26th June 2014
As a midwife, one of the hardest things to deal with is the death of a baby. To assist a mother to hold her precious angel child - to marvel in his delicately long fingers, or the curve of her perfect toes or the way his ears are the same shape as his Dad’s - is both beautiful and heartbreaking.
Despite the emotional intensity that these situations bring, it is such a privilege to care for these families - to be there at an acutely personal and painful time in their lives; to help them in any way possible; to honour their child and his place within their family. We want them to know that we recognise how special their baby is. How important her existence is, and that she won’t be forgotten. That people care about them and what they’re going through. To see the depth of a family’s grief and know that there is so little we can do to help, is difficult.
Angel Gowns Australia not only provides solace for the grieving family, but comfort to those caring for them. The concept of their Angel Gowns is such a beautiful one. At the time when a baby dies, families are so overwhelmed by what has happened, making decisions can be very difficult.
Recently, one of the families in my care experienced the devastation of their baby dying unexpectedly. When this happens, through the haze of grief and disbelief, it can be very hard for parents to make decisions. One of their concerns was about what their baby would wear. I felt very fortunate to be able to tell them about Angel Gowns Australia, despite it being a weekend and late at night when I contacted Fiona, she didn’t hesitate to come straight to the hospital the following morning with a selection of exquisite angel gowns to choose from. The parents were so appreciative and were able to have some beautiful photos taken of their precious girl looking just like a little sleeping princess. It was truly special.
It is not just the physical gift of the gown itself, but also the tremendous love and care that is put into making each and every gown, which makes it so special. It also helps to create extra memories which are so important for the family to hold onto.
Fiona is absolutely passionate about what she is doing. It is something which touches people’s hearts and souls. Fiona is also passionate about raising the awareness of infant death and that it’s okay (and in fact, necessary) to talk about it. As a midwife, anything we can do to ease the difficulty and sadness of neonatal deaths is something we are keen to pursue, so I am very grateful for Fiona’s dedication to providing such an amazing service.
Sarah Henderson-Smith, Registered Midwife
18th June 2014
To describe my experience in one word my experience with Angel Gowns Australia would simply be magical.
My angel Clara passed away at three weeks old. Just as the world and ourselves were getting to know her. Her death was very sudden and completely unexpected.
In my grief and sorrow I reached out for someone to help me dress her in something beautiful and personal to her.
Within minutes I had been contacted by Angel Gowns Australia who not only gave me the comfort that they would like to help but the stunning handcrafted gown being made that night with so much love that Clara was there with every stitch.
She was a perfectly healthy baby, who was passing all her milestones at greater rates than expected as she knew she had to give us as many as she could to show us how capable she was.
I have found in these a lot of the clichés because they are so true. Once you have a tiny human come into your life, the world becomes a far different place, and teaches you a whole new form of love you never knew existed.
She has changed me forever, and I believe she always knew how long she had and her job was to show me how capable I can be, not only as a person but as a mother, after many years of doubt and horrible experiences.
To then lose this love is an unimaginable pain nobody should have to experience. Angel Gowns helped us in words that could never be told.
From all the bereaved mothers out there, the saying “You are not alone” has never been so true. We are NOT alone BECAUSE of many organizations such as Angel Gowns who will always be there to create some light in the direst of days.
Upon opening the parcel it bought a rare smile to my face and immediate tears on how little, and perfect it was, just like her.
From someone's most happy and special day that likely would sit in your cupboard forever, to creating many special gowns for far too many angels taken from us far too soon is the answer to the question you have after that special day?
Donate or consider donating your wedding gown to this more than worthy cause and you will know that little angels everywhere will be sending their love for making one of the saddest days so sweet.
This wondrous, completely volunteer organisation, as much as we wish didn't have to exist, is a lifeline for mothers like myself who want their precious angels to feel special on the outside as they were on the inside.
I just wanted to share this with you. Just over 1 year ago I lost my sweet baby girl Millie ( born the 24.11.2014 , passed the 25.11.2014) . I had 33 hours with her before she passed away. With all the upset and everything going on.
A lovely social worker gave us a lot of things. One was a beautiful little box , with this amazing little gown in it. My partner and I had decided not to change Millie as we already had her in a change of clothes and wrapped in a shirt we both wore while we had her with us.
