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Handmade hats for babies: a supportive community effort

Towards the end of 2022 a Valley resident, Natalie Leger-Liebl, started an initiative to get the community involved in knitting hats for new babies. After seeing a post on Facebook about a friend losing a pregnancy at full term, she felt inclined to help in some way. “As a mom with kids, that’s the worst thing imaginable. I myself had two miscarriages early in pregnancy; that’s hard enough to go through, but to have a heartbeat one day and then not the other [is unimaginable],” she says. In situations like this, it can be hard to know what to say or how to help.

By chance, Leger-Liebl saw another post online made by the West Island Birthing Home which stated that they were experiencing a shortage of baby hats and were hoping for knitted or crocheted hats to be donated. “I started crocheting six years ago when I was pregnant with my son, and I wanted to make something for him. I had so many hats left over afterwards that I donated them to the hospital,” she explains. Seeing this post years later inspired her to get as many hats made as possible to be donated in the memory of her friend’s baby. “He may not have walked the earth, but he still mattered,” she adds.

Leger-Liebl managed to make about 18 hats on her own, but the total that has been donated so far is 117. “Friends, family members, even people in Montreal saw the post and ended up bringing some right to the centre … It really was a community effort,” she explains. This was just the first batch that was delivered to the West Island. Leger-Liebl still has more to give; a second batch has yet to be dropped off. She is still accepting donations and can be reached through Facebook Messenger as Natalie Liebl. Tricot Laines Studio in Huntingdon is also accepting drop-off donations for this initiative.

 

Dozens of different coloured hats lined up on a table.
Over 100 hats have been donated to the West Island Birthing Home as a part of Natalie Leger Liebls initiative and the number continues to grow as people keep the donations incoming PHOTO Courtesy of Natalie Leger Liebl

 

Leger-Liebl says she feels a strong personal connection to this story. As a young child she lost a younger sibling; she says, “I’ve had a front-row seat to it, and the grief is just so heavy.” She explains that in situations like these, folks often have the inclination to get involved but they don’t, for fear of not doing or saying the right thing. However, she reiterates the importance of being involved in one’s community. “I think it’s important to take action, because we never know what kind of light we can bring to a dark situation. It won’t take any of the pain away, but it can bring us closer together and have this common ground.” Especially in a close-knit area like the Valley, being able to rely on the support of those around us is crucial. “It’s a beautiful thing if we can show our support to a family who needs it.”

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