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Why a funeral director makes clothes for stillborn babies

LeighAnne Funeral Director
BBC News | Facebook | Fair Use

After burying so many without clothes, she wants to dress little ones with dignity.

As a funeral director, LeighAnne Wright has buried many stillborn babies, and often they arrive from the hospital wrapped in tissue paper or, worse, in a kidney dish. Because these babies are usually too small for regular baby clothes, they were often buried without any, but LeighAnne decided someone needed to change that. “There was no dignity,” she said. “And that’s what we wanted to provide.”

She started by making a couple of outfits, and she now supplies 31 hospitals in the UK and has dressed over 3,500 babies. “We have requests weekly for these outfits,” she said. In the US, there are approximately 24,000 stillbirths every year, according to the CDC, which defines a stillbirth as the loss of a baby after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

“When a baby dies,” LeighAnne said, “you lose control of all the things you wanted to do for them, so to give parents back some control seems to help with the healing process.” Her clothes recognize the dignity of these littlest of people and the immense value of their lives, no matter how long or how short.

Our culture has grown to value a child on circumstances like whether that child is wanted or how able that child is; maybe these small but loving gestures that testify to the value of each life, even very short ones, can help to change that.

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