The Malta Independent 15 December 2017, Friday

Dress an Angel Malta: NGO providing support for couples who suffer through a miscarriage

Helena Grech Friday, 13 October 2017, 11:20 Last update: about 2 months ago

A newly formed NGO called ‘Dress an Angel – Malta’ is providing support to grieving couples who have miscarried, by providing small garments for the foetuses so that they may be properly buried.

A funeral takes place annually for miscarried babies around November, with this year’s taking place on 15 November.

Candace Vella Bencini, the organiser behind the local branch of ‘Dress an Angel’, explained that when she was recovering from her fourth pregnancy that she came across the NGO but on a foreign platform.

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This prompted her to get in contact with Sandra Castillo, Mater Dei’s bereavement officer, and a midwife to ask if anything similar was available in Malta. Some dedicated midwives who were able to sew would prefer tiny dresses or pockets for the purpose, but nothing was formally set up.

Today, Vella Bencini has managed to attracted six full time seamstresses to help make the garments. Previously, women would donate old wedding dresses or evening gowns and the garments would be cut from this. No more dresses are being collected because of the overwhelming response.

When it was just Vella Bencini, she quipped that she had no clue about how to sew, and it was YouTube videos, her father’s sewing machine and a lot of patience which got her to complete the first few garments.

There are some 400 miscarriages per year in Malta, with the vast majority happening at a very early stage of the pregnancy. Burials are carried out for foetuses from 10-12 weeks and upwards, prior to this, due to the small size, garments cannot be provided for.

The annual burial ceremony generally includes up to 50-60 babies. All available garments were presented, and were blessed by a priest who spoke of the grief many parents must suffer through.

Dress an Angel Malta started in May of last year

 

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