For many current first-time parents, not only have they brought new life into the world during a pandemic, but they have also gone through most of their pregnancy in isolation. Except for the occasional doctors’ appointments or trips to the supermarket, the extra love, attention and perhaps unsolicited advice that typically comes with a baby bump is now on the list of items to grieve for expecting parents. In some cases, co-workers were never even aware of pregnancies since Zoom meetings focus on the shoulders and above.
Since March, when the pandemic necessitated strict social distance guidelines, CJP’s Welcome Baby! program went virtual. Pre-COVID, the program included a personal visit with the delivery of a gift tote and continued with in-person Welcome Baby! meetups hosted by our partner organizations. Now? The Welcome Baby! program includes a virtual visit with the gift tote being mailed. And what happened to the meetups? Welcome Baby! From Home was born!
Groups of parents with babies 0-12 months have been meeting weekly to build community and make connections with others going through the same life stage. These groups have created friendships that have resulted in social-distanced walks, gatherings in backyards and middle-of-the-night conversations. Just last week, these families gathered for their own Hanukkah celebration.
During a time when we could easily focus on all that is lost, we find light in what we have found—new friendships and community. CJP is committed to helping growing families find connection and meaning during this time. The next Welcome Baby! From Home sessions will begin in January.