Every day, babies are born stillborn or too premature to live. Their devastated parents will go through a variety of emotions in dealing with the loss. Parents who suffer such a loss are now being given a unique gift, a beautiful gown in which to lay their baby to rest, created with love from a donated bridal dress.
NICU Helping Hands is a non-profit organization which provides services to families affected by the hospitalization a newborn baby. Those services include parent support and education, sibling support, hospital to home preparation, memory archiving, antepartum support, transport support, bereavement, and baby gowns.
Lisa Grubbs, founder of NICU Helping Hands in Fort Worth, Texas, created The Angel Gowns Program in order to help grieving parents. She knows it won’t end their pain, but it lets the parents know that their child’s life was valued, even by strangers.
Grubbs, the wife of a specialist for premature babies, has worked diligently to create a team of volunteer seamstresses, including her mother. Each dress can be transformed into about a dozen baby gowns. Grubbs told KHOU in Houston:
There’s something hopeful about that start of life, about a wedding, and to me, it’s that full circle. This child who is so loved by its parents, being wrapped in love by a bride.
According to Grubbs, often times, babies would simply be wrapped in a towel or blanket, but with the donated gowns, the parents are able to give their babies something special to show how much he or she is loved.
One of the volunteer seamstresses told KHOU that she sews the gowns in honor of her infant son whom she lost 30 years ago. LaJean Sturman explains that if she had received such a gown for her son, it would have meant everything to her. She says she would have felt like she was saying goodbye to him in a special outfit, rather than one that was ordinary and perhaps didn’t properly fit him.
Joy Rodriguez, Grubbs’ mother, says:
I’ll never know the baby, mother or dad, but I hope they know some sense of love and caring that went into the gown. My prayer is that none of these ever have to be used.
NICU Helping Hands is holding their annual fundraiser, Burgers 4 Babies in April in Fort Worth. Money raised will help the organization with its mission. In addition to monetary donations, The Angel Gowns Program is seeking donated wedding dresses and volunteer seamstresses. Visit nicuhelpinghands.org for more information.