My Wedding Dress For Broken Hearts
Grieving mum Johanne donated her wedding gown to help ease other parents’ pain…
This was every mother’s worst nightmare. ‘I’m afraid it’s unlikely your daughter will survive for more than a few days,’ a doctor said gently.
How could this have happened to us?
My precious little girl Teagan was just two days old.
I was utterly inconsolable. It was November 2014 and she’d arrived three days after her due date.
Me and my husband Dave, then 29, were besotted from the instant we saw her.
And her older sisters Shannon, then 16, and Maddison, 3, were both beyond excited as well.
But now we had to break the terrible news to them that their new baby sister wouldn’t be coming home with us. Teagan had been born with Patau’s syndrome – a rare genetic disorder caused by having an additional copy of chromosome 13 in all of the body’s cells.
We were warned it causes a wide range of health conditions, including eye problems, deafness, facial abnormalities – the list just went on and on.
And when we were told most babies only live for a few days, my whole body went numb.
‘No,’ I cried. ‘There must be something you can do.’
But there’s no known cure for the condition.
My heart was in pieces.
Doctors arranged for
Teagan to be moved to
House Children’s Hospice.
Meanwhile, the girls came to see their sister, unaware that she was so poorly.
I dreaded having to tell them the awful truth.
Shannon was old enough to understand, but little Maddison was so confused.
‘Teagan can’t come home with us,’ Dave gently explained. ‘She’s got to go and be with the angels.’ She was so upset. ‘No, Daddy,’ she sobbed. At the hospice, Shannon played the guitar and sang nursery rhymes.
And we took prints of Teagan’s hands and feet.
Then, at four days old, our baby girl slipped away. Numb, I went out shopping to find a suitable outfit for my baby to be cremated in. Being surrounded by happy mums buying clothes for their own healthy tots just made my pain even more raw.
I had to fight back the tears as I paid for a pink dress, tights and matching hat from Next.
And my heart ached as I dressed Teagan in it myself. My little girl should have been wearing this as we proudly showed her off to our family and friends. Not this.
Anything but this.
We held Teagan’s funeral on 9 December.
And in the weeks that followed, I was showered with painful reminders of my baby girl.
I kept seeing babies dressed in the little outfit I’d chosen to cremate Teagan in. ‘It hurts so much,’ I sobbed to Dave. A reminder of the life we should’ve been living. But somehow, our lives went on. In 2016, I fell pregnant again. After losing Teagan, I was on eggshells. Meanwhile, I came across a page on Facebook called Cherished Gowns for Angel Babies.
It’s a charity that turns wedding dresses into special burial gowns for babies whose lives are cut short.
It was such a lovely idea.
Dave and I had tied the knot back in March 2010.
My dress was a gorgeous, ivory, strapless number with a sweetheart neckline.
I cherished it dearly and would’ve loved to have had a dress made for Teagan from it.
It would’ve been so very special and unique.
And it would’ve spared me the absolute agony of shopping for a little outfit for her.
‘I don’t want another mum to go through what I have,
’ I told Dave.
So I contacted the charity and donated my treasured wedding dress to them.
Weeks later, in March this year, I was sent some photos of the tiny outfits that had been made from it.
They looked beautiful.
I hope they help another mum, I thought.
Shortly after that, in May, I gave birth to 5lb 12oz Jackson.
He was perfect and brought us so much happiness. Maddison just adores him, and she tells him every day about their baby sister.
‘She’s with the angels,’ she explains to her brother. And she’s right. Teagan’s left her footprint in all of our hearts.
Sweet dreams, darling.
I was showered with painful reminders of her We had four precious days With teagan...
I’ll always have photos of my treasured gown
The tiny outfits made from my dress
Our family – with baby Jackson