Best Beginnings program for moms-to-be, mothers - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Best Beginnings program for moms-to-be, mothers

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WSIL -- Women in Jefferson and Marion counties are spreading the word about a program to help new moms. It's called Best Beginnings and it gives guidance to moms-to-be from before 28 weeks of pregnancy to after their child is two years old.   

Although its been around for 17 years, mothers and coordinators say many families are still unaware of its existence.

 A current program participant is first-time mother Elizabeth Rondeau. Her son, Bryrar, is nine-months old. She was encouraged by WIC to sign up only a few weeks into her pregnancy and was immediately assigned her own personal nurse, who is on-call 24/7. 

"My mom's in California, so this is like the closet thing that I have to a mom here," Rondeau says. "When he was a new born, she showed me how to hold him. How to burp him. How to soothe him down." 

She was also given a doula for labor.  "It made me feel better that I had somebody there who knew what I wanted, who was there just for me," Rondeau explains. 

Becky Crider, who has been a nurse since the program began, says many other services are provided. Those include financial assistance for moms to attain their GED, help applying for daycare assistance and counseling. 

Moms are also given free items like lotion, shampoo and body wash for themselves and their child, and can earn Baby bucks for household needs. 

Crider says a main priority of the staff is making sure mothers always feel comfortable, "It's real important to all of us here that our moms understand that we are here to support them and empower them." 

However, moms like Christina Pearce, who graduated the program, says it's about having someone there for you. "After having two miscarriages, I wanted to give my twins the best chance that I possibly could," she explains. 

Pearce says Crider stood beside her during postpartum depression and even though her twins are now four years old, everyone still keeps in touch. "They become family. They become true family." 

Both Pearce and Rondeau say the program was invaluable to them and hope other first time mothers and families will take advantage. 

Best Beginning has openings for new participants, which are referred from WIC offices in Jefferson and Marion counties. Additional information can be found here

The program is also looking for any donations. 

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