In September 1997, a young woman named Diana miscarried triplets five months into her pregnancy. As she and her husband sadly prepared for their babies' funeral, they discovered there was no place to purchase clothing small enough to properly fit the tiny infants. This bereaved mother found herself in the Toys-R-Us store shopping for doll clothing in which to bury her children.
There are approximately 25,000-30,000 infant deaths in America each year. Many of these are premature stillborn babies. In the past, it was often believed the best way to deal with an infant's death was to quickly take away and bury the child. Often parents didn't hold or even see their baby. Many times the child went unnamed. Usually, no service was held and the parents were encouraged to move on and forget the sad event.
Thankfully, today it is recognized that these parents need to be allowed to bond with the baby who has died by holding their baby, naming their baby, and acknowledging the child's existence with a funeral service. Many hospitals have special programs to help in the bereavement process. One thing missing which could further assist the family has been the availability of affordable, proper fitting clothing for burial.
Did you know that many parents whose premature babies die need to shop toy stores for burial clothing? This is often a traumatic experience for them and the clothing usually does not fit properly. After hearing Diana's story and speaking with a local funeral home director and the chaplain at an area hospital, the Tuesday women's Bible study at St. John Lutheran church in Waverly, Iowa decided to respond to this need by organizing the Diana's Angels Project.
Much prayerful and thoughtful planning followed this decision. Thanks to the wonderful talents of a member of the group and some helpful advice from the nurses at one of the local hospitals, patterns were soon designed and drawn. Many hands came together to assist in all sorts of ways and all our needs to make the clothing a reality were met. God began His work in the Bible study group in September 1997 with the story of Diana and by December 1997 clothing was sewn and placed at area hospitals.
However, this was just the beginning for this ministry. Today many Diana's Angels groups all over America are busy at work sewing for a large number of hospitals. Thousands of tiny outfits have been lovingly sewn and used to clothe some of God's smallest precious creations. All glory be to God and may He continue blessing this ministry.