Four years ago my sister’s water broke in the middle of the night. She was 28 weeks pregnant with identical twins. She awoke after their emergency delivery to learn that one of her precious boys was struggling to survive in the NICU and the other had passed on into the arms of his Heavenly Father.
You can only imagine the heartache and pain the next few years held for my sister and her family.
In an attempt to calm her grief and heal, Megan searched for something she could do to honor Dex’s memory and serve. Last year Megan celebrated their birthday by launching a brand new service organization called Teeny Tears.
Approximately 26,000 babies are stillborn every year and another 19,000 die within the first 28 days of life. A significant number of these angels are preemie or micropreemie infants that are too small for even the smallest of commercial diapers. Teeny Tears provides tiny handmade diapers at no charge to hospitals and bereavement support organizations for families that have suffered the loss of a preemie or micropreemie child through stillbirth or NICU loss. The diapers are made out of flannel, which is gentle enough for their fragile skin. Teeny Tears provides two matching diapers per family, one for the angel baby to be buried in and the other for the family to keep as a memento.
I wrote a post last year on my blog marking the launch of Teeny Tears and sharing the experience my kids and I had while making these tiny diapers. Since then I have watched this organization grow and expand to unanticipated levels. As of today, over 10,000 diapers have been donated by Teeny Tears volunteers.
Teeny Tears is an extremely unique organization. Hundreds of volunteers work together to bless thousands of families. Mothers who came home from the hospital with empty arms find purpose in their grief by donating fabric, tracing, cutting or sewing diapers. Taking advantage of today’s technology and social media, Teeny Tears has been able to not only provide diapers to hospitals, but connect volunteers with each other. Megan has been able to connect those with flannel to donate with those who can trace, cut or sew. Hospitals (who now are actively seeking Teeny Tears diapers) are being connected with families who sew in the name of their special angel. Everyone from experienced seamstresses down to children who can only trace a pattern onto the flannel can lend a hand. I have been privileged enough to be able to help in my own small way behind the scenes.
Diapers have been sewn by everyone from Activity Days girls to Eagle Scouts. Families who want to help for no other reason than because they want to serve spend their family time making diapers. Diapers have been donated in every corner of the United States and have recently expanded to Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Central America! In less than a year, Teeny Tears has come full circle; mothers who have been the recipient of Teeny Tears diapers now have found healing in serving others like them by sewing diapers in their angel’s name. I was especially touched when I learned that a mother who had lost six of her own angels had been sewing gowns and diapers by hand to donate because she didn’t have a sewing machine. Mothers of all faiths and circumstances have been able to find ways to help.
I was visiting my sister last spring and we were talking about how the need for these diapers seemed endless when her husband came home from work and handed her an unexpected package. The Activity Day girls in a nearby ward had decided to use the diaper pattern to learn how to sew.
Not long ago Megan and I were speaking on the phone. She had just received several sizable donations of flannel just as her fabric pile had gotten a little low. Megan mentioned how this thing that she had started so that she could honor her son and heal had taken on a life of it’s own. Teeny Tears had become an organization that runs on miracles. Whenever they find themselves in need of something, be it fabric for the diapers, more volunteers to sew, or the long awaited approval for donations by hospital administration, it comes as if gift wrapped in a tidy little package.
It is no surprise to me that Teeny Tears is doing so well and expanding so quickly. Not only are these volunteers mourning with those who mourn and comforting those who stand in need of comfort, but they are honoring the “least of these”. These tiny little angels are just as much God’s children as we are. We live in a world where society will casually throw these precious angels away and deem them as nothing more than a “punishment”. Teeny Tears gives dignity to little children who otherwise might have nothing to be buried in. Given the state of our current society, it is of no surprise to me that our Father in Heaven looks at those working so diligently to honor His tiniest of children and blesses their efforts. I know that the time, effort and money spent on giving to these angels is pleasing unto the Lord. I can almost hear him saying “I was naked and clothed me… in as much as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
If you would like to learn more or help Teeny Tears, please visit their website. While there, you will learn about the many wonderful families that have blessed and been blessed by their efforts. Anyone can help and remember, a person’s a person, no matter how small.