“Angel babies that we have lost are forever close our Hearts“
– Felicia Tan
And this is how Angel Hearts came to be. We decided to adopt the name Angel Hearts (AH) instead of Angel Gowns (AG) as Angel Hearts also encompasses the other serviceswe provideto help our bereaved families cope with grief bringing comfort as we travel together along this long and difficult journey.
Dress angel babies with dignity for their final journey by repurposing wedding gowns.
Provide bereaved parents avenues to be supported by those who have suffered similar losses.
Instill hope and provide services for bereaved families to rebuild their family.
PEOPLE BEHIND ANGEL HEARTS
Co Founder, Marketing and Operations Lead
Having gone through multiple pregnancy losses and the loss of her 26 week daughter prematurely birthed, Ros feels deeply for mothers who have gone through similar losses.
She remembered how after a 36 hour labour and days of on standby in the NICU, she and her husband had to hunt the shopping centres for a suitable dress for the funeral when her daughter passed away, in the festive Christmas season so that her daughter can be dressed with dignity for her final journey.
And this is the motivation behind Angel Gowns project, so that no family have to go through similar again.
With no sewing skills and non profit experience, she took a sabbatical in mid 2016 to kick start the cause. Joined by other experienced sewists from a local Facebook sewing hobby group, together they prototyped and customised the sizes of the angel gowns and apparel to suit Asian sizing and organised the distribution of the angel apparel to the hospitals.
The cause grew quicker than expected with mothers sharing similar stories about how their babies didn’t have anything to wear during their last journey and many lamented on the loss. The wedding gowns came pouring in and commercial warehouse space rented to store them.
It took long hours to process the donated gowns, the sweat working in the hot and dusty warehouse and even tears as she and the core team learnt how to manage volunteers’ expectations and demands to even the wee hours.
The grief doesn’t end after the funeral, many mothers came forward and shared how they wish they had emotional support after their losses, pregnancy and infant loss is a taboo topic and it’s awkward to talk about it when family members and society out of good intentions tell them to move on and life goes on. The bereaved mother and father is left to grieve alone and some turn into unresolved grief, resulting in a less positive quality of life.
Bereaved volunteers shared how volunteering at Angel Gowns have helped them process their grief and helped them cope with their losses, even years after their loss.
Hence the decision was made to do more than the Angel Gowns and reaching out to Felicia Tan who shared similar losses, Angel Hearts was created to bring comfort to bereaved parents through craft and grief management workshops.
Co Founder, Media and Fund Raising Lead
Felicia has gone through multiple pregnancy losses, including a twin pregnancy. She worked through her grief by writing and publishing 3 books on her journey and appeared on various media channels to bravely share her experience and how she grew stronger after each loss.
Despite doing all these, she felt she can do more and thus reached out to Rosalind to see how they can build on the synergy and common grounds to help the community.
With her personal media experience, she became the public face of Angel Hearts, sharing passionately the cause in media and interviews, creating awareness of pregnancy and infant losses, abolishing this taboo topic and the measures to cope with grief.
She also brought with her many years of experience as an entrepreneur with her own graphic and web design business, and sustainability measures to continue the cause in the long run which includes revenue generation through fund raising and CSR programs. In December 2017, Angel Hearts registered as a Company Limited by Guarantee (CLG) and is actively fund raising so that we can build a steady stream of income to sustain the cause in the long run.
Coming on board, learning upfront on hand, what is the current process and to make changes or even improve on it isn’t easy. A lot of things have been running as it is since day 1 already and to find improvement or make changes isn’t easy for volunteers to adapt to it, and sometimes even not well received. However, as a partner with Rosalind, she braved it through. Often wondering, will it make any sense, is it worth the effort.
Together with Rosalind, they sweated it through, multiple discussions, staring into empty spaces and sometimes nothing coming out of from the conversations. Not to mention, it always lead to weekend discussions as well, it is constantly on our minds, how to streamline the process, better management, react quicker to expectation of the public and even with our volunteers.
It also put a big challenge to the new found friendship between the 2 people who came together just because of each past experiences and wanting to help build a cause once in a kind in Singapore, often reminds us to put our differences aside but to focus on the goal and uphill task in front.
Our next milestone ahead will be to attain the “Charity” status, that will help us march forward progressively. We need all the help in doing that, however with a community and an answering nation, we know that it is just a matter of time.
History of Angel Gowns (AG)
AG started off from a Facebook post in the sewing group community a year ago and has evolved into a platform to comfort bereaved women and send angel babies off with dignity.
How it all started
The first meet up was held in October 2016 and therefore form Angel Gowns. There were just 5 women back then who wanted to make a difference to help the bereaved. With minimum knowledge, they sat and worked on prototypes, trying to figure out on sizing, shapes to work on.
Angel Gowns came from United States, where they already had the movement across US adopting and adapting it across different states
why wedding gown?
“The gowns were used for happy occasions. When you link that love and happiness of the person who wore it, we hope it brings an element of love and comfort to a sad event.”
– Andrea Toh
So from wedding gowns, we re-purpose to Angel Gowns
From Angel Gowns, we extend the range to beanies, bonnets and receiving blankets…
Wedding gowns and other materials are donated by members of the public
Gowns and materials are taken apart by volunteers and packed into kits
Kits are distributed to volunteers
Volunteers sew, crochet, knit andembellish various angel apparel
Completed items are Qc before sending to packing team volunteers
Volunteers launder, iron, sew on an angel charm on each apparel and pack
Delivery to partner hospitals
To date, we have:
donated gowns received
gowns, wraps & beanies delivered
hours training volunteers
hours spend sewing
hours meet up sessions
We are thankful for all the people who have contributed, donated and even worked with us. The truth is, we keep on sewing, the cause continued, the question is are you on board?
Nothing is made possible also without the collaboration with our corporate partners who helped delivered the gowns directly to the bereaved with immediate needs, love and attention. The various organisations (alphabetical order) are: