Friday, April 13, 2012

The Sweet Pea Project

I've tried to write this post numerous times. My words seem so inadequate because I am not good with them or expressing what I truly want to say. I fall so short in trying to convey the importance of things sometimes and I want to give this post the kind of care that it deserves.

You see, I have this incredible opportunity to contribute to one of the most touching things I will ever be a part of and I have the opportunity to share that with you. My hope is that you'll give me just a couple minutes of your time to share with you about the Sweet Pea Project and the incredible work that they are doing for families who have had a baby loss. I promise that your heart will be touched when you hear about what they do.

I was pregnant with my daughter, Aubrey, in 2010. It was the most exciting time of my life as I planned and prepared for her arrival. I had wanted to be a mom for so very long and when I found out that I was pregnant, I think it was truly one of the happiest days I'd ever experienced in my life. To know that new life was inside of me was incredible. Around that time, I had no less than 20 friends who were also pregnant. Many of my blogging friends were pregnant too and it was a fun time to be surrounded by so many who knew exactly what I was going through. It was during that time that I reconnected with a gal I went to high school with, Nerissa. She was a grade ahead of me but we shared a theater class and she also sat at the lunch table across from me. Our high school was small so we all seemed to know each other. We had a few mutual friends and it was nice to reconnect with her via Facebook.

Nerissa was in that group of people that I knew who were pregnant. Tragically, her son, Holden, died at just 38 weeks. A full term, sweet, beautiful baby boy who could have thrived in the outside world, passed away. And it ripped open his mother's heart. I remember hearing about Holden's passing and my heart felt like it broke into a million pieces. I was a new mom and I knew that I would be utterly devesatated if something were to happen to my daughter. I couldn't imagine my joy over her birth being shattered by her death. And I hugged my baby tighter wondering why I was so lucky. It didn't seem fair.

Through this terrible time in the life of Nerissa and her family, I've had a small chance to get to know her heart better and to listen to her share about her sweet boy. She is a mom who will not let the memory of her son die. He was a person who lived, who left an imprint and who had his mom and dad wrapped around his little finger. I love that I've got to know a little bit more about Holden through Nerissa's stories of him.

Today is Holden's birthday - April 13th. To honor his precious life, Nerissa is organizing a blanket and book drive in his name. Everything will benefit the Sweet Pea Project who's sole mission it is to help parents and families deal with the loss of their baby. They offer comfort, support and guidance during this time of incredible sadness and loss. Here is a bit about why they collect blankets.

When a child dies before or shortly after birth, the parents leave the hospital with broken hearts and empty hands.  The loss is amplified by the fact that there are often very few tangible items to remember the child by.

The Sweet Pea Project collects blankets to donate to hospitals and birthing centers.  The blankets are lovingly wrapped around these precious babies and then given to the parents to keep.  So far, the Sweet Pea Project has donated over 3500 blankets to grieving parents. It is our hope that the project will continue to grow so that every parent who faces this profound loss is given a soft blanket to snuggle their child in, and remember their child by.

Here is what Nerissa is going to do for the Sweet Pea Project:

Basically what I will be doing is collecting blankets and monetary donations. The SPP distributes the blankets to hospitals and birthing centers. A family like ours is then given their choice of blankets to wrap their precious baby in. After they say goodbye for the final time, they can then take the blanket home where it becomes a tangible memory of their child, something their baby actually touched in their short time on earth. Monetary donations will be used to purchase copies of the founder's (Stephanie Cole) book "Still to be distributed to my local hospitals. 

The Sweet Pea Project guidlines for blanket donations are as folows:

  • ANY brand new baby blanket. 
  • Handmade blankets must be made from fleece, flannel, or cotton. SPP discourages donations of crochet or knitted blankets because of the extremely delicate nature of a stillborn baby's skin. While it may feel soft to us, the fibers of these blankets can actually cause tears or abrasions on a stillborn baby's skin. If that is the only type of blanket someone is able to donate, the SPP asks that it be made out of the special baby yarn. 
Nerissa will also be accepting monetary donations to her PayPal address. For every $5 donated, she can purchase one copy of Stephanie Cole's book "Still" to donate to a bereaved family to try to help them so they don't feel so alone. This book is a short read, so not overwhelming for someone in the depth of grief. Nerissa said it helped her feel much less alone. Through this book she started connecting to people who she could really talk to and could understand her feelings of despair, longing and anger. She said this book was one of her lifesavers. 

Let's help get this book in women's hands!

I would love to see Nerissa have an outpouring of love just flood her mail box and her pay pal account. I know that $5 can be a lot of money to some and to others it's a small drop in the bucket. Maybe don't have that coffee at Starbucks this week, or put off that craft project until next week. Maybe buy one less bag of chips or package of cookies and use that $5 to truly make an impact. Let's do what we can for Nerissa, for Holden, The Sweet Pea Project, and families who are dealing with one of the worst tragedies a family could ever face. Please feel free to Facebook, Tweet, and share this blog post so we can keep the word going. 

To donate a blanket please mail them to:

Nerissa Tiffany
Saegertown, Pennsylvania  16433

To make a monetary donation or to find out more information, contact Nerissa at

To find out more about the Sweet Pea Project, please go here


Hi I'm Amanda said...

I just sent money. What a beautiful cause.

Mandi @ Finding Home said...

Thank you so much, Amanda. This is appreciated beyond what you can ever know. Thank you, thank you, thank you. May you be totally blessed because of this. Thank you. -Mandi

Tana said...

Thank you so much for writing about this! I lost my son one month ago yesterday after having one precious hour with him. It's been really helpful to have resources like this there for when I need something.


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