For any new parent, having a baby in the NICU can be terrifying and riddled with uncertainty. Earlier this year, Rhinebeck resident and business owner Erin Holohan endured this experience after giving birth to premature twin boys. There, she met many families who were enduring the same experience — some with babies in dire conditions.
“I started connecting with many other moms with twins and triplets for support and camaraderie, said Holohan. “Suddenly I was opened up to the world of premature birth. My hearts feels for the moms and dads who are enduring the emotional rollercoaster of the NICU, sometimes for months on end.”
Owning an online nursery linen company, Create Custom Critters, Holohan was surrounded by support from fellow new parents, even after her twins came home. So, with two newborns, a two-year-old daughter, and a growing business, Holohan decided to take action in the best way she knew how, by providing free fabric hearts handmade out of leftover blanket scraps and shipping them to NICU families using a portion of her business profits.
Dubbed the Hearts of Hope Program, Holohan intends for the hearts to serve as more than just encouragement for those going through a difficult time. Because scent plays such a big role in the baby-parent-bonding experience, moms and dads are encouraged to press the heart against their skin to transfer their scent onto the fabric. They can then leave the heart alongside their baby in their NICU crib to comfort them with familiar smells.
In just under a year of organizing this program, Holohan has made and sent 100 hearts to NICU families. “It is my unshakable goal to give out free fabric hearts to any NICU parent that wants one,” said Holohan. “I would love to see my message shared with as many people as possible.”
If you or someone you know has a little one in the NICU, please request your Heart of Hope here.
Meet more of our local heroes—and nominate your own—at www.hvmag.com/hvhero.