Comfort to families who have suffered the loss of a newborn is available through a community volunteer program at Marian Regional Medical Center of Santa Maria.
“Angel Gowns for Dignity” transforms donated wedding dresses into handmade gowns for babies who never make it home from the hospital. These “angel” gowns are gifted to grieving families for final photographs or burial.
Susan Breshears, senior financial analyst at Marian, says she was moved to bring this program to MRMC “to provide these special babies with dignity in death. Like our ministry at Marian, this program reflects what we stand for as an organization — to provide each person with the inherent dignity they deserve and to provide families in need with compassion and kindness.”
Many families who have lost a child experience great difficulty finding burial outfits since traditional pieces of baby clothing are often too large for stillborn or premature infants. Through Angel Gowns for Dignity families can select two gowns: one for burial and one as a keepsake for families to cherish and remember their baby.
Since the program’s inception in April, more than 20 seamstresses are donating their time to sew the angel gowns, and more than 100 wedding dresses have been donated.
“I have experienced four miscarriages and it means the world to me that my dress will provide comfort to a family experiencing such pain and sorrow,” explains registered nurse Carrie Camacho, one of 15 MRMC employees who have donated their wedding dresses to Angel Gowns for Dignity. “My hope is that I am able to bless another family and that through my donation they will feel the love I felt when I got married.”
“Parents are usually never prepared for the loss of a baby,” adds Mary Richards, registered nurse and Newborn ICU clinical nurse specialist. “The end of life should be as beautiful as the beginning of life. My prayer is that angel gown donations will honor these little angels and be both a positive and emotional gift for families.”
To make a contribution in support of the Angel Gowns for Dignity Program, contact the Marian Foundation, (805) 739-3595.