Thursday, April 23, 2009

Baby Showers in Bethlehem?

The gesture of throwing a baby shower for friends or loved ones is a common, and cherished tradition for most Americans -- providing new parents with all the necessities to care for their infant. In the Holy Land, the gesture is difficult to come by for expectant mothers who live in a region that many would consider primitive and impoverished. And for over 200 women each month who overcome curfews, road closures and roadblocks to deliver their babies at Holy Family Hospital of Bethlehem, a baby shower to meet even the most basic needs of their infants is unlikely.

Holy Family Hospital is the only maternity hospital in the West Bank that can handle the complicated medical conditions of women living in extreme poverty and the hospital serves more than 22,000 women and children each year, regardless of ethnicity, creed, or ability to pay. Without the modern state-of-the-art birthing facilities and neonatal intensive care unit for preemies, many of the babies born in the region would die.

As Mother's Day approaches, the U.S. based Foundation which supports the work of the hospital, suggests that families, churches, and schools host baby showers for the mothers of Bethlehem in hopes that all babies in the region will be swaddled, fed and cared for. The Foundation has set up a webpage where all the tools to host a Baby Shower are found, "Individuals can access everything they need to host a baby shower. A Registry, tips for menu and decorations, fact sheet on the hospital, personal stories of mothers in the Holy Land and a short film to share with guests are all available on the website," says Executive Director of the Foundation, Colleen Marotta.
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