USO Vicenza Showers New Mothers with Gifts, Guests, and Games

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Heidi Murkoff, best-selling author of the "What to Expect" series visits expecting mothers in the Vicenza community.

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CASERMA EDERLE — Becoming a new mother can be challenging, especially if she is far from family and friends. And living in a foreign country. And married to a Soldier who is regularly deployed. Because military spouses deal with these challenges on a regular basis, the Vicenza USO decided to hold a baby shower here for 50 new and expectant mothers March 20. They even invited a special guest speaker, Heidi Murkoff. Murkoff is the author of the best-selling series of books, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” Through a program organized by the USO, Murkoff travels to military bases around the world to hold events like this for women about to embark on the challenge of motherhood. The writer said each baby shower she hosts is more than just a bunch of gifts and games. She says the bonds the mothers form with each other are what these events are really about. “Just to make those connections is so vital,” she said. “You might feel very isolated to begin with, because you just moved somewhere, and then you feel isolated as a new mom. It’s hard to get out of the house. “(It’s important) just knowing that you’re not alone, just knowing there’s a whole bunch of moms out there who can give you insights. You can learn from each other and vent with each other, especially when their partner is deployed, (it’s nice) to have that backup.” Vicenza USO center manager, Lisa Wease, says events like this one are the USO’s way to show Army spouses they’re appreciated and supported. She says it’s especially important because many of these women wouldn’t be able to have a traditional baby shower. “They’re overseas in Italy, so they may not get that experience because their family is so far away,” Wease said. “So we really wanted to make it special for them, an event that they would remember. And they get to meet Heidi Murkoff; what’s better than that?” Lauren Pease, a military spouse expecting her first child in September, admits that she was a bit starstruck at meeting the famous author. She was also very appreciative of the USO holding this event. “It shows that they care about us, and that they’re putting in that extra effort,” she said. “(The USO is) saying hey, you’re not alone, even though your family is way over on the other side of the earth. Just bringing all of us together for a fun event like this is very welcoming.” For Murkoff, traveling around the world to support military mothers is a no-brainer. “I’m always in awe, I’m inspired by them,” she said, “because I’m not sure I could do it. “Being so far away from home, on your own a lot of the time, having a partner who’s deployed, and (yet) somehow managing not only to get through but to do it well, and to survive and thrive. I think it’s an inspiration.” Wease says this will hopefully be a recurring event in Vicenza. “It’s a great event, we hope to do it again,” she said. “Look for it in the future.”

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