How did the Ornament Swap begin, and who is it intended for?Originally created by a mother who experienced the loss of her baby due to pre-term labor, the Remembering Together Holiday Ornament Swap is intended for the parents and families of children lost to miscarriage, stillbirth, perinatal, and neonatal death. To check out her blog when she first started the swap, click here. When you register to participate in the Swap, you are assigned to make a homemade holiday ornament for a fellow baby-loss parent/family; in turn, another bereaved parent/family creates an ornament for your baby(ies). It is a really beautiful way to honor & remember the children we are missing during the holidays. Each season, the Swap usually has over 250 families who participate nation- & world-wide.
As you can imagine, losing a baby, whether pre-term or neonatal, leaves parents and families with little or no chance to bond with that child, or experience the joy that other families cherish. The Remembering Together Holiday Ornament Swap was created to bring some joy, perhaps even through tears, to these families by seeing an ornament crafted just for them with their baby's name on it. It is especially meaningful coming from another family who has had a similar experience; knowing that their baby was recognized, thought about, and that something special was made with love specifically for him or her can feel very gratifying. It is also a cathartic experience and an opportunity to connect and empathize with another family who has been on a similar path, creating an ornament just for them. It is a way of not feeling so alone during a time when we are surrounded by the joy of others, having a hard time feeling that joy ourselves.
In recent years, the Swap has been approached by parents and families who have experienced the tragedy of losing an older child. They have inquired about participating in the Swap. While we would love to reach out to grieving families who are mourning children of all ages, we do feel an especially strong commitment to the baby loss community, as this was where the Swap began, and who the Swap was originally intended for. We are volunteer-run, and our resources are limited; while it is not our intention for anyone to feel excluded, we feel we must honor the Swap's original motivation, and limit our participants to those who have lost infants pre-term and soon after birth. With that said, we would gladly help anyone interested in starting a similar Swap for parents who have experienced the loss of an older child or children. Please email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in finding out more.