On All Things Considered today, we bring you the story of a familiar blanket — a white flannel blanket with pink and blue stripes that's used in hospital delivery rooms around the country.
Last week, we asked you to submit photos of your newborns with this blanket.
We were overwhelmed – and overjoyed – by your response.
In all, we received close to 2,000 photos featuring your precious little ones, many just minutes old, and most of them with the same pink-and-blue-striped blanket. (Another white blanket with thin pink and blue lines came in a distant second.)
We received photos from moms, dads and grandparents. One father submitted his photo from Afghanistan, where he's serving with the military. Several people submitted photos of themselves — photos that are two decades old, featuring the same blanket. Many of you gave us photos of your preemies, along with notes about the long days you spent in neonatal intensive care units.
Going through the photos, it became even more apparent to us just how far-reaching this blanket is. We got photos of the blanket from 45 states, including Alaska and Hawaii, plus the District of Columbia and military hospitals overseas. We also had photos from Toronto and Santiago, Chile.
Not everyone loves the blanket. Dana Slowik of Philadelphia found it "too generic, rough and not that cute!"
And Julie Marsh of Los Angeles wrote that she grew to hate the blankets, after spending the first week of her baby's life on the pediatrics ward following a rough delivery. Today, she says, the blanket "stirs mixed emotions — overwhelming joy, anxiety, frustration, a sense of incarceration, but mostly I recall the precious bond with a tiny, fragile, lucid human who became the center of my world."
Many of you do hold happy memories of the blanket. Katie Glisic of Mayfield, Ohio, says, "When you receive your baby swaddled with love in the blue and pink stripes, you feel like all the wisdom and love from all the other mothers in the world is being passed down to you."
And I love this comment from Rachel Anderson of Alexandria, Va.: "I always loved the idea that no matter who you are, how much money you make, what color you are, where you live, everyone starts life in the same blanket."
Thanks to all of you for taking part in our project. You've provided us great insight, not to mention hours of delight. We're only sorry we couldn't feature every single photo on the page.
Andrea Hsu is a producer for All Things Considered. You can read more about the baby blanket and see the images in our series 'Beginnings.'