Angel Gowns Offer Comfort and Peace

angel gowns

In the grand tapestry of life, there are moments of immense joy and times of heartbreaking sorrow. For parents who experience the unimaginable loss of a baby before, during or shortly after birth, angel gowns can offer comfort and peace.

These tiny garments, often made from repurposed wedding dresses, are gifted to families through hospital bereavement programs and directly to grieving parents. They are also cherished keepsakes, preserving precious memories that last a lifetime.

The work of the seamstresses is a labor of love. They volunteer their time and skill to transform the lace, satin and silk of donated wedding gowns into the little dresses that are presented to grieving families. For many, it is a way to honor their own losses and to help those whose experiences are very different from theirs.

For instance, Edith splurged on a new sewing machine and now stitches phrases like “heaven’s angel” onto the gowns. Shirley adds antique buttons she’s collected from her mother’s collection and often sews hats and tiny pillows to each outfit, inspired by the movie It’s A Wonderful Life (at the end of the film Jimmy Stewart’s character rings a bell signifying that Clarence the angel has received his wings).

Every year in the United States alone, over 626,000 babies are born through stillbirth or miscarriage. It is the goal of our organization to provide a beautiful one-of-a-kind, angel gown to every child who doesn’t get to go home with his or her parents.

In our community, two women who have a very personal connection to the work of angel gowns are Dawn Crippen and her daughter Krystle Black. They started the Little Angel Gowns SW MI Chapter of this national nonprofit last year after they were moved by an article in The Kalamazoo Gazette.

The organization works in partnership with hospitals and birthing centers to provide the dresses to families free of charge. They are used for final photos or to dress a baby for burial. The mother-daughter duo make the garments in their home and spend each morning after they drop their children off at school before sewing into the night.

Our NICU team is proud to work with Dignity Health – St Mary Medical Center, which is committed to providing compassionate care and a healing environment to its patients. We are honored to receive their gifts of love and comfort, including these beautiful angel gowns.

If you would like to donate your own wedding dress to be transformed into an angel gown, please contact us here! You will be able to follow your dress’ journey to a developing country (Guatemala is currently the country dresses are going to), meet your seamstress via social media and learn about her family. You can choose to have your dresses sent to a developing country or have them returned to you to be donated in the States. We hope that you will consider donating your dress to our organization!