Mothers-to-be honored at tea party

(photo by Roberta R. Barnes)

by Roberta R. Barnes

Even before a baby is born it is best for his or her mother to have every ‘i’ dotted and every ‘t’ crossed. While expecting a new bundle of joy is exciting, unless an expecting or new Mom has supportive relatives or friends close by, she can feel alone. January 2023 the ladies of Sew for a Cause, decided on a way to give support to mothers-to-be, and celebrate the joy of new life in young families.

(photo by Roberta R. Barnes)

Saturday May 4, 2024, was the second ‘Mothers-to-be Tea party’ at the St. Bridget Center in, Vassalboro, hosted by the ladies of Sew for a Cause. These ladies who meet twice a month planned and created a special day. Armed with their personal sewing machines, knitting needles, donated materials, and a lot of passion to help others designed and created the needed and fun things to help mothers, and fathers, with their new babies.

Even though the tea party did not begin until 1 p.m., the ladies hosting began setting up long before noon. By noon one of the Knights of Columbus was already at the parking lot entrance to wave attendees into the parking lot with a smile. Once in the parking lot the scout master of Troop #210, along with one of the boy scouts, was already guiding cars into the best spot to park for all those attending.

The weather on May 4 was good so attendees could pick up their first gifts on the outside walkway to the center’s front doors. On the left side of the walkway was a table of maternity pants in varying sizes. On the right side of the walkway were cozy warm hats handmade by the ladies with the heartfelt intention of keeping little heads warm.

Once inside the doors each mother to be who had registered by April 15 was checked off by one of the ladies at the registration tables and given directions to one of the numbered tables on the two sides of the open room. Each woman when registering was asked her expected due date, so those with similar due dates were seated at the same table.

Babies do not come with instruction manuals or calendars. A few of the mothers-to-be were blessed with their bundles of joy arriving before the expected due days. Those mothers whose babies arrived at a time that allowed them to attend the tea holding their babies were seated together. This seating arrangement gave mothers things in common to talk about. One or two of the ladies hosting the tea party also sat at each table to help as needed.

For the mothers of the babies who arrived too close to May 4 for them to attend gifts were set aside for someone to pick up for them. Not all the tables in the room were for attendees. On tables in the middle of the room, which remained covered until after lunch, sat handcrafted tote bags filled with handcrafted baby quilts, blankets, nursing quilts, changing pads, bibs, and adorable stuffed toys. Each tote bag and the items within it gave off a special glow created by the joy of the lady handcrafting it, and the sponsor who donated the materials.

When it comes to all these handcrafted things there are no shortcuts. Rachel Kilbride, the organizer who, with a smile, kept the events of the tea party flowing smoothly, estimated the ladies had put in over 3,000 volunteer hours. Thinking back to a woman who told me when sewing a free style quilt, it took her six hours to do the wing of one butterfly, that sounds like a low estimate.

Nevertheless, it was easy to see that each of the over 30 ladies hosting the tea party was, and had been, focused on the quality of what she did to help these new moms with their bundles of joy. The hours required to make it happen did not matter.

(photo by Roberta R. Barnes)

The tables at the very back of the room were filled with donated baby needed things that cannot be handmade. All of those, which were raffled off at the end of the tea, reflected the kindness of the business and people who donated them. By the side door there was even a crib that had arrived as a donation the day before the tea party.

The tables at the back of the room in front of those donated items were for healthy luncheon foods and yummy homemade cupcakes and cookies. Once everyone was seated the sandwiches were brought in from the kitchen. As the number for each table was drawn the mothers, and fathers who were able to be there, sitting at that table would have their plates filled with the foods they wanted by the ladies serving from behind the food tables.

After lunch, there were sit-down games for the attendees to play and then the sheets were removed from the tables holding the handcrafted tote bags. As the number for each table was drawn the new mothers could choose which tote bag best matched their baby. All the things within each tote bag reflected the theme of the tote bag.

As you can imagine, there was a lot of activity in the room. All the giggles that came with smiles as things were taken out of tote bags and clapping when names were drawn for the raffled donated baby items created noise.

However, mixed in with all of this was the subtle kindness of all the ladies who volunteered and those people who donated baby items. While the adults might not have noticed that gentle wave, the babies attending seemed to be tuning into the caring that filled the room. As I looked around the room they were either sleeping or smiling. One tiny baby was sleeping peacefully in his father’s arms. One mother I spoke with commented on how good her baby was during the entire event. Another baby in his mom’s arms smiled as he posed for the camera.

None of this could have happened without the kindness of the 50 plus ladies of the Sew for a Cause donating their time and skill, and all the other donations ranging from businesses, organizations, churches to individuals.

(photo by Roberta R. Barnes)


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