Woman Has Wedding Dress Made Into 17 Angel Gowns

"Who wouldn’t want to help ease the burden for a family who shouldn’t have to be in that situation?"

Justi Underwood Bates from Oak Grove, Kentucky is receiving thousands of messages after posting a picture of a box of tiny gowns. 

The gowns, made out of her wedding dress, will be donated to the Vanderbilt Hospital's Natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for babies who don't survive.

"I sent (the wedding dress) off earlier this year to be made into angel gowns for babies that don't make it home from the hospital" Bates wrote in the post, "and I'll be donating them to the NICU at Vanderbilt. Seventeen little gowns were made from my dress and as beautiful as they are, I pray they are never needed."

Bates spoke with Spouse Buzz about her decision to donate her wedding dress.

"I saw a news story a couple of years ago about a lady who had donated her wedding dress to be made into angel gowns. I got tired of seeing my dress just hanging in the back of my closet when it could be helping families in their times of need, " she told Spouse Buzz in an email. "I've never personally experienced infant loss, but that didn't stop my heart from going out to those who have."

Her photo was reposted by viral site Love What Matters, accumulating hundreds of thousands of reactions.

Since posting the photograph, Bates has been swamped with messages on Facebook. She recently posted the name of the gown-maker — realimprints.org — to her Facebook wall in response to those asking for information on how to help.

Bates hopes her Facebook post will encourage people to help the grieving families of lost infants.

"I'm hoping it can inspire people and show them there are so many people in the world who are willing to open their hearts and help others with no personal gain," she told Spouse Buzz. "You're choosing to help someone in one of their greatest times of need. In such a tragic situation, who wouldn't want to help ease the burden for a family who shouldn't have to be in that situation?"

The CIA World Facebook reports that as of 2015, the United States is currently ranked #167 of 224 countries in infant mortality with 5.87 infant deaths per 1000 live births. In 2014 the Washington Post noted America lagged behind 27 other wealthy countries in infant mortality rates, calling it a "national embarrassment." 

The Center for Disease Control writes that they are "committed to improving birth outcomes" in America and have outlined a number of ways that they hope to do so, including improved education and prenatal monitoring initiatives.

(H/T: Love What Matters/DowzerW)