MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
In the center of the Marine Corps Exchange, tables were lined up and filled with mothers laughing, eating, socializing and having a great time at the Mothers-to-Bee Social Tuesday.
The goal of the Mothers-to-Bee Social was to provide a little comfort for expecting or new mothers and inform them about what Marine Corps Community Services has to offer, said Lance Lenon, a divisional sales manager for the MCX, and the social’s organizer.
“Out here the women are far away from their families and don’t have a normal social network,” said Terese Westman, the perinatal case manager at the Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital here. “They feel isolated. Spouses can be deployed or involved with heavy training, leaving the mothers to feel like they are going through pregnancy alone.
“There are social events like this to get the girls together and let them know they aren’t alone, and allow them to form friendships,” she added.
MCCS personnel brought in guest speakers to provide information about different parenting and family support programs available at the installation.
Denise Cullum, the family readiness officer for 7th Marine Regiment, said several unit FROs also attend because they play a vital role as the link between Marines’ units and their families. FROs ensure information from the unit commands reaches families, even while their Marines are deployed.
Westman, briefed the women on pregnancy and post-partum health issues and what to expect during their term.
Melissa Dowd, a trainer at the East Gym and Fitness Center here, offered more tips on staying healthy and in shape during and after pregnancy with safe workout routines. She also offered nutritional advice for pregnant women.
The women also learned about many MCCS programs. The Your Cost is Our Cost Program is a nonprofit program which offers merchandise at the same price the MCX paid for it. The Baby and Me Program gives the mother a $10 gift card and discounts to the MCX when she brings her newborn. The Bright Beginnings Program, a childcare program offered on weekdays, was also explained and garnered plenty of interest from attendees.
Other MCCS programs include the New Parenting Support Program, Dad’s Baby Boot Camp for fathers, Mom’s Basic Training and the Exceptional Family Member Program for families with children who have special needs.
The social was very helpful, said Jennifer Billot, a mother who attended the event. “I learned a lot of information I did not know.”
New or expecting mothers are not the only ones who benefit from these services – they are for anyone with a child or who takes care of children, Lenon said.
“This really teaches you how to bring children up. It’s the ABCs of parenting,” he said.
“MCCS has always made it our goal to provide whatever services we can to the active duty family with all of our events,” Stork said. “We want to let them know that we are here for them, we think about them all the time.”
For more information about the programs MCCS offers expectant or new mothers, call 830-6163; the EFMP, call 830-7746, for more information on fitness programs or routines designed for expectant to postpartum mothers, contact the East Gym by calling 830-6440.