the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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The White House
Office of the First Lady
For Immediate Release

Remarks by the First Lady and Dr. Biden during Operation Shower Drop By

Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

10:51 A.M. EDT

DR. BIDEN:  Hello.  I’m Jill Biden, and -- gosh, thanks for inviting us here today.  We’re so excited.  And thank you to Martha Stewart. Gosh, she’s done a great job.  (Applause.)  And thank you to the ladies who are in charge of Operation Shower.  They’ve done a great job.

I’ve been involved -- Michelle and I have our new Joining Forces that we’re traveling around the country.  And this is so exciting for us because this is exactly what we hope that other communities will do for military families.  And actually in the state of Delaware where I’m from, we actually did a shower for a military family -- not with Martha Stewart, of course -- (laughter) -- but anyway, it’s just so great to be here.

I am a mom.  I have three children.  I have five grandchildren, starting from 17 down to age five.  So congratulations to all you moms-to-be. 

And now I'd like to introduce one of my favorite moms, Michelle Obama.  (Applause.) 

MRS. OBAMA:  Wow.  So are you all having fun?  Is this fun?  Have you gotten into the fun part of it?

So how many of you are first-time moms?  Oh, so most of you are.  That's very -- you know, just thinking back on -- you know, my youngest is nine, will be 10.  I enjoyed my pregnancy.  I enjoyed every minute of it.  And I hope you all are enjoying every minute of it.

And I know that it helps to know that you’ve got some support.  I mean, as a new mom, there are just an array of things that run through your head:  What's this kid going to be like?  Will I get my shape back?  Will I ever sleep again?  What's a onesie? How does it work?

And it’s nice to have a supportive community around you, especially new moms; to have other moms who have been there, because we all get through it.  They don't break.  (Laughter.)  I’ve come to know that babies are really resilient.  But it always helps to have a community around you.

And this event, Operation Shower, is one of the ways that communities can really gather around new moms, or even second- and third-time moms who are expecting.  I mean, what we want to tell the country is, you know, imagine that you’re a new mom and your husband is deployed, and maybe you’re alone because you’re in a new community, and you’re not near your own mom, or your sisters, or that support group.  I mean, just imagine all the anxiety that comes with pregnancy -- and many of you may be newly married, or new relationships.  Who knows?  It’s all kinds of things.

And that's one of the things that most Americans don't realize, is that you guys have to do this alone sometimes, and you’re doing it not knowing whether your spouse is okay, or will be okay, which adds to the stress.  It adds to the pressure.

So it’s events like these that gets you to shake it off and forget all that worrisome stuff.  And it reminds you that you’re not alone; that there's a whole community. 

And through Joining Forces we hope there will be a whole country that will be around you just not during this time when you’re expecting but in the years to come when you’re worrying about where to put your child in school, and how do you handle that third transfer, and what do you do about college, how can you afford college, and how are you going to get your own education.

That's what Joining Forces is all about.  It’s asking every sector of this society to step up and support you all, because you all are serving in your own way.  And the children that will be born will be serving, too.  They’re serving right now this country, because if they’re born healthy and happy, their dads who are deployed are going to be able to focus on their mission and do a better job, because they know their families are safe.

So we want to ask the rest of the nation to look at this.  This is a fun way to give back.  And we did this at the White House.  We brought you guys White House onesies and blankets.  We took up a drive.  We had boxes all over the West Wing and the East Wing.  People wrote checks.  We brought -- I mean, this was fun.  And any business, any community, any school can do this for a military family, for an expectant mom.  All you have to do is find them.  And all you all have to do is ask and reach out.

And we’re going to be making it easier for people around the country to connect.  We’ve got a new website, joiningforces.gov, where people can get online, find out what's going on in their own communities, learn more about Operation Shower and how to get involved, and how to do something like this in their own communities.

So I want to thank you, ladies, for holding it together, because you all look great.  You all look pretty doggone good.  And we’re just so proud of you all.  Proud of you all, proud of you for holding it together while your man is doing something hard.  (Laughter.)  And there's nothing like having a man that's doing something hard, right, Jill?  (Laughter.)  Sheesh.  (Laughter and applause.)

So with that, we’re going to have each of you come up so we can meet you, take a picture, if you’d like.  And then we’ll do a big group shot.  So we’ll have a class picture.  (Laughter.)

So thank you all.  We’re proud of you.  Thanks so much.

END
10:56 P.M. EDT