A local woman has joined a nationwide movement to bring comfort to families who suffer the unimaginable loss of an infant. Boxes full of wedding dresses are being torn apart at a local sewing studio and sewn back together into tiny angel gowns that will be given to children who pass away before, during or after birth. The gowns are made by a group of volunteers who call themselves “Angel Gown Sewers.” The project was started four years ago by Shirley Barnett, an ophthalmologist from Ozark, Missouri. She says her inspiration came after she saw a photo online of a baby who was stillborn and dressed in an angel gown at the hospital. Her own son and daughter-in-law lost a baby at 18 weeks gestation, and she knew she wanted to help other families with the same experience. She says that she’s received countless messages from people across the state and country who have shared their own stories of loss, saying that the gowns bring them comfort when they can’t find any other. They’re a reminder of the love that was shared, she says, and she hopes to keep growing the program. One of the ways she does that is by collecting dresses at garage sales and thrift stores. She also hosts “sew-ins” at her home in Golden Valley. On Saturday, she held a sew-in at St. Luke’s hospital where workers volunteered to help turn the wedding dresses into angel gowns for babies who pass away before, during or after birth. Each kit is filled with a gown, blanket, two hats and an angel heart. It’s designed for smaller babies up to newborns and is meant to be used for the last photos, first breath, memorial services or when family members come to say goodbye. The kits are being sent to hospitals, bereavement groups and funeral homes. KCCI’s Kim St. Onge has been talking to the seamstresses behind the project, and a mother-in-law who lost her 20-week-old son in 2015. She says that when the doctor at Levine Children’s Hospital wrapped her baby boy in an angel gown, it helped her and her husband through a very difficult time. Judi Grubbs, who heads the national organization that started this program, says that there’s an incredible need. She says that the number of babies who die during or immediately after birth each year is staggering – more than 626,000 every year. She says it’s a “taboo subject” and she hopes that organizations like hers will help to shed light on the issue and make parents feel more comfortable in sharing their story. If you’d like to contribute to the program, you can donate a dress or money. Or you can join the movement yourself by donating your time and sewing skills to help create the gowns for grieving families in need. For more information, visit the Angel Gowns website. You can also follow the group on Facebook.
Arranging a child funeral can be an extremely emotional and traumatic experience. It is understandable that parents feel under enormous pressure to get everything right as it may be the only chance they have to say goodbye. The process can also be overwhelming as many parents feel emotionally and physically exhausted from the sheer amount of work involved in organising and attending funeral services. For this reason, some choose to leave the funeral services early or opt for a memorial service afterwards rather than a wake or reception at home or a hotel. It is important to discuss the differences between a funeral service and memorial service with your children in advance. Although these ceremonies are similar, the difference is that a funeral service takes place before burial or cremation and has the body present at the ceremony while a memorial service can take place any time after death. This is important as the choice of whether or not to have an open casket is a key decision to make when arranging a funeral for your child. For older children, it is a good idea to give them the option of choosing whether or not to attend the funeral. However, it is important to explain what will happen at the service and that they are free to change their mind later if they choose not to go. The best way to do this is to answer their questions honestly but sensitively. If you are unsure about what to say, consider using a child-friendly book or talking to a bereavement counsellor. It can be helpful to explain that the body will not look like it did when the person was alive and that they will probably see marks, scars or swelling. Depending on your child’s age, you can also help them understand that their sibling’s body will no longer work and cannot move, eat or talk anymore. It is also important to let them know that they are welcome to touch their sibling’s body but if they choose not to, it is perfectly okay. Likewise, you should explain to your child that they will see people experiencing a wide variety of emotions at the funeral. This is normal and it is important to help your child understand that it’s okay to cry and that it’s also okay to laugh. You can also discuss what will happen to their sibling’s body after the ceremony. If they are buried, you can discuss the possibility of them having their own gravestone or a headstone placed in a special place at the cemetery. If they are cremated, you can also talk about how the ashes will be handled. This could include burying the ashes, scattering them or keeping a small urn at home. It is also important to tell your child that they will not be forced to attend the funeral and that they can stay with a family member or friend if they decide they do not want to go. This will ensure they feel supported in their decision and that they do not resent being made to attend.
