First of all, I have to say this: you guys are kinda amazing.
I’ve been constantly baffled at how this little community has grown to reach women with heart all over the globe. Sometimes I’ve been quite intentional in building community, other times (ok, a lot of times) I’ve been incredibly haphazard. And yet, when I’ve presented a need – you’ve delivered.
A year-and-a-half ago when I presented the opportunity to gather clean birth kits for the women in rural Papua New Guinea I hoped to raise 300 kits. I’ve now received thousands and thousands – including four more boxes that arrived in the mail this week. (Yes, they are still coming.)
And then I told you Umi’s story. You read about her with wide eyes and jaws dropped open. You let her pictures pierce your heart and imprint on your mind. You cried on your keyboards or on your own nursing babies as you read from your phones. You put yourself in her mama’s shoes and ached with sadness. You looked at your own littles and resources and lives… and the emails began pouring in. “How can I help?” you asked me. “What can I do? “
Not surprisingly, you’ve rallied.
I’m beginning to receive ring slings from all over the world – a practical aid we will trial in the village of Bamio (in rural PNG) to help moms of newborns who’ve had to leave them behind in order to harvest food for their families.
The issues in the area we’re focusing on are far more complex than a simple ring sling can “fix”, but this is one way we’re hoping to bolster the chances of these babies flourishing as we help to teach mama’s the importance of continual availability for breastfeeding during those early newborn days. (Read more about what’s going on here.)
Please understand, gathering a few slings together is not a solution; it is not a quick fix. But what it is is an experiment in hopes that it might be a part of the solution.
We’re hoping to introduce a simple way of babywearing that will encourage mothers of newborns to take them along as they leave their village each morning to harvest their food.
Will this work?
It may or may not. But we hope that—alongside some crucial education—some of the new mama’s can be encouraged to give it a try. (And wouldn’t our effort be worth it even if to help one other sweet baby like Umi?)
Here’s where it gets really, really awesome.
I’m so excited to announce an amazing partnership, born out of another blogger’s compassion and generosity as she read Umi’s story from the other side of the world and let it capture her heart and imagination.
Megan from The Boho Mama recently opened up an Etsy shop selling—get this—ring slings, and after reading about Umi she felt compelled to help on a very practical level.
There are two ways The Boho Mama is offering to help with Project Baby Bilum:
1. Project Baby Bilum Sling. You can purchase one of these ring slings from her Etsy shop for $25 and Megan will not only make it on your behalf, but will cover the cost of shipping it to me here in Australia (where I’ll collect them to take to PNG). She’s making no profit on these, just selling them at cost. This is perfect for those of you who want to donate one, but who don’t sew yourselves. You can also donate one on behalf of someone else. (Great gift idea? I think yes!)
2. The Umi Sling. I’m perhaps even more excited about this one – Megan’s beautiful sling-for-sling initiative where you can buy one for yourself (or as a gift for a friend) and for every Umi Sling purchased, Megan will donate a second sling to Project Baby Bilum. The Umi Sling retails for $55, including free shipping for both slings (one to you and one to Australia).
Just look at it:
Aren’t they gorgeous?
And how amazing is this initiative??
This is so exciting for me on many levels, but particularly because just days before receiving the email from Megan, I had thought/prayed/wished for a connection exactly like this – someone willing to donate a sling-for-sling (think TOMS shoes). And then to have her reach out to me with her idea that exactly matched my own… it was almost too good to be true.
Needless to say it took me a nanosecond to consider and reply back with a big, resounding yes-of-course.
Turns out little baby Umi, as fragile as she is, is also a powerful little baby who has stolen hearts everywhere.
And to kick off this new partnership, Megan is offering one of you a free Umi Sling.
Please visit Megan’s shop and tell me your favorite color/pattern in the comments below, and then enter the giveaway via rafflecopter (up to once a day):
Dear friends, I hope you find this helpful as many of you have emailed me asking about where you can buy a sling to donate to Project Baby Bilum. I love the idea of supporting a work-at-home-mom (to toddler twins, nonetheless!) while also reaching out to help the mamas and babies in PNG.
p.s. Need a thoughtful baby shower or Christmas gift idea? Consider purchasing an Umi Sling – blessing a mama near you and a mama far away simultaneously. What a seriously cool idea.