Wanted: Expectant parents for Dundee VFW baby shower Jan. 27

There's nothing more exciting or nerve-wracking than preparing for the birth of a baby. Ask any parent. The joy of learning of a pregnancy turns to questions. Then, it turns to a barrage of thoughts and sometimes worries about expenses.

For parents in the military, add the worries of service of duty to conflicts with the responsibilities of parenthood.

Auxiliary members of West Dundee's Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2298 are working to take some of the worries out of soldiers' new parental assignment by hosting a baby shower from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 27, at the First Street post.

Expectant mothers who have served their country, along with fathers-to-be are welcome, said Diane Ahrens, auxiliary president.

"This is the fourth shower we've had," she said. "They have become popular because everyone needs help when planning for a baby's arrival. You'd be surprised how many things there are to think of before the due date."

Of course there is health care for the expectant mothers. If they have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, they can rely on veterans' hospitals for it. Then, there are the expenses of purchasing car seats, cribs, clothing, diapers and baby bath tubs.

Except for diapers, many of those items are covered through the donations of residents and companies.

"I know what it is like," said Ahrens, a former U.S. Marine. "I was in the military. There's a thousand things to worry about, yet we still have to go on with our jobs. We still need diapers and sleepers. Babies go through a lot of diapers, and they can get expensive."

Donations can be dropped off at the VFW Post, 117 S. First St.

This is the fourth annual baby shower auxiliary members have hosted. They are expecting 30 expectant mothers and their husbands to attend. By working with area veterans administration hospitals, auxiliary members obtained the names of the expectant military families and invited them.

There's still room for a few more, she said. The shower is open to expectant women or fathers-to-be who have served.

"The shower is a cooperative effort. We work with the hospitals and VFW posts in Carpentersville, Hampshire, Elgin, McHenry and Lake Villa. Corporate sponsors have also come forward and donated car seats and food that will be served at the shower.

It's nice to see the generosity. It allows the families to know their service is appreciated."

Cards, letters and photographs of the newborns parents send to auxiliary members show them their gratitude does not stop when the shower ends.

"We've had parents who have sent us photos of the babies not only after they were born, but on their first and second birthdays," Ahrens said. "Some of them have even told us when they are expecting their second child."

For more information, call Ahrens at (224) 805-1220.

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