For infants, clothing is a must. You’ll want to make sure that any baby clothing you purchase is soft and comfortable for your little one. You will also want to ensure that it is easy to dress and undress for nappy changes. Look for pieces that have snap bottoms, and dresses and rompers with front openings are always convenient. Also, consider purchasing some clothing items that include fold over scratch mitts. These are a great way to help prevent your newborn from accidentally scratching themselves during diaper changes. For everyday, casual wear, look for pieces that are soft and neutral. You will want to choose garments that are not only comfortable for your little one, but you may also want to opt for pieces with added detail like ruffles or kimono ties. These details can help dress up an outfit and can also make it feel special for a special occasion or a day at home. Pact makes clothes for newborns, babies, and toddlers that use GOTS certified organic cotton and fair trade manufacturing practices. The colors, patterns, and subdued hues are beautiful and calming for your newborn. Also, the brand offers a wide variety of gender-neutral styles for parents who don’t find out their baby’s gender before birth. Another great option for everyday, casual clothing is Nununu. Worn by mini A-listers such as Mason Kardashian, this hip brand offers gender-neutral designs with a rockstar vibe. You’ll find skulls, stars, and stripes paired with grays, blacks, and subdued pinks. For the wintertime, you’ll want to stock up on warm baby clothing. You’ll want a few pairs of cute shoes (think pom poms!), some boots, and a good jacket. And don’t forget to add some long johns or warm pajamas for the nighttime. You’ll want to stock up on a few basic, versatile items for your baby, such as bodysuits and tops that have envelope necks or snaps in the front for easy dressing. You can also get a few dresses, rompers, and bubbles. Keep in mind that babies grow quickly, so you’ll want to rotate out their clothing as soon as they outgrow it. If you have extra baby clothing, consider gifting it to someone close to you or donate it to a local organization that helps children in need. You can also purchase storage bins to keep your baby’s clothes organized and tidy. You’ll have them ready to go when they are ready to be worn again! Also, don’t forget about baby socks. Keeping their feet covered can help keep them warmer, and it will also protect their sensitive skin from cold weather. And don’t forget about hats and scarves too! They can be a great addition to any baby’s wardrobe.
Burial outfits are a way for family members to pay tribute to their loved one and to honor their wishes in terms of what they would like to be dressed in when they die. Often, the deceased will leave instructions regarding their clothing choices in their will or they will speak with family members about this ahead of time. This can make the choice of burial attire much easier. During a funeral, the body will be displayed either in a full casket or in a half couch. The latter is most common for viewings as this allows mourners to see the face and upper torso of their deceased loved one. For this reason, it is important to dress the deceased in a respectful outfit that conveys a sense of serenity. A white ensemble is a popular option as it symbolizes purity and peace. However, some families prefer a more subtle outfit such as a pastel shade or a simple floral design. When choosing burial clothes, consider the deceased’s age and lifestyle. Younger people may not wear suits and dresses at home, so a casual outfit such as a t-shirt or pair of jeans might be more appropriate for their final resting place. In the case of an elderly loved one, they may have been used to wearing nightgowns at home, so this type of attire could be suitable for their burial. Babies can also be dressed in specialized funeral clothing such as infant burial gowns that are available in various sizes. In addition to personal preference and a sense of respect, it is important to consider religious customs and guidelines when choosing burial clothing. Different faith traditions have their own guidelines and specific rules regarding how a person should be dressed for their final resting place. It is recommended that you consult with religious leaders or other individuals within your faith tradition to gain a better understanding of what is required in your community. For instance, in some cultures it is customary for a person to be wrapped in a cloth shroud. This is done to preserve the body and help conceal any scars caused by surgery or illness. Another important factor to consider is whether or not you want your loved ones to be dressed in shoes. Depending on the situation, it might be more appropriate to not wear them as shoes can interfere with the natural position of the feet after death due to rigor mortis. If you choose to dress your loved ones in shoes, be sure they are closed-toe. The same goes for accessorizing with pieces of jewelry that may have been meaningful to them during life. It is recommended to avoid jewelry that has a lot of stones as these can fall off during the soaking process and are difficult to clean.
