Baker Desire Dasopatis reached out on her knitting group for help to honour new mothers on World Prematurity Day and it paid off in the best way!
Cape Town, South Africa (25 November 2020) – Six years ago, on the eve of World Prematurity Day, local bakery owner Desire Dasopatis lost her twin babies at 19 weeks, after years of struggling to fall pregnant and fertility treatment.
Each year since then, she has honoured their death by contributing to the NICU in one way or another to bring comfort to moms who may also be struggling.
But this year she took things to a new level. Dasopatis created a care package for each mom in Groote Schuur Hospital’s Neonatal Unit and ICU. Each beautifully presented box contained a crochet preemie octopus, a professionally designed baby journal and pen to mark baby’s milestones or simply journal some thoughts, treats like hot chocolate, energy bars, breastfeeding biscuits and more to see them through the long days in the NICU. She also included motivational crib art, hand sanitizer and toiletries.
Each nurse in the unit was gifted a cupcake and hot chocolate in the hope that they would take a few minutes to enjoy and know they are appreciated.
“This year has been especially tough for everyone, but visitation restrictions in the NICU and economic conditions have made it especially hard on moms facing this difficult journey, and I wanted to let them know that they are not alone and they have a whole community behind them”, says Dasopatis.
“To honour the memory of our twins is always very special and dear to my heart and as time has gone by and the trauma has subsided, I am left with only love and gratitude for the short time I had with them. This year I did more research on the life of a NICU mom, the struggles, and how every small milestone or gesture matters when you’re in the NICU. I also gained a new appreciation for the nurses and doctors who dedicate their lives to saving these tiny babies”, she continues.
Newborns Groote Schuur Trust Manager Amy Mac Iver says the warmth and generosity the community showed the unit yesterday was incredible. “Our moms were blown away by the gifts and spoils they received for their babies and themselves. Many of them have nothing and it was like a purple Christmas in our unit yesterday. I can’t thank Des and all the others who helped her enough”.
The Milnerton-based baker dedicated hours of time and effort to the project but found she needed help from the community.
“I posted on the Cape town knitting and crochet Facebook group and received an incredible response locally as well as nationally. I also reached out on our own social media platforms and had moms connecting with me about their own experiences and also wanting to contribute in some way. I especially connected with a mom called Tamsyn who was as excited as me about the project and arranged a ton of donations and essentials”.
Asked what her advice would be to other struggling moms, Dasopatis says, “Never ever give up. I fought through years of infertility, countless treatments, and loss, but I never allowed myself to give up. It wasn’t always easy, and it still isn’t. But most know that you never alone.”
To get involved please visit the Newborns Trust page on Facebook or go to www.newborns.org.za