THEY have been smocking and sewing for stillborn babies for a quarter of a century but this group is also about fun and friendship.
Precious Babies members gathered in Invercargill last week to celebrate 25 years of involvement in making garments and blankets not just for stillborn babies, but also premature and other babies.
President Gwen Brown said the group originated after a nurse Leanne Samuel (a daughter of one of the members) was asked if she could find someone in Southland who could make garments to be given to families of stillborn babies.
Her reply was her mother did, and soon the group was formed.
They started off as Wee Care, with garments being sent throughout New Zealand but changed the name to Precious Babies in 1997.
They provide families of stillborn babies with a smocked or embroidered gown, a little box with blankets for the baby to lie in and teddy bears knitted in pairs, with one going with the baby and the other gifted to the family.
In 1997, the group also paid for a monument recognising stillborn babies at the Eastern Cemetery in Invercargill.
Members had made thousands of garments during the past 25 years with demand changing due to medical advancements.
“We have very few stillborn babies now, but it is still the main aim to provide something for them. It’s nice to give a gift for a person at that time.”
This has meant the group had diversified to make gowns but also blankets, wraps and booties for mainly prenatal babies, distributed through the neo-natal ward at Southland Hospital.
Often workshops were held which involved a lot of laughter, Mrs Brown said.
The group, which had 23 members, meets at 1.30pm on the last Friday of the month at the Graeme Cockroft Cycle Park, Onslow St, Invercargill.