How do military members and their spouses know What to Expect When They’re Expecting? They turn to the trusted guide from this year’s Zach and Elizabeth Fisher Humanitarian Award Recipients Heidi and Erik Murkoff who created a special program just for military expectant and new moms.
Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall presented Heidi and Erik Murkoff, founders of the What to Expect Project, with the 2020 Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher Distinguished Civilian Humanitarian Award at a ceremony held in the Pentagon in June.
Heidi is the author of the internationally bestselling What to Expect series of pregnancy and parenting books, which includes What to Expect When You're Expecting, and creator of WhattoExpect.com and the What to Expect app, a community of 20 million moms. Heidi and Erik were nominated by the Department of the Navy for their nine years of advocacy and support of military moms, dads, and families, which began with Special Delivery, which they developed with the What to Expect Project in partnership with the USO.
Since 2013, Heidi and Erik have hosted hundreds of Special Delivery Baby Showers celebrating tens of thousands of military moms, service members, and spouses; Dad Showers celebrating fathers and other partners; and whole-family reunions at bases around the world, from Guam to Germany, Kansas to Alaska. Showers include food, fun, games, and gifts, and each attendee receives a signed copy of a What to Expect book from Heidi, along with lots of hugs. In addition, they visit with staff and new parents at base hospitals. The Murkoffs have spent thousands of hours and donated more than a million dollars to fund travel and provide gifts to show their support and gratitude for service members and their families. They and the What to Expect Project have also brought to members of Congress several pieces of legislation that have been enacted into law to better support military moms and families.
“Being pregnant or becoming a mom is always a heavy lift, but it’s exponentially harder for moms serving for too far from families, friends, and their network of support - sometimes thousands of miles away from home. The service and sacrifice is real, and so is the isolation,” said Heidi. “These moms, whether they’re service members or spouses, having their first baby or their sixth, deserve our support, appreciation, our celebration, and most of all, our love. Literally, they are our heroes, and it’s our greatest honor to have the opportunity to provide as much of that love as we can.”
Each year the Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher Distinguished Civilian Humanitarian Award is given to an individual or organization that demonstrates the qualities of Zach and Elizabeth Fisher including exceptional patriotism, generosity, and selfless dedication to members of the armed forces, or programs that enhance the quality of life for military members and their families. Nominations are submitted through each of the military services at the beginning of the calendar year.
Is someone you know expecting? Learn more at https://www.whattoexpectproject.org/program/special-delivery/