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New Mothers Luncheon: Connections of the Heart
September 7, 2013
By: Emily DuBois
Motherhood is an exciting time in any woman’s life, but it is also often an intimidating experience for first time moms. Between the host of prenatal health advice, regular check-ups, family and friends’ concerns, and preparing space for baby at home there are a multitude of things on any expectant mother’s mind.
Now toss in the unexpected news that your baby will be born with Down syndrome. A million questions come rushing to mind. What does that mean? Will my baby be healthy? What special needs should I know about? Can they go to a regular school? Can they live a normal, happy life? Will the world accept them?
Enter the New Mothers Luncheon, an event designed for expectant and new moms to meet, swap stories, and share concerns, obstacles, hopes, and dreams for their babies. The 2013 New Mothers Luncheon, hosted by the Pujols Family Foundation and the Down Syndrome Association of Greater St. Louis, took place on Saturday, September 7th at J. Gilbert’s Wood-Fired Steaks in West County.
Over 40 new and expectant mothers, along with many of their precious babies, joined us for an afternoon full of camaraderie, faith, friendly conversation, encouragement, and (of course) a delicious meal from J. Gilbert’s.
As moms entered the restaurant, they were able to drop their little ones off with a number of wonderful volunteers who entertained the babies throughout the afternoon. The main dining area, which was closed to the public, was the center of all the excitement and chatter. Mothers shared birth stories, described the medical challenges their babies encountered, and recounted the joys of watching their babies learn and grow.
After lunch was served, our keynote speaker Deidre Pujols addressed this exceptional group of new mothers. To say she delivered a speech would be an inadequate statement. Deidre spoke from the heart to this group of mothers, sharing everything from her experiences with her daughter Bella and navigating the various stages of raising a child with Down syndrome to her deep faith in Christ and the highs and lows of marriage. As Deidre emotionally recalled the birth of Bella and her own fears, mothers wiped away tears of their own as they realized just how united they were with everyone else in the room.
As the event wrapped up, mothers brought their little ones out and exchanged contact information along with many hugs. Each mom was given a gift bag with various baby items including a baby blanket made by adults with Down syndrome from the High 5 group, a children’s book, and a teddy bear from Build-A-Bear Workshop. Moms also received a new autumn candle from Yankee Candle and Harry & David Moose Munch and chocolate truffles.
The New Mothers Luncheon is an essential piece of the Foundation’s work, and as we said goodbye to these new moms it was clear just how much they treasure this opportunity. They were able to connect with other mothers and share in the joys and excitement of their beautiful new babies. Even though these mothers were only together for a couple of hours, the bonds that were made will last a lifetime.
We would like to extend a very special thank you to everyone that made the New Mothers Luncheon a success: Down Syndrome Association of Greater St. Louis, J. Gilbert’s Wood-Fired Steaks, Build-a-Bear Workshop, Harry & David, Yankee Candle Company, the High 5 group and all of our wonderful volunteers.