Angel Gowns For Infants Who Never Made It Home

When a child is born prematurely and doesn’t survive, their parents often take photos of them in hospital gowns. But one selfless bride is turning her own wedding dress into something much more meaningful — gowns for infants who never made it home from the NICU.

Edith Schulz, 66, saw an article in a newspaper about a registered nurse at Mayo Clinic named Judi Gibson and her effort to recruit seamstresses to create small burial outfits for babies who didn’t make it out of the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

“A lot of people think of a wedding as a beautiful day and a celebration,” says Schulz, a retired labor and delivery nurse from Minnesota. “But, for some families, it’s a sad time.” That’s why she and a team of seamstresses turned her own wedding dress into angel gowns to give to grieving families.

The tiny handmade gowns, which look like silk christening dresses for baby dolls, bring dignity to the little lives that never got to go home. The gowns are also a comfort for their parents who are left holding on to a precious memory. The volunteers work with a variety of donated wedding dresses, which are repurposed into tiny outfits that are designed to fit newborns up to 62 pounds. A single wedding dress can yield as many as 10 little gowns, according to the NICU Helping Hands website.

While the program accepts gowns from all over the world, its volunteers come mostly from the Minneapolis area. Each repurposed dress is sewn into a gown that resembles a soft christening dress for baby dolls, then donated to NICUs across the country. Those who donate the wedding dresses are asked to provide a $100 monetary donation to cover the cost of sewing and shipping the finished gowns. Women who don’t have a dress to donate can “sponsor” a dress for another woman who does.

Almost every year, more than 626,000 babies in the United States are stillborn or die after birth. The gowns, which are stitched together from donated wedding dresses, are meant to honor those children and offer hope to the parents who lose them.

Whether you’re attending a special event, taking a walk down the aisle or stepping out to celebrate an achievement, these beautiful gowns will add a touch of celestial beauty to your life. Shop the Jessica Angel formalwear collection to find the perfect dress for your next big moment. From sleek stretch fabrics that flatter to sexy designs with just the right amount of drama, this collection will help you feel like a flawless angel.