The loss of a baby is a devastating experience for any family, but for families who have lost infants in the hospital, angel gowns offer a small piece of hope. Often stitched together from donated wedding dresses, these tiny outfits are offered to hospitals and birthing centers, as well as directly to grieving families completely free of charge.
When Justine Deslauriers of Indiana lost her daughter at 20 weeks pregnant, she knew that she wanted something to help her through the difficult times. She contacted a local volunteer project and learned about their efforts to create gowns for babies who have died in the hospital.
She decided to donate her own wedding dress. Now, she says, her gown is part of a team of seamstresses that make these gowns for newborns who pass away from premature birth or other causes.
Across the United States, these dresses are being made by selfless brides who are giving their wedding dresses a second life in the form of angel gowns. Mrs Grubbs, who collects the dresses from a wide range of sources, including thrift stores and online, works with volunteer seamstresses to turn them into tiny burial outfits that resemble christening gowns for children.
They are meant to serve as a final memorial before a baby is buried. They also can be used as a ‘final photo’, for example, when a family wants to remember their child in a special way.
A volunteer group in Indianapolis, Indiana, called NICU Helping Hands, is working to make angel gowns available to families who have lost their children in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit. They enlist a network of local sewing volunteers to help make these funeral gowns and keep them in stock at the hospital.
These gowns are made by a volunteer workforce of seamstresses and assemble with love to give comfort to a grieving family who is facing the unimaginable loss of a child.
Many of these gowns are designed with phrases such as “heaven’s angel” and other sentiments. They are then prayed over to provide a little bit of peace for the family during this very stressful time.
This volunteer program in Indianapolis is one of many around the country that turn donated wedding dresses into these delicate angel gowns for prematurely born babies. Each gown is embroidered with a prayer and is donated to hospitals or directly to families in need of these special garments.
There are several ways to donate your wedding dress, from donating it directly to the organization, to making a financial donation that goes toward the costs of creating the gowns. These generous donations will include the golden keepsake angel, a beautiful gift box, and the direct delivery into the hands and heart of the grieving family.
You can even donate your wedding dress through our international program, where it will be distributed to a developing nation (currently Guatemala) and a seamstress will be chosen who will work on the dresses for her own family. The process of transforming the dresses from a bride’s dream into a family’s reality is truly incredible and inspiring.