Support for moms to be

Volunteers organize drive to collect funds and goods for expecting mothers whose husbands are away serving their country.

April 15, 2008|By Chris Caesar

So far, Digna Hernandez says the third trimester of her pregnancy has been her hardest.

Of course, most women enduring the trials of childbirth would agree, but Hernandez has undergone a particularly harrowing struggle — her husband was redeployed in Iraq in February, smack in the middle of her pregnancy’s seventh month.

“Just walking upstairs, I get tired,” she said. “I’m in my 37th week, and even just driving to a doctor’s appointment is difficult.”


Hernandez says although her husband tries to call about once a week, she can’t help missing him and the support he provided during the more difficult moments of her pregnancy.

A few local Newport-Mesa volunteers, however, have sought to fill that role, organizing what they call “Operation Showers of Appreciation” — an event providing expectant military mothers with a baby shower with other mothers in the same boat.

Last year, the group raised more than $30,000 in cash alone for 28 mothers, as well as cribs, toys and other necessities to help these military mothers stay on their feet, Chairwoman Margie Jones said.

This year, the group needs Target or Wal-Mart gift cards, cribs, toys and corporate sponsors for 14 military moms — one of whom is expecting triplets.

Volunteers can also help wrap presents, from Monday to April 25, she said.

“These girls are just overwhelmed — being pregnant, away from your hometown, you can’t even have a shower with your girlfriends or your parents, and then to have your husband in Iraq while you are having your baby,” volunteer Sandee Soule said. “It’s just not a very good thing.”

This year’s event will be at 3 p.m. April 26 in the South Shores Church, 32712 Crown Valley Parkway, Monarch Beach.

Hernandez said she was very excited to attend the event.

“The support has been overwhelming,” she Hernandez said. “It just makes me grateful to be a part of it. I’d say it’s an experience that will stay with me forever.”

Those interested in donating to or volunteering with “Operation Showers of Appreciation” can e-mail or call Kimberly Felshaw at (949) 547-7780.

CHRIS CAESAR may be reached at (714) 966-4626 or at

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