A woman tottered down the stairs with one hand on the railing and the other on her bulging belly.
She reached the bottom of the steps and fell in line with the rest of the parents, grandparents and caregivers. She would give birth next week, she told volunteers, and she didn’t have any clothes for her newborn. She asked for an exception — she needed help now even though she technically didn’t have a child yet. Of course, volunteers said. She could pick out clothes from the racks like the other parents.
Impending motherhood brings an array of fears and worries. Will I be a good parent? Will he be happy? Will she be successful? Those are the worries of every parent-to-be. But some have fears the fortunate don’t. This woman, with one hand on her stomach and the other parting tiny clothing on the racks, was worried about finding clothes to dress her baby the first day of its life. Guilt washed over me. At that point, I was three months pregnant. I already bought baby clothes, and loved ones had given us outfits and toys. My life was so different from this woman’s. Our children would be born into different worlds.
Volunteering at Christmas Connection, a nonprofit organization based in south Oklahoma City, opened my eyes to how lucky I am. Christmas Connection gives clothes to parents several times each year, particularly right before school begins. I volunteered at their annual Spring Fling, when parents could choose summer clothes for their families off racks and racks of donated items. I helped parents and grandparents shop. They were all grateful.
I’m sure the caregivers left with many of the same worries they came with, but at least they wouldn’t have to worry about clothes the next day.