Health department helps prep women for motherhood

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First-ever community baby shower deemed a success

By Shelley Spillman

The Anderson County Health Department hosted the first ever community baby shower Thursday evening.


Around 20 expecting mother registered for the shower, and there were several vendors who donated prizes and setup booths with informative material.

The baby shower was part of the Health Access Nurturing Development Services (HANDS) division of the Anderson County Health Department, which is a voluntary home visitation program for all first time parents. Parents can sign up for the services during pregnancy or anytime before a child is 3 months old.

“There are so many local resources out there that moms are not aware of,” said Amanda Blair, HANDS supervisor. “We just wanted to do something for the moms in the community.”

The HANDS motto is “every parent needs a second pair of hands.” HANDS supports parents through a variety of services, but Blair said mostly, parents just appreciate having someone to talk to that won’t judge them.

Some of the vendors included Pangemanan Chiropractic, Humana CareSource, Avenues for Women, the Anderson County Family Resource Youth Services Centers and Anderson Community Education.

“We exist for the community. This is the perfect place for us to connect,” said Julie Dodson, counselor at Avenues for Women in Frankfort.

Avenues for Women have a mission of empowering individuals to make healthy choices about their lifestyles and pregnancy-related issues. They offer a variety of confidential and free services including a Mentoring Moms program taught by professionals and childcare advocates to assist in developing parenting skills and a 24/7 hotline.

Dodson said she recognizes that first-time moms are oftentimes overwhelmed and need someone to come alongside them and help. She said this is precisely what Avenues for Women attempts to do, providing support for expecting mothers in the community.

Heather Drury, mother of 5-month-old Hunter, said she wishes she knew about the community resources when she first became pregnant. Drury said she thought the baby shower was a great event and hopes it continues in the future.

Though motherhood can be exhausting, Drury said it’s all worth it when you see your child’s first smile or hear their first laugh.

“It’s an awesome feeling,” she said.

Blair said she felt like the baby shower was a success.

“It was a great way to pull together all the community resources in one place,” she said.

Blair said she was grateful for all the vendors, community involvement and donations from several local companies including Walmart.

“We’d love to do this annually. We hope participation continues to grow,” Blair said.