax and have fun, and also not worry about feeling like she should have found a babysitter.

Stay tuned for part 2 tomorrow....

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