Wedding gowns are so gorgeous, it seems like a pity to wear them once and never use them again. A group of women in Michigan has come up with an unexpected but touching way to recycle used wedding gowns: They’re transforming them into dresses for stillborn babies and babies who die shortly after birth.
Organizers are holding a dress drive to collect the dresses with the help of the Star Legacy Foundation, a group that provides grief counseling for women who’ve experienced the loss of a baby. The organizers say the dress donations are a beautiful way for women to support each other. A gown from one woman’s best day can uplift another woman on her worst day.
“These gowns mean so much to us,” Leah Tharp, vice chair of the West Michigan chapter of the Star Legacy Foundation, told WXMI. “To be able to have something beautiful to send the baby off to the funeral home or to bury them in.”
When Leah’s son and daughter died, she dressed them both in gowns made by volunteers at Abigail’s Attic. The volunteers turn wedding dresses into little gowns for babies who are stillborn or who die in the NICU.
“This way I got to keep the outfit that I put my child in at the hospital and take that home so I have it. Then to be able to send them off in these beautiful things means just so much to us,” Leah said.
“Having one stillbirth is just absolutely devastating. To have two is soul-crushing,” Leah continued. “It happens at least once or twice here in Grand Rapids every day.”
The drive will take place on July 21. Though the organizers have collected close to 20 dresses in just a few days, they still need all the help they can get.
Footage provided by WXMI Grand Rapids