Adventist HealthCare loves mothers! For one thing, they are among our best customers. We had 7,013 babies born in our hospitals last year—and every one of them came with a mother. No exceptions. We love moms and we love babies.

small_mothersday2014That’s why when Shady Grove Adventist Hospital received recognition recently as the first hospital in Maryland and one of only 177 hospitals in the United States to achieve Baby-Friendly designation through the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), we were understandably proud. The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is a global program that encourages and recognizes hospitals that offer an optimal level of care for infant feeding. Breastfeeding is one of the most effective preventive health measures for both infants and mothers—so the BFHI is an indication that we are providing excellent care for the two groups that are on the two ends of the big celebration this weekend: Mother’s Day. (Good timing, Birth Center team!) Helping those little ones and their moms and dads live healthy lives is what we are all about—especially on Mother’s Day.

One of the Adventist HealthCare stories I’m most proud of is how Dr. Lauretta Kress, the first woman physician and surgeon to practice in Montgomery County, founded the “Kress Maternity and Children’s Hospital” at the Washington Sanitarium (the original name of Washington Adventist Hospital) back in 1916. Because it was an independent unit with its own physicians and staff—but could also use the services of the rest of the hospital—it really was the forerunner of our modern Birthing Centers. And a clear demonstration that the health of mothers and their newborns has been a part of our mission from the start.

It estimated that 96% of Americans will participate in the Mother’s Day celebration in some way this weekend. Maybe we can get things started a little early with this message of affirmation for all the mothers in our AHC community.

Beginning with the mothers whose adult children make up our workforce, the hundreds on our team who are mothers themselves, and of course the mothers and their children who are among our patients: Happy Mother’s Day to all of you—with all of the goodness and joy that being a mother brings. From all of us at Adventist HealthCare—for whom delighting in the health of mothers is something we do every single day.