It's hard to know what to do for someone when tragedy strikes their lives. Bring over a casserole, send flowers, hold them when they cry? But we don't really know what they're going through, unless we've experienced it ourselves. Often the only true comfort comes from sharing with someone, even a complete stranger, who has gone through the same thing.
Penny Morrow knows that feeling. She had a miscarriage last year, and was having a hard time shaking off the deep “funk” she had slipped into. She wanted to do something to help others going through what she was, and suspected it might help her feel better. Morrow discovered an organization called Manitoba Angel Dresses, and immediately signed up to be the volunteer contact person for Steinbach and area. It was exactly what she needed to start her healing.
When premature or stillborn babies pass away, they would be usually be wrapped in a just a hospital towel or blanket. About a year ago, Mrs. Grubbs, a Texas wife to a premature baby specialist, started the Angel Gown program. She believed the passing of a child was a sacred event that deserved to be honoured, just like a marriage. So she organized some volunteer seamstresses to sew tiny baby dresses and outfits from donated wedding gowns. It was a way to offer grieving families a beautiful gift for “final photos” and burial services.
Manitoba Angel Dresses collects donated wedding and grad gowns, which are sewn into tiny dresses, outfits and wraps or buntings by volunteer seamstresses. The wedding dress is symbolic of love and hope for a new life ahead. Now this child who is so loved by its parents, is being wrapped in the bride's love. It affirms the importance of the life of the child, and although it doesn't take the parents' hurt away, it is one less thing they have to think about.
Morrow remembers that it was therapeutic to be able to talk to someone who really understood what she had gone through, which meant often talking to complete strangers rather than friends or family. She also recognized the need to validate and value each child and birth experience, no matter what age. Even the tiniest babies are wrapped in beautiful buntings and blankets made from the gowns. Every angel dress has love stitched right in, as seamstresses are mindful of what they are creating. Morrow agrees that although her baby was too tiny for a dress, she will never forget the baby she lost, and will feel the baby's impact on her life for the rest of her days. She would have loved to have wrapped her baby in a beautiful garment that carried with it love, hope and honour
Morrow wants to be able to share this gift with other parents who have babies that become angels much too soon. On November 7, 2014, Morrow will present the Bethesda Hospital with outfits from Manitoba Angel Dresses, so every angel baby will be dressed in a special gown to honour both their existence, and their parents who are left to grieve their loss.
If you would like to donate a wedding or grad gown, contact Penny Morrow at 204-381-3454. If you would like more information about Manitoba Angel Dresses, see their Facebook page.