Celebrating new mothers

Venice Family Clinic’s baby showers offer fun in a social setting while providing health education and gifts for baby and mom to take home

“Remember to breathe. You’re sharing the same air as your baby.”

Sylvia Perez, a prenatal educator at Venice Family Clinic, led a group of 26 pregnant women and their guests through some easy breathing and stretching exercises to de-stress before diving into a fun and educational baby shower at the Irma Colen Health Center in Mar Vista. Held once a month at multiple Venice Family Clinic sites, our group baby showers include health education in both English and Spanish, as well as traditional party activities and giveaways.

“It’s really hard to be a mom. You have so many responsibilities. You may feel big, but you’re beautiful. You’re vibrant. You’re special. You have so much love to give, but you have to love yourself,” Perez said as she addressed the event’s attendees. “There’s no manual – it’s a learning curve. That’s why we have classes. But we can also learn from each other.”

There were expectant mothers who attended with family members and some with their other children. Some came with their partners, and some came alone. One woman was scheduled to be induced the next day and treated the event as a kind of last hurrah. She would name the child Emmanuel, she said.

Veronica Trujillo, a 38-year-old patient of nearly five years, said she enjoys the Clinic’s baby showers because she doesn’t have any family members who live locally. Originally from Sinaloa, Mexico, Trujillo has lived near the Colen Health Center for 20 years and began receiving primary care from the Clinic when she was pregnant with her daughter, who is now 4.

“I like how I can talk to other women and share, and have open communication and dialogue with them. I feel comfortable with them, and I’m glad I could bring my other children as well, that it’s not just for pregnant women,” said Trujillo, who also noted how helpful the donated gifts were.

Attendees learned about baby and mother dental care from Venice Family Clinic dental hygienists Rainy Sawicki and Reyna Castellanos. They shared how women are more susceptible to dental problems when they’re pregnant, and that it is safe to receive dental treatment when expecting. They also explained why it’s important to clean a baby’s mouth, tongue, and gums even before teeth emerge because baby teeth are crucial to speech development.

Community partners, including the Los Angeles Public Library, California Hospital, and WIC, presented useful information on how to maximize the resources available to them. The library also gifted diaper bags – and books, of course – to the new mothers.

After the educational portion of the program, it was time for food, games, raffles, and giveaways. Thanks to generous donations from companies and individuals including Baby2Baby and The Honest Company, the expectant moms took home practical and fun gifts, including baby and women’s clothes, toys, diaper pails, baby monitors, beauty products, bottle sets, and more.

“You mean the world to us,” Perez said. “We want to make sure you know that by celebrating you.”