When all the plans for the natural, midwife-attended birth of my second child went way south on a weekend car trip, ten hours from home and six weeks early, I was fortunate to be living in a part of the world in which a hospital with a state-of-the-art NICU facility was just an hour further down the highway–with my midwife’s help by cell phone I was able to contact it minutes after my water broke, and was snugly checked in and being introduced to my baby’s neonatologist before my first contraction had begun.
In many parts of our world, my fragile baby would have been born and then would have died for lack of necessary medical care; in one part of the world, you and I as crafters can help these babies live. Amanda Blake Soule, whose blog, SouleMama, is one that I check out nearly every day, and whose book, The Creative Family, taught me how to freezer paper stencil and inspired the dress-up area I built for my girls, has started a new Web site, Mama to Mama: Connecting Families through the Gift of Handmade.
Mama to Mama identifies and organizes simple projects that everyday people who enjoy crafting can do to make their world a definitively better place. For instance, the site’s first project, Caps to Cap-Haitien, invites people to sew a simple newborn cap out of T-shirt material. Soule will collect these caps and send them to Konbit Sante to be included in the safe birthing kits given to pregnant women who likely don’t have access to running water, much less intensive medical care.
Caps are useful for all newborn babies, but are particularly crucial for the often low-birthweight, malnourished, or premature babies of Cap-Haitien; although all newborns would rather use their precious calories for growing instead of maintaining their own body temperatures, this added measure of warmth to cover their heads could make a life-or-death difference to fragile or otherwise medically compromised babies.
As I sewed up some simple little newborn caps, similar to SouleMama’s pattern, to send to the project, my girls zooming matchbox racecars around my work area, I thought happy thoughts about the sweet little baby heads and tiny little baby ears that my caps will someday cover. And for each little candy-colored cap that I sewed for a newborn babe over in Cap-Haitien, I sewed a matching big-girl one for my own two babes, so that when I look at them wearing them I can remember to be grateful.
What are your ideas for crafting the world a better place?