I met a 16 year old new mother at the hospital a few weeks ago. She was about to be discharged. It was one of those cold days. I asked her who was going to help her get home, her boyfriend…no; her mother….no. Her friend was coming to get her, and we saw her waiting in the passage with a little bundle of clothes. I cannot get this image out of my mind: two 16 year old girls, a newborn, making their way home on a taxi. Where is “home”? Who will help them? Who will show them how to rock a newborn to sleep, to burp it, to feed this fragile little life. How do the girls themselves get money for food, etc? I was glad she had a friend. This is what a vulnerable mom looks like.
Through the Baby Box visits to the hospitals we’ve also met the mom who thought she was in menopause, only to be surprised and overjoyed at the birth of her little girl, after a 20 year age gap. And the older mom of four children, who was advised to abort this baby, yet steadfastly believed that God would make a way and went through with her pregnancy. The tearful mom of a premature baby, fighting for his life in an incubator. The mom surprised by unexpected twins. The mom who didn’t want to be discharged, because she felt so warm and safe in the hospital. We get to encourage, pray and impart hope to all these women who find themselves in such a vulnerable place. We get to hand over a “baby box”, a hamper filled with new clothes and a blanket, and some essential toiletries. We sometimes get to cuddle a fresh little life.
We see the tears of gratitude. We’ve met moms who’ve had not a stitch of clothing to take their baby home in. God knows, and He cares.
Over these winter months God has provided miraculously so that we’ve been able to exceed our normal hospital visits. As we get, so we can give out. Last week we put in an extra visit to a hospital on the East rand. As we returned, we found an email from a company notifying us of donations, replacing the exact amount of baby boxes that we had just given out! For our Mandela day delivery, we were able to make up more than 67 baby boxes, each one containing a little knitted jersey with booties and a beanie. We received an amazing donation from an individual lady who had crocheted 67 baby blankets, 67 baby beanies, and 67 matching sets of scarves and beanies for the moms for Mandela day. It took her 7 months! What generosity, what kindness! The moms we meet sense this, and hope rises in their hearts. At our hospital visit last week, a mom thanked me and said “I have never seen anything like this in all my life, thank you, thank you! God bless you”.
I would like to thank the CoLab foundation for their consistent support and encouragement, and to all our friends in the wider community who have also been so faithful and generous. We will keep visiting vulnerable moms, and try to make a difference #onebabyatatime
Founder: the Baby Box Project