My Wed­ding Dress For Bro­ken Hearts

Griev­ing mum Jo­hanne do­nated her wed­ding gown to help ease other par­ents’ pain…

Pick Me Up! - - FRONT PAGE - Jo­hanne Lick­ers, 38, Tad­caster

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

Martin

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.

Sad shopping

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.

So beau­ti­ful

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

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