Wedding dresses hold a lot of sentimental value, especially for the brides who wear them. When a wedding dress becomes old and worn out, or when a bride no longer wants it, it can often be hard to get rid of it. However, this is a perfect opportunity to donate it to charity! Not only does this help a good cause, but it also keeps your dress out of the landfill and in a loving new home. While there are many places to donate wedding gowns, it’s important to check with each charity individually for their specific requirements. Some charities only accept gowns that are less than five years old, while others may prefer a white or ivory dress. It’s also best to make sure the dress doesn’t have any major rips or tears, since this will only be an added burden for the charity. One of the best options for donating wedding dresses is the NICU Helping Hands Angel Gown program. This charity repurposes wedding and bridesmaid dresses to create gowns for infants who have passed away during pregnancy or shortly after birth. This organization has 180 seamstresses across the country that are dedicated to creating beautiful gowns for grieving families. Another great option for donating wedding dresses is Adorned in Grace. This company sells used bridal dresses, and the proceeds are donated to a variety of breast cancer and child advocacy charities. Additionally, they’re committed to educating women on the importance of early detection. This charity is similar to the NICU Helping Hands Angel Dress Program in that they repurpose wedding dresses to create funeral clothing for infants. This includes gowns, cloth nappies, hats, and booties. They also work with grieving parents to support them during some of the hardest times in life. If you’re not interested in repurposing your gown, there are plenty of other ways to give it a second life. For example, you could use the fabric to create a cherished keepsake, like a baptism dress for your children or a throw pillow. Additionally, if you’re interested in an eco-friendly lifestyle, you can use your old dress to create a reusable bag or other DIY crafts! It’s important to remember that any donation of wedding dresses or other items during the pandemic is usually tax deductible. Before dropping off your dress, it’s a good idea to wash it or have it dry cleaned in advance. This will ensure that your dress reaches the charity in pristine condition and isn’t ruined by mold or mildew. Lastly, it’s important to contact the charity in advance to ask about their storage and pick-up procedures. This is especially true during the flu season, as certain fabrics and items can develop mold if left in a wet environment for too long.
When a baby is born stillborn or passes away shortly after birth, many families are left with nothing to bury their child in. Thankfully, organizations like Little Angel Gowns have made it their mission to help those parents with burial outfits. The group turns wedding dresses and other dress wear into angel boy and girl outfits that are donated to hospitals, birthing centers and funeral homes free of charge. Three or four months ago, a friend posted a link on Facebook about an organization that turns wedding gowns into burial dresses for babies who never make it home from the hospital. Judi Schatz heard the story and was immediately drawn to the cause. “I don’t want any grieving parent to have to look through the lost and found tub at the hospital for clothes for their little one,” she said. “I want them to have a beautiful outfit they can bring their child home in.” Schatz is the volunteer coordinator for NICU Helping Hands, which is the name of the organization that started this year in Maryland. She has recruited 44 seamstresses across South Jersey and they’ve already turned in 450 gowns that have gone to local hospitals. The goal of NICU Helping Hands is to provide gowns nationally, and they have already received requests from nine institutions. They’ve also started to offer kits that include a dress, hat and blanket for the baby along with a keepsake card and message for the parents. Those kits are being used by families around the country and have brought a lot of comfort to parents who’ve suffered pregnancy and infant loss, according to the group’s website. There are an estimated 30,000 stillbirths in the United States each year and many babies that make it to the NICU don’t survive. Levine Children’s Hospital gave Tom and Deanna Williamson an angel gown when they lost their son at 20 weeks gestation. He was their first child, and they wore him home in his angel outfit. They knew they had to pay it forward. For families who want to know more about the program, they can speak with their hospital or find local bereavement groups. In addition, they can contact their local chapter of Little Angel Gowns. The group is always looking for more volunteers and donations. A bride can even sign up to have her own dress or a dress worn by a family member or friend converted into an angel gown. The group will even send it to the bride’s home if requested, so that she can personally thank the seamstress who took such a personal interest in her loss. The gowns can be bought at a discount from thrift stores and garage sales, and they can also be found online.
