One day a child was born, too early, too small but loved as much as any child could be. As the parents of this child entered this journey they found themselves feeling alone. They had the joys of being new parents but the fear of losing their child, the thrill of giving birth, the grief of a lost dream. This was supposed to be a joyous time, not a time filled with grief, anger and pain. Little did these parents know they were not alone.
The Preemie Purple Heart is born of an idea borrowed from the US army, a medal given for being wounded in battle. What bigger battle is there than the battle for life and the wounds of premature birth live on with the infant and family forever. The color was once reserved for royalty, making it special and it is gender neutral. The heart is not a solid color and the strips in each heart are a little different, just as every child and every journey is a little different, but the basic design is the same just like the basic experience is the same. The heart is made of glass it is strong but not so strong it could withstand a crushing blow. The premature child is strong but not invincible. It is a heart because the heart is our center, it’s every beat renews life and hope, it symbolizes love. At the bottom of the Preemie Purple Heart is a teardrop, it is symbolic of the tears shed during the journey of a premature family, good and bad, joy and sorrow.
The Preemie Purple Heart is an outward sign of unity among a special group of people. A group that knows no country, language, economic, ethnic or religious bounds. A group with one common goal: hope for the future of premature children. This group includes not only parents and child but also siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nurses, doctors, clergy and friends. This group shares a bond beyond words, a bond only the heart knows. The Heart can be with you when you feel alone, remind you there are hundreds of others who keep you in their hearts. It can give you a chance to share your story.
Author: Renea Ericson