Losing a child is one of life’s inexplicable and difficult tragedies. Losing a newborn child is especially hard, as parents go on an emotional roller coaster from the thrill of meeting their new child to suddenly mourning their loss.
In the midst of this pain, grief stricken parents are left to deal with the worst news of their lives in an unfamiliar environment. One organization is doing everything they can to help ease the suffering for everyone who find themselves in the horrific situation of having to say goodbye to their newborn baby at the hospital.
NICU Helping Hands is providing parents with a tangible gift, something heartfelt and warm to both honor their child’s birth and allow for a little dignity in the moments after the precious life has passed.
The NICU Helping Hands President, Lisa Grubbs described the moment she knew she had to do something.
“I remember walking down a hallway, and seeing a mother digging through a bucket or laundry basket of donated clothing, after she had bee told her baby was dying. There was nothing dignifying about that moment. I was horrified,” she said.
“As adults we would never do that. We spend time selecting the garment our loved one will be buried in. It’s their last time to be dressed and it’s an act of reverence, love and respect in the choosing of that.”
Jenefer and Gabe Hath’s precious daughter, Gracelynn, only lived 28 minutes outside the womb. “Cinderella dressed up for a ball. Sleeping Beauty was all dressed up. Why not dress her up to meet God almighty, the Creator?”
Grubbs says she felt like she had to do something about this problem to help grieving parents. So, she got her wedding dress and made bereavement gowns out of it for the hospital.
When the local news channel covered the story, the mission grew rapidly.
The Angel Gown Program now turns wedding dresses into small gowns to honor the life of the deceased by sending them to grieving families.
The Fort Worth, TX based organization’s support now goes beyond the garments. They are also dedicated to supporting and educating families that have babies in the NICU as well as ones that have faced infant loss.
But now the group is in desperate need of America’s help to cover their shipping costs so they can continue providing the service that’s dependent on volunteers and donations.
NICU reported that last year alone they spent $35,000 on shipping.
Grubbs said they are facing the possibility they might have to say no to people.
“We’ve never had to tell a family no,” Grubbs said. However,”we’ve had a very busy year-and-a-half” and we are facing a new challenge. But truly, “We don’t ever want a family to feel like they can’t have one.”
The cost of sending a one pound box which is the weight of the dress with the proper wrapping costs the team between $25-35 for two-day mail. And based on their budget, Grubbs said,“We’re not actually able to cover that cost, currently.”
Normally the garments are sent to hospitals as well as homes at no cost to the recipient.
Donations can be submitted online: nicuhelpinghands.org/donate.
Checks can be mailed to the following address:
3023 S. University Dr.
Fort Worth, TX 76109
At this time only monetary donations are needed.
The community based non-profit is part of the Preemie Parent Alliance which has 30 member organizations across the United States, PPA’s website said.