Expectant mothers, left to right, Spc. Sandra Ethridge of the 49th Trans. Bat., Spc. Jessica Cyr of 3rd Eng. Bat., Denise Goodnite who's husband is with the 49th Transp. Bat., and Brittany Zeigler, who's husband is in 1st Cav. Div., attend the Friday, May 9 USO Baby Shower held at Fort Hood.

When Brittany Zeigler told her mother she was pregnant, the first thing her mom did was mail her a copy of the book “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.”

“It’s kind of a staple,” said the Fort Hood military spouse who is 20 weeks pregnant with her first child.

With her mom all the way in Washington state, Zeigler said it can be hard to go through such an important time away from family.

Thanks to the USO and the What To Expect Foundation, Zeigler and about 150 other expectant mothers were able to enjoy one of the more fun aspects of pregnancy — the baby shower.

“My family is out in Alaska and North Dakota, and my husband just left for Germany,” said Spc. Jessica Cyr, of 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. Being around other pregnant women was a great break from her male-dominated work environment.

“It’s nice to be here where I know I’m not by myself,” she said.

Friday’s event was extra special thanks to special guest Heidi Murkoff, author of the best-selling pregnancy book.

“My ‘What To Expect’ book has a bunch of tabs,” Sgt. Kristin Jewell, a 4th Sustainment Brigade soldier 39 weeks pregnant, said with a laugh. Another woman at her table joked the book is far better for understanding pregnancy symptoms than by Googling it.

Murkoff and her foundation began hosting 10 baby showers a year around the globe with the USO about two years ago.

“I sort of knew the challenges these moms face,” the author said of the first time she met expectant moms in the military. Whether active duty or a spouse, she said she’s inspired by “how gracefully these moms are able to face these challenges.”

Now, Murkoff and her husband are completely committed to the cause. At each baby shower, guests get a bag of goodies, a signed copy of one of Murkoff’s books and the chance to win additional prizes through party games.

Not to mention, a question-and-answer session where Murkoff encouraged the soon-to-be-moms to ask anything.

For Murkoff the best part of each baby shower is hugging the mothers.

“Motherhood is the ultimate sisterhood,” she said. These women “wouldn’t normally have anything in common, but the bond we share is being a mom. What’s awesome is bringing these moms together.”

This was the first time for the USO to host a baby shower at Fort Hood, and local director Robin Crouse said it was a perfect fit for the community.

“It’s amazing to be able to celebrate the birth of military children,” Crouse said. “On behalf of a grateful nation, we are there by their side.”

Rose L. Thayer is the military editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. She joined the paper in February 2011 as a health and military reporter. View her complete profile Here. You can contact Rose L. Thayer at rthayer@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.

Rose L. Thayer is the military editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. She joined the paper in February 2011 as a health and military reporter. View her complete profile Here.

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