Baby Shower Mentor  · 

A Refugee Baby Shower saves a baby's life.

It’s First Aid for Moms

Interview by Patty Hales
Edited by Nicole Taylor
Photography by Sherianne Schow
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A volunteer prepares blankets for the Refugee Baby Shower.

Two or three years after I went to a refugee baby shower I was in a bad accident. I got a flat tire and my van flipped over. When the officers came with the ambulance and took me to the hospital, a police officer came to me and said, “I don’t know how you guys are safe.”

I said, “Yes, thanks to God.”

“Say thanks to the law, say thanks to the car seat,” he said.

And I said, “Yes of course thanks to them. And thanks to the people who taught me to use the car seat because that’s what saved my baby.”

The baby shower is first aid for moms, for new moms. And first aid training - I needed a car seat and they taught me how to use it. And that means so much.

I learned about the baby shower six years ago, when I arrived in the US as a refugee. I was pregnant with my baby, and one of the community members came to me and said, “I want to be your mentor and I’m going to register you for a baby shower.”

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Items at the refugee baby shower for the registered moms.

I had no idea what the baby shower was. I said OK because when I got here, I had no job, no money. I was going through financial and family problems and I needed a lot of help. I knew I needed a car seat because in the clinic, my OBGYN told me that the first thing that I needed to take care of was getting a car seat. She said I couldn’t take my baby home without a car seat. And that was heavy on my mind because of course I did not have the money to buy a car seat. I tried to save from the money that I had, but I was worried.

My mentor was so nice and gave me a ride to the shower. I did not have a car. Once I got there, it was all a surprise. I had no idea what to expect. First, I went through trainings, like birth control training, feeding training, car seat training, and much more.

Then, around 11:30 or 12:30, the free store opened and I got a lot of stuff from the free store. But my mentor came to me and said, “Look, you can get whatever you want, but you have a lot more in the car.” I didn’t know what she was saying. I didn’t know about all the other stuff. At the end of the day when I went to the car, the car was full and there was like, a small space that just one person could fit in. I got everything that I needed, including a car seat, a stroller, and a crib.

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Items at the Refugee Baby Shower “store”

That was a difficult time. I was a refugee, a single mom, without access to a job, I got a kit that had all this stuff from thermometers, to diaper cream and ….everything for the kid. I was pleased, so pleased and so grateful. For a whole year I did not have to buy anything, even diapers from size newborn to size five and even some of them were size 2T and 3T. I was surprised. That’s my really beautiful experience.

It means a lot when you have a baby to support, and you don’t have to pay for supplies. The whole year you’re not thinking about finding money to buy stuff you really need.

It’s been six years and I still think about the baby shower. Every time I pray, I pray for everybody who participated for that baby shower, the donors, the mentors, whoever came together to put this baby shower together. After that year, I try to go to every baby shower. I mentor, volunteer, or do something to feel happy - like register a mom.

This year, I have six or seven mothers that I'm there to mentor. I'm so proud. I know all of them will get the stuff they need for one year. I’m not able to provide that financially, so I give my time.

At the very least I tell people about it.

As a mentor it’s my responsibility to be with the mom the whole time that mom is here. If some moms don’t have a car, I give them a ride. If the mom doesn’t speak the language, I translate.

I tell them they will get stuff that you need, but also you will learn things that you don’t even know about. And that’s really important that you have information. For example, the car seat class. childbirth, and the birth control classes. They are so excited. And this time we even had financial and woman empowerment training tools and I see that’s really important for women to know.

I feel empowered financially. I feel empowered in my whole life. A refugee comes from a lot of trauma. We need a lot of help, emotional help. I got emotional help here too. I saw other strong moms here and I saw we were OK. I still miss my mentors, those people who helped me six years ago. They gave me happiness and said they knew I would be good - they told me I would get to where I am now.

We are still in touch. They text me, “Oh you can do it.” They found jobs for me. The first car I got was a donation. When I took out a loan for my house, they helped me move. I am so blessed to have those people around me.

I came as a refugee. Now I’m graduating with a Bachelor degree in psychology.

I came with no money. And now I own my house.

I have a good family.

And a lot of the people that helped me were nonprofit organizations like the baby shower. They helped me save 1000s of dollars for a year. Those are the things that saved me then and empower me today.

It’s not possible for one person or even a family to thrive without support from the community.

To support the Refugee Baby shower please visit Gathering Humanity for lists of needed items or to sign up to be a mentor.

Gathering Humanity

To read more about the bi-annual refugee baby shower read our other story.

A Bi-Annual Baby Shower for Refugees
Informed Consent

Our team members obtain informed consent from each individual before an interview takes place. Individuals dictate where their stories may be shared and what personal information they wish to keep private. In situations where the individual is at risk and/or wishes to remain anonymous, alias names are used and other identifying information is removed from interviews immediately after they are received by TSOS. We have also committed not to use refugee images or stories for fundraising purposes without explicit permission. Our top priority is to protect and honor the wishes of our interview subjects.

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