Angel Gowns – A Small Symbol of Hope

For families coping with the unimaginable loss of their infants, these special garments called angel gowns can offer a small bit of comfort in their strife. They’re crafted from donated wedding dresses and are offered free of charge to families who have suffered the heartache of losing their child before, during or shortly after birth.

The gowns are designed by volunteer seamstresses who turn wedding dresses into one-of-a-kind burial outfits. They’re given to hospitals, birthing centers and funeral homes for parents to dress their babies in for final photos or for their memorial services. And although they are only a small gesture to those in need, the gowns have become a symbol of hope.

In 2014, Judi Gibson was a registered nurse at Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis, Indiana. When she read an article in a local newspaper that a registered nurse in her town was recruiting seamstresses to make tiny gowns for newborns who died during or shortly after delivery, she knew she could help.

Despite her own loss, Gibson’s family and church members rallied around her to support the cause. But she soon realized that her small effort was insufficient to meet the tremendous need. She recruited her friend Edith Martin to join her team and started what’s now known as Hillary’s Cherished Gowns.

Judi and her team have made hundreds of gowns to date. The number grows each year. But they’re limited by their sewing space and by the number of families who need them. So if you know of someone who would like to get involved, please share this story, and let them know about the program’s website.

Northridge Hospital recently received its first box of angel gowns and is incredibly grateful for the work that these volunteers do. Their dedication is inspiring to us all.

The Northridge Hospital angel gowns are a gift from the community of San Pedro, CA. The first angel gown donation came from a woman named Brandy. Her daughter Karolina lived for only four days. During those days, her mom and dad adored her and made many precious memories. And it was these memories that helped her heal.

Stacy Wright, a Grandview United Methodist member from Hot Springs Village, Arkansas, also serves with the group. She was inspired after her own experience of grief after the death of her baby boy. In addition to volunteering with the group, she has been an active parent leader at her school and works full-time as a pediatric occupational therapist. She also enjoys her role as a wife and mother to three young children.