National “baby showers” draw attention to child health crisis

Women across the country are raising awareness about preventable child deaths by hosting symbolic “baby showers.”

By Christina Bradic. Edited by Cat-Dan Lai-Smith.
Published January 26, 2012 at 12:00am PST

Traditionally, a baby shower is a celebration of impending motherhood and an expected child. Friends and families “shower” gifts on the mother-to-be. 

However, millions of mothers around the world do not have access to basic health care, clean water, and nutritious food. When an expectant mother doesn’t even have a midwife or doctor, baby accessories are not a priority.

Tragically, each day more than 20,000 children die before their fifth birthdays because mother and baby do not receive the care the need. Equally tragic is the fact that very few Americans realize this.

“Baby showers” shine light on preventable child deaths

To increase awareness of this daily tragedy, women across the country highlighted these preventable child deaths by hosting symbolic “baby showers.” Women of Vision chapters hosted these gatherings as part of World Vision’s participation in ABC’s Million Mom Challenge

A Baby Shower for Every Mother celebrates mothers around the world as women come together to learn, advocate, and pray.

Celebrating motherhood with and educational twist

A Baby Shower for Every Mother starts with a kit from Women of Vision containing everything necessary to host the shower: games, child and mother health facts, photos, and materials to craft personalized, creative, requests for legislators.  

As guests arrive, they receive photos and stories of mothers and play shower games with an educational twist. 

Says Angie Nolting, who recently attended a shower in Bremerton, Washington, “The evening was educational, spiritual, and stirring and we couldn’t help but leave changed.”  

Empowering women to speak out for mothers everywhere

Shower attendees also assemble an advocacy “gift box” that includes items an expectant mother in a developing country might need for a healthy birth, such as transportation funds to get to a clinic, or a mosquito net to prevent malaria. With the items come cards that explain why the item is significant and how U.S. foreign assistance makes an impact.

The gift also contains a shovel, highlighting the tragic reality that each year nearly 8 million mothers must bury their child before his or her fifth birthday.

The box is then personalized with a message for each legislator and sent to his or her office. The message is simple: Foreign assistances saves lives.

Says Esther Groth, a baby shower hostess from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, “The baby shower took people who were on the outside, who cared, but didn’t even know how they would begin to write a letter to, or call their senator, and made them leave feeling empowered … like they could make a difference.”

Four ways to make a difference

Pray for mothers and children who do not have access to basic healthcare, clean water, or nutritious food. Pray that countries and communities with the power to act and save lives would do so.

Host a Baby Shower for Every Mother. Simply call the Women of Vision Helpdesk at 1-877-968-4968 to receive everything you need to host your own shower. (You do not need to be a partner.)  You will also receive help personalizing the message to your legislators. A kit will be mailed to you that will include everything you need. 

Attend the Women of Vision National Conference, taking place in Washington, D.C., March 4-6. Come learn about and confront issues of injustice, poverty, and exploitation with other women from across the country.

Sponsor an infant or toddler. For about $1 a day, you'll help provide children in need with access to life-saving basics like, clean water, nutritious food, healthcare, education, and more.