By STEVEN NALLEY
For a few hours on Saturday morning, new mothers were able to get away from their many duties and enjoy food, exercise, consulting and pampering at Emerson Family School’s “Pamper Me” program.
Designed for mothers of infants under 1 year old, “Pamper Me” was a joint effort between Emerson, Project TAB and Excel By 5, funded by the Mississippi Department of Human Services and Kiwanis International. Barbara Brown, specialist in charge of “Pamper Me,” said there were 15 people at “Pamper Me” all together, but only six guests were in attendance, and the rest were present as volunteers. She said she hopes for the event to become annual and build more attention next year.
“It went really well,” Brown said. “I was a little disappointed at the turnout, but I think if more people know, we’ll get a better response, especially when the word gets out how great this was.”
Early in the program, each of the mothers and facilitators introduced themselves to group, discussing the joys and challenges of motherhood. One of the guests, Kacie Babiarz, said her favorite part of being pregnant was feeling her baby, Addie Babiarz, kick. Kacie said she will also never forget the moment she first held Addie.
“As soon as she was born, they put her on my chest, and she just stared at me,” Kacie said. “She just stared at her mama and held onto my finger.”
Another guest, Monika Pandya, said she enjoyed her whole pregnancy, but being originally from India, she has had to learn to be a mother at a distance from her own parents. She said she has made several friends in America who have helped her adapt, and her child’s happiness makes it all worth it.
“Every day I learn something new, and I enjoy those things,” Monica said. “Sometimes, I am worried, but when (my baby) smiles, I forget everything.”
One of the facilitators, La Leche League Leader Becky Campeau, said there is no single approach that works for all mothers. She said pregnancy, childbirth and raising children is a learning process for everyone in any given family.
“One of my favorite things about mothering and being a mother is it’s really allowed me to grow into myself and to provide that to my boys,” Campeau said. “It’s an amazing, fleeting, wonderful time. I wish I could slow down time and be there for every second twice.
Mothers in attendance were able to enjoy a yoga class from Neva McMinn and a dance class from KMG Creations’ Kayla Gilmore. Several facilitators also gave cooking demonstrations on fruit salad, vegetable dip, peanut butter energy snacks and other healthy foods. Brown said such health boosters are key for young mothers.
“As a mother, it’s important that you nurture yourself,” Brown said. “We’re talking about nutrition and exercise because those are stress reducers.”
Guests also received hand treatments using Arbonne products, and Mindy Sanders, a sales representative with Arbonne, discussed the products with the guests early in the program. She said Arbonne is not only a good product for mothers, but selling their products is also a good job for mothers.
“The reason I started doing Arbonne is so I could be home with my babies more,” Sanders said. “What I was doing was not working for my family. I needed to get out of my little box and speak in front of people, and it hasn’t killed me yet. The products are wonderful, but the business has changed my life.”
Excel By 5 Oktibbeha County Coalition representative Ellen Goodman said the event pushed Oktibbeha County closer to achieving Excel By 5 certification by better preparing the county’s children for kindergarten.
“We have a certain number of community events we are required to have,” Goodman said. “We are two indicators away from meeting that, and we are hoping to meet that this fall. Our next community-wide event will be Saturday, July 28 at the (Starkvillle) Sportsplex, and that is our health fair.”