Made for love, with love: baby gowns to warm your heart
THOUSANDS of dresses that have adorned happy brides across the country are bringing a touch of solace to parents grieving the loss of their babies.
About 300 volunteers Australia-wide are turning 5000 wedding dresses into tiny garments for thousands of sons and daughters laid to rest each year.
In the past 12 months, Angel Gowns Australia has supplied 4500 gowns to 100 hospitals including Grafton Base Hospital.
Helping to lead the charge is Amy Pene, a 36-year-old mother from Springfield, near Ipswich.
"I was looking for something extra to do at home instead of the typical mother/housewife thing," the Angel Gowns Australia director said.
"A friend posted on Facebook that she became a volunteer for Angel Gowns Australia and I thought straight away 'That's exactly what I wanted to do'.
"I know people who have lost babies and being a mother of seven I'm a very maternal person.
"We're all about acknowledging that mums have had a baby (who has died)."
The gowns cost about $18 to make and post and are given to women who have miscarried or had a stillbirth.
"The babies are so tiny and there is nowhere to buy clothes for them," Mrs Pene said.
"We've had people say that they had to go to the toy store to buy something small enough.
"It's such a difficult time for families and to have complete strangers caring about you and your child is special."
Many Angel Gowns volunteers have lost babies.
"It's part of their healing process," Mrs Pene said.
The wedding gowns come from women of all ages and often have a sad story attached to it.
"It's really sad the amount of people who have lost their children," Mrs Pene said.
"A lot of ladies donate their wedding dress in memory of a baby they have lost.
"On your wedding day, your dress is so special and you have so much love in that dress.
"It's the day you marry the person of your dreams and then having these little garments made from a wedding dress, it's lovely to know it's got so much love in it."
To donate to the cause, visit http://www.angelgownprogram.org.au.