Yvonne Trimble, who is from the UK but lives in Cyprus, announced her donation in a Facebook post on 3 January.
Writing on the social network, she said: “Deciding in May 2015 that I would never wear my wedding dress again, I sent it to a charity that turns donated dresses into little gowns for babies who are stillborn or who die shortly after birth.”
“Yesterday they sent me pictures of what they had made with my dress and a mix of emotions swept over me when I received them; pride that I’d done something good, sadness that it’s necessary for these gowns to have to be made, relief that I’ve never known this heartbreak, and a sense of thankfulness that volunteers around the country give up their time to produce such comforting garments.”
Ms Trimble posted pictures of the gowns, each of which is unique, decorated with the original embroidery from her wedding dress.
She said she posted the images to advertise the services ofCherished Gowns, a UK-based charity whose volunteers create the gowns for bereaved parents.
To her surprise, her post became hugely popular, and at the time of writing has been shared by almost 100,000 people.
In a follow-up post, Ms Trimble said Cherished Gowns had received donations of over £1,000, to go towards postage costs, and pledges from 4,500 people who want to donate their wedding dresses.
In the post, she said she had been “very emotional” over the response to the images, and thanked everyone who had helped bring attention to the issue.
She wrote: “There’s not much I can say apart from thank you, thank you, thank you – none of this would have happened without you all sharing. Thank you for taking the time and for helping to make a dreadful period for bereaved families just a little better.”
According to the NHS, there are more than 3,600 stillbirths every year in the UK, with around one in every 200 pregnancies ending in a stillbirth.
Despite this relative frequency, stillbirth is rarely mentioned by parents who have suffered through it – making stories like Ms Trimble’s all the more important.
After receiving so much attention, Cherished Gowns is not accepting dress donations for the time being, but they are still calling for volunteers with skills in sewing, knitting and crocheting to make the gowns.