Oh Baby, Expecting Military Spouses At Fort Bragg Enjoy Special Delivery, Connection Through The USO
The birth of a child is typically a joyous occasion when family and friends gather together to support mothers and fathers-to-be as they celebrate and navigate their changing family dynamics. However, military parents can experience this time in their lives far away from their homes and traditional networks of support.
This is where the USO steps in to deliver on its mission of strengthening through connection. Since 2013, the USO has been hosting Special Delivery baby showers for new military parents and parents-to-be around the globe. Special Delivery celebrates, educates, and connects new and expectant parents who are often stationed far from their families, friends, and support networks during their pregnancies.
USO North Carolina recently hosted over 40 mothers-to-be, many with babies already in tow, at the USO center on Fort Bragg, Feb. 25, 2023. The event included games, lunch, gifts and valuable and insightful resources shared by local installation partners, such as the Armed Services YMCA, Fort Bragg Army Community Services, and the Cumberland County Department of Public Health, who were in attendance.
The day was filled with laughter from both the moms and babies, and served as a way to build friendships, share knowledge, and be pampered with lunch and gifts.
Since its launch, the USO Special Delivery program has supported more than 15,000 new and expectant service members and military spouse parents across the globe, many of whom had to experience their pregnancy and the birth of their child while their spouse was deployed or away at training.
For Stacey Dyadushenko whose husband was one of the first soldiers to deploy as part of the rapid deployment of forces from Fort Bragg to Eastern Europe last February, the USO has helped her stay connected with the local community.
“The USO has helped me connect with and build a sense of community with other military spouses here in the Fort Bragg area who are going through some of the same challenges I am,” said Dyadushenko, mother of two and step-mother to two other children and is due to give birth to her third child in June. “Sometimes you feel you don’t have the resources you need, but that’s where the USO really comes in to help and support us through programs like this.”
Dyadushenko who attended the Special Delivery event at Fort Bragg noted that the USO not only provides comfort for her, but for her husband too, who is currently away for training at an undisclosed location, as he prepares to deploy again in the not-so-distant future.
“My husband can focus on his training, knowing that I am not alone – because he knows the USO is right here with me,” said Dyadushenko.
Similar to Dyadushenko, other spouses in attendance shared related stories of having their loved one deployed or away at training during their pregnancy.
Bharpreet Paredes who also enjoyed the Special Delivery event, gave birth to her youngest child while her husband was at away at Advanced Individual Training (AIT), so it was a challenge having him gone for so long, especially during the birth of their little girl.
Paredes’ family lives in California so it’s not easy for her family to be close by all the time, to support her at moment’s notice. However, when she is able to travel home to visit with her family, the USO Airports centers have been a true blessing for her.
“The USO Centers in the airports are amazing.” said Paredes. “Being able to sit in a chair in a private safe space and nurse my little girl and having the support from the USO volunteers working that day making sure I was ok and that I had everyone I needed, made me feel like family.”
Rachal Taylor, Center Programs Manager for the USO center at Fort Bragg, who planned the event knows firsthand the challenges expecting military spouses experience, which is why the USO’s Special Delivery is an important program for her, one that she is truly passionate about.
“As a military spouse, I moved to Fort Bragg with my husband, and I was 30 weeks pregnant and he immediately left thereafter for training,” said Taylor. “While he was away I attended a USO baby shower, and I felt so welcomed, the USO showed me compassion and empathy, and connected me to fellow spouses that I otherwise wouldn’t have met.”
And from that moment on, Taylor started her volunteer process and is now proudly serving as a USO employee since 2017.
Of course, the USO Special Delivery event would not have been possible without the support from our caring and compassionate USO volunteers. Ten dedicated USO volunteers, devoted over 60 volunteers hours collectively, in orchestrating this event and ensured the attending military spouses all had a wonderful time.
“It was such a fabulous event – all the moms had so much fun,” said Shauna Johnson, a USO Volunteer of over 10 years. “Quite honestly, I think all of us volunteers had just as much fun, and it brings us all such great joy to be able to support our young military families.”
Special Delivery continues to fill a meaningful connection void for new moms and dads stationed throughout the globe, and provides them with the support and meaningful connections that every parent deserves as they prepare for the birth of their child.
To learn more about upcoming events or programs in your area, please visit your local USO’s website or official social media channels.
To learn how you can contribute to the USO’s mission as a USO volunteer please visit volunteers.uso.org.
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