Whether to take a child to a funeral or memorial service depends on many factors, including the age and emotional maturity of the child, as well as the closeness of the relationship with the deceased. While it may be very difficult to make these decisions, parents should try to be guided by their own cultural traditions and the wishes of their child. If children choose to attend, a good way to help them is to explain what the funeral will be like before they go. They will want to know what they can expect, so be as specific as possible – for example, telling them how long the service will last, where it will happen, and who they might see there. It is also helpful to visit the funeral home ahead of time and show them the casket, if you think it would help. Young children often ask difficult questions about death and the afterlife, and it is important to answer them truthfully. For example, they might wonder where their loved one is now and what will happen to their body after the funeral. It is also a good idea to share with them your own religious beliefs about life and death, as this will help reassure them. Some children will be able to participate in the service by writing messages, signing a board, or making a card. Other children may want to place a flower or light a candle in memory of their loved one. It is a good idea to bring some activities to keep them busy and occupied during the service, such as coloring books, toys, or stickers. It is also a good idea to have someone, such as a trusted friend or relative, on hand to help with them during the funeral or memorial service. This person can keep an eye on the children, take them outside or into a hallway for a break if they become overwhelmed, and give them a chance to express their emotions freely. Throughout the funeral and memorial services, be sure to protect your children from fawning sentimentality. Aunt Bertha’s sobbing and hugs can be confusing and distressing for children, especially very young ones. It’s also important to set boundaries around personal space and to encourage respectful greetings between family members and guests.
The arrival of a new baby is one of the most joyful and exciting moments in life. It’s only natural to want to dress them up in cute outfits. However, if your little bundle of joy starts to develop rashes or other skin issues, it may be time to examine the fabric of their clothes. Babies’ skin is very sensitive and absorbs many harmful chemicals in certain fabrics. The best choice is sustainable, organic cotton. Baby clothing should be made with common, organic materials through natural procedures, rather than being chemically processed or engineered. It should also be free of dyes and perfumes, as these can be irritating for a baby’s skin. It is important to choose a fabric that feels soft on the skin and allows air to circulate around the body. This will keep your baby comfortable and prevent overheating. Look for breathable fabrics such as cotton and wool, which are gentle on your baby’s delicate skin. You’ll also want to consider how easy the fabric is to clean and maintain. Some fabrics will require special care and may need to be hand-washed, while others are machine-washable and can be tumble-dried. A baby’s clothes will get dirty very quickly. You will need to wash them often and use a mild detergent that is gentle on their delicate skin. It is also a good idea to use a cold water setting to avoid damaging the fabric. When washing your baby’s clothes, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Choosing the right sizes of baby clothing is essential to ensure comfort and fit. You will want to shop in person whenever possible, because infants grow at different rates and size discrepancies between brands can be significant. It is a good idea to buy an item that is slightly larger than your baby’s current size. They will grow much faster than you think, and you can always roll up the sleeves or pants on a shirt that is too big to accommodate their growing arms and legs. When buying baby clothes, it is important to choose onesies that are simple to snap or zip on and off. You will need to be able to easily change your baby for diaper changes, feedings, and bathing, so you don’t want anything too complicated to put on or take off. If you are shopping online, make sure that the brand you are considering has a return policy in case the clothes are not a perfect fit for your baby. When possible, it is also a good idea to purchase a few sets of the same style of clothes so you can have a few ready for a quick outing. This will save you a lot of time when getting your baby dressed each day.
