When parents, like Eric and Kristin Moan, found themselves unexpectedly welcoming twins at 23 weeks, they, much like all parents, sought to capture every monumental moment through photographs. This included documenting the weekly growth of their little girls. Contemplating the best way to illustrate this progress, Eric decided to use a stuffed animal for comparison. However, he returned to the NICU not with a conventional stuffed animal but with two Mr. Potato Head dolls. This seemingly simple decision marked the inception of the "Potato Head Non-profit Project," a venture initiated by the Moans as a means to connect with other parents navigating the challenging season of NICU parenting.
The Potato Head Project exists because it gives you hope. Hope when you have no idea what is going on and no idea where to turn. It gives you something to look forward to, to connect people to (without them having to endure the NICU themselves), it gives you something to hold on tight to because the truth of the matter is, in the NICU hope is all you have. Although they are getting better, statistics are not with a 1 pound baby. When they gave us "there's only a 1% chance that will happen to her.... it happened". When they called us or gave us bad news and the nurse was crying?
You knew. A Potato Head, itself, is nothing more than a piece of plastic, a childhood toy. To someone who uses it as a symbol of their undying love and hope for a child that their body failed? It is so much more. You will never hear me say anything other than we got lucky. The grace of God, the prayers, the positive vibes, whatever you want to call it all played a part, but we got lucky. To past and future potato head parents, I know. I know its hard to take photos of your child, to not feel regret or worry, to want to photoshop out oxygen masks and picc lines and IVs out of their foreheads. I know you post asking for prayers and help with bills. I know every single fear, every single tear and the one piece of hope hanging from a thread you are holding onto. Will we ever get out of here, once we do what does that mean? The Potato Head Project exists for YOU, for your family/friends and is to be used, abused and requested as needed. ANYTHING we can do for you, we will. I hope that in the coming years we can provide more, but sometimes, all we need is a ounce of faith, to know that there is hope, and to know that these little babies are nothing short of an absolute miracle. The Potato Head Project exists for everyone on some level. Please help us make it great.
If you would like to connect with the Potato Head Project, please check out their website at www.potatoeheadproject.org