This is a guest post by Melissa Nauss of Stars and Stripes Doulas. I’m happy to have her voice on the blog today! Stars and Stripes Doulas is a partnership that pairs a professional doula with an expecting mother. I have written before about why I used a doula when I had to deliver a baby during deployment. I asked Melissa to share some up-to date pregnancy resources for military spouses. Enjoy!
Pregnancy is an exciting time full of anticipation for the growing military family. We are fortunate, as military families, to be surrounded by a plethora of resources and support within our own community. In addition to finding great resources, these programs typically provide a forum to meet other growing military families. If you are new to a base and trying to find your tribe definitely, check out some of these amazing events and resources.Pregnant military wives can use these 10 great resources! #pregnant #mom #milspouse Click To Tweet
Planning for a birth is part of my Ultimate Deployment Guide! If you are a military spouse facing deployment, you can grab your copy here so you will know your options and be prepared to give birth during deployment.
Support & pregnancy resources for military spouses
- Operation Homefront’s Star-Spangled Babies Program—Operation Homefront is a huge supporter of growing military families and to show their support they host Star-Spangled Baby Showers at locations throughout the United States. This program is designed to support deployed service members, wounded service members, and other junior and mid-grade service members and their families. The event typically features a luncheon, giveaways and raffles, vendor tables, and goodie baskets or bags.
- USO Baby Showers—The USO is an amazing organization dedicated to serving our military members, veterans, and their families. With many USO locations in the United States and abroad, the availability of this program is astonishing! The goal of this baby shower is not only to shower you with lunch, gifts, and goodies, but also to connect you with other families welcoming a new little one into their arms soon. Every now and then they host dad showers as well—keep your eye out!
- New Parent Support Program—This program provides free services to active duty service members and their families with children expecting their first child, with at least one child under the age of three (Navy, Army, and Air Force) or under the age of five (Marine Corps). The program features parenting basics, resource materials, playgroups, home visiting, and more. You can find out more at your local Family Advocacy Program or Military and Family Support Center.
- The Carrying On Project—This amazing non-profit is a great pregnancy resource for military spouses. It provides baby carriers to United States military families in need. You can apply for yourself or nominate someone you know that could benefit from a donated baby carrier. In addition, the group hosts babywearing groups throughout the US.
- Operation Shower—A wonderful, dedicated organization aiming to ease the stress of deployment by hosting joyful baby showers for military families across the country. They have group baby showers as well as “B is for Baby Box” programs for those unable to attend the group showers.
Find encouraging letters for pregnant military spouses and new moms, as well as inspiring advice for raising military kids in my book, Open When: Letters of Encouragement for Military Spouses, which is now sold on Amazon!
- Operation Showers of Appreciation-This generous non-profit hosts baby showers, baby care packages, a diaper program, and more for enlisted military members, first responders, veterans, reservists, wounded warriors, and their families.
- Stars and Stripes Doulas—The nation’s premier military doula agency focusing their expertise on supporting military families through pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and beyond. The agency currently has chapters in Washington DC, Hampton Roads, New Orleans, and Fort Riley, KS. They are expanding and growing frequently and pride themselves in hiring military veterans and spouses just like you! In addition, they have a generous Wounded Warrior/Gold Star Family Fund and participate in Operation Special Delivery.
- Budget for Baby—The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society hosts a great program for Navy and Marine Corps families to share information regarding the financial impact a new baby has on the family and the best practices to save money. In addition, you will meet other families and receive a Junior Sea Bag with layette items like crib sheets, onesies, and handmade baby blankets.
- Free Breast Pump—Tricare now provides a hospital grade, electric breast pump to new Tricare-eligible families. This is one of the newest pregnancy resources for military spouses! You must receive a prescription from your OB/GYN, midwife, physician, or nurse practitioner. You may order online through an authorized provider or check your local DME. Many DME’s provide supplies such as tubing, storage bags, and bottles on a monthly basis.
- Postpartum Support—If you are struggling with anxiety, depression, or another perinatal mood or anxiety disorder, you are not alone. There is hope and there is help. Postpartum Support International’s military program is designed to provide you support and resources during your time of need. The first step is reaching out and once you make that brave decision, the help you’re looking for us waiting.
We hope you enjoy these resources. If you know of additional resources that military families either locally or at other installations will benefit from during pregnancy or as a new parent, please share!