05 January 2009
Angel gowns: when pregnancy ends in heartache
I came across a really interesting concept recently that made me think about an issue that I tend to forget as I rant about pregnancy, losing baby weight and the fatuous lives of celebrities. Dana, from Unique Christening Gowns in Melbourne, pointed me in the direction of her online store as a reminder that sometimes pregnancy ends in heartache. After all, according to the Bonnie Babies Foundation, one in every four pregnancies ends in a loss from miscarriage and stillbirth. Over 17,000 babies are born prematurely, many of them often struggling for life. The organisation provides free grief counseling for couples that have lost a child due to miscarriage, stillbirth or prematurity.
Dana creates beautiful gowns for parents to bury their babies, 'angel gowns', a product that is strangely non-existent in the mainstream market. As grief counselors tell grieving parents to find a way to connect with their babies' short lives, often having a proper funeral is an important way for parents to farewell their children meaningfully. I have heard over and over again from women who have miscarried how angry they are when friends and relatives respond to their grief with the statement that they can just 'try again', implying that a miscarriage is not the loss of an actual 'life' to many women. A number of women in my study told me that it took them months and even years to feel confident enough to try for another baby after so many previous disappointments.