I had wanted to find a bear to go in it before the 1year anniversary, and have it displayed for then, we went to build a bear and found one we liked, and also have a recording of Millie's actual heart beat placed inside.
My two other kids helped at build a bear to fill the bear with love . It's just so lovely with the organisation that you guys do, sadly I'm a family that has had to walk this path. It's a beautiful gift to have these gowns to choose to have our little ones dressed in for the final goodbye, or to keep and have a gorgeous bear ( as I have done ) to keep.
Thank you so much to everyone apart of angel gown team. Amy
On the 7th August 2015 my precious son Leo Vincent McGrath grew his angel wings at only 11 hours old.
My beautiful friend Sarah Hermann contacted you and organised an outfit to be made from my wedding dress for Leo to be buried in.
I just want to thank you for the beautiful outfit it was just absolutely perfect, better than I could have imagined.
Attached is a picture of my son and I have also attached a picture of the gown you made for him.
I am forever grateful x x
I cannot put into words how excited I am to finally be able to donate my wedding dress.
My soul mate, my best friend, my husband passed away 10 years ago from an brain aneurysm & I never got the chance to say goodbye. So I cannot think of a more fitting way for my dress to be used to help for just a little bit to give some parents & their families something precious for their precious little ones.
And it makes my heart swell with pride that these little darlings are draped in something that came from our big day of love & I know in my heart that my husband will be watching over it all.
Thank you so much Angel Gowns Australia for this opportunity Xx
2nd March 2016
Today I made the decision to send you my beautiful wedding dress.
I have always wanted to do something wonderful with my dress, and when I saw your page this morning- I knew I had found it.
My heart filled with warmth and the excitement was incredible.
I took the huge white box out of the top of my wardrobe and opened it with the same excitement I felt the day that I wore it.
I lovingly packaged it up and felt no sadness saying a quick goodbye as I knew this amazing dress was going to live in heaven.
I can't imagine a lovelier gift to give families who are mourning the death of a child. I don't have my own children, but can only imaging the devastation that these families experience.
I think the service that you provide is amazing and awe inspiring! This was something I didn't even have to think twice about... It just felt right.
Lots of love Natalie Edwards xx
I would be more than happy for you to post my words, as I could only hope it may touch others to be a part of this amazing project... Which is simply magical.
I can only think that there are so many mums who cradle your tiny gowns in their arms where their beautiful angel once was.
Keep strong Fiona, you are an angel yourself. It takes a very special person to do what you are doing.
And when you feel like it's all too much- just think of this:
When it comes time for you to grow your angel wings, there will be so many beautiful angel babies all wearing your gowns welcoming you with love in their hearts and smiles on their faces.
I wish I could contribute more to this amazing project.
Lots of love Nat xx
On the 5th May 2014 my husband and I did the hardest and saddest thing in our whole life. We bought our baby girl Annabelle into this world at just 20weeks and 3 days of age. When we made this heart wrenching decision, I thought to myself what will I dress her in? She only weighed 290 grams.
I was fortunate to have heard about Angel Gowns and contacted them to see if they could make a gown for my Angel Annabelle to sleep for eternity in.
Heather (Act Branch Manager) and Fiona (Founder and Manager) both contacted me to arrange to pick up my dress. Fiona came to my house and together we decided what part of my gown to use. I then delivered Annabelle and was able to spend time with her.
Her 2 big sisters, my husband and I got to make memories for us to hang on too. We took photos of our angel, in her gown so the world could see how beautiful she is, (I look at it in the way, she will never get her own wedding gown, so this is her version). Annabelle was dressed in her gown by our amazing funeral director and laid to rest in style, with grace and dignity.
I can't thank enough what these ladies enabled us to do for our Annabelle, their amazingly big hearts and love for what they do is mind-blowing. Thank you ladies and the Angel gown team for making our Annabelle this gown. Fiona was even so sweet as to make a replica gown for me to keep, it will be framed with Annabelle’s hand and foot moulds and take pride of place on our wall.
Please everyone get behind this amazing organisation, donate your wedding gowns, bridesmaids gowns, flower girl dresses, also cotton/thread, sewing needles, un-pickers, lace, ribbon and pre-paid postage bags so they can send gown to all the other beautiful Angel babies out there, it really makes a difference.
Thanks again to Angel Gowns Australia Family, with love Jaye, Matthew, Charlotte, Sophie and Annabelle Cox