The funeral service is a very important time to say goodbye to your loved one. It is also a time to share memories and celebrate the life that has been lived. If you have children who will be attending, it is important to prepare them for the services in advance. Children respond differently to grief, and their reactions may be unexpected. They often need more support than adults, and they may be confused by the process and the various rituals that take place at the funeral and memorial services. Explain what they will see before, during and after the funeral ceremony. This will help them understand that they are not alone and can be open about their feelings and questions. If they are able to view the body during visitation or the funeral, describe what it will look like, including any special clothing, shoes and jewelry that might be worn. If they will not be able to view the body, discuss what they will see, such as an urn on a memorial table or photo boards. Some families choose to include a religious service at the funeral or memorial services, and this is often comforting to children. Depending on the religious tradition, you might explain that this is an opportunity to say goodbye and ask for prayers from family and friends. If you want to incorporate a eulogy or tribute from a close friend or relative, this is a wonderful way for older children to say their final farewells and to honor the memory of your child. It is very important to reassure the children that although they will feel sad, it is okay to laugh and enjoy other people’s company. At the funeral, they will probably see a wide range of emotions from other people, and it is important to reassure them that it is normal for everyone to feel sad at times and then laugh at other times. Young children often have a difficult time understanding that their sibling has died and will never return to life again. They may want to touch the deceased person, but it is important to remind them that their body is cold and stiff. If they do touch the body, it is a good idea to make sure they are wearing clothes so that their skin is not rubbed or scratched. For very young children, it may be helpful to appoint an adult buddy to accompany them throughout the various services and activities. This trusted companion can answer any of their questions and offer extra attention and affection, if needed. The buddy can also provide an escape route if your child becomes overwhelmed or needs to leave for a short period of time. The buddy should be familiar with your child’s temperament and personality. A family member, close friend or a staff member of the funeral home can be your child’s buddy.
From never-ending growth spurts to accidents that require a fresh outfit, newborns and infants go through clothes quickly. So you’ll want a wardrobe filled with clothing that is versatile, functional and safe. Luckily, there are plenty of high-quality best baby clothing brands to keep you well-stocked, no matter what your style preference. A one-piece outfit is a must-have for babies because it’s easy to get them dressed and undressed, plus it helps hold diapers in place. Whether it’s a kimono-style bodysuit (which has just three snaps in the crotch area) or a long or short-sleeve romper, they are a staple for every newborn’s closet. Look for ones with fold-over scratch mitts (which prevent tiny fingers from scratching themselves) and full leg openings to make nappy changes easier, and choose fabrics that are soft and stretchy. It’s a good idea to have some basic pants, too, especially for winter months. You’ll also want a few pairs of socks, which are important for keeping little feet warm and comfy. In warmer weather, a footie pajama set is ideal for newborns because it’s a dress and a sleeper all in one. And don’t forget a cozy hat, especially in winter (but not when baby is asleep!). A beanie-style hat is perfect, but a cute hat with a hood is a great option if your baby doesn’t like to wear a beanie. You’ll want a few sweaters and coats, too, for when it’s cold outside. You’ll also want some lightweight layers that will keep your newborn warm, but not overheated. If your newborn has a lot of hair, you may need a hat for their head. But if they don’t, a soft and cozy blanket can do just as much to keep them warm, and it can double up for a nap or nursing cover. Babies are often gifted clothes by family members, friends and other loved ones. That’s why it can be tempting to buy lots of new onesies in newborn size. But remember that most babies don’t fit into the newborn size for very long and they grow fast, so it’s better to buy one or two sizes ahead of what you think your baby might be wearing at a given time. Look for high-quality clothing that is free from toxins, harmful dyes, flame retardants and other chemicals. Organic cotton is a good choice, as are cotton blends and modal fabric. You should also avoid buying clothes that are made overseas unless they come with a guarantee of adherence to Australian safety standards.