A not-for-profit group who sew beautiful, handmade gowns for stillborn babies has been banned from setting up their stall at a Baby Welcome and Family Expo.

Angel Babies Up North in FNQ founder, Jeananne Orf­anos, said she was told her stall would be ‘unfitting’ at the event by the Cairns Regional Council, reports Daily Mail.

She claimed she was told by someone from the council that: ‘The expo aims to celebrate live babies and you’re promoting dead babies – you might make people depressed’.

Ms Orfanos, who has run her Angel Babies Up North in FNQ group for the past four years, turns donated wedding dresses into tiny, hand-sewn gowns and outfits.

She then gives them away to mourning families free of charge.

“I tried about five times, and they kept saying no as it might make new mothers depressed”

‘I was stunned when they told me we couldn’t be there,’ Ms Orfanos told Daily Mail Australia.

‘I tried about five times, and they kept saying no as it might make new mothers depressed.

‘I even said I would modify the stall, and still the application was rejected.

‘In fact, our stall is really discreet – there are no horrible photos or anything, and nothing controversial.

‘All we wanted to do was take down a vinyl doll as a replica of a 20-month-old baby, put her in an angel gown, and display some of the other dresses.

‘But it’s still taboo. No one talks about stillborns.’

Ms Orfanos, she set up Angel Babies Up North in FNQ over three years ago, after her son and his wife lost their first-born child:

‘When they met her, she was just wrapped in gauze and a paper bag,’ she said.

‘When I discovered that there was such a thing that was beautiful and could celebrate the child still, I wanted to get involved.’

Hence, the establishment of Angel Babies Up North in FNQ, which has since been to three wedding expos in the past.

‘Why would a council deem it unfit to showcase an item that can change the course of a parent’s grief for the better? I just don’t understand it,’ mum, Nene Fulcher, from Adelaide, told Daily Mail Australia.

Ms Fulcher lost her own son, Jacob, and set up a Facebook page to help other parents and to remember him.

‘It is this sort of mindset that fuels the stigma surrounding our babies who grew their wings too soon,’ Ms Fulcher said.

‘I’m so sorry this lady’s good work has been put in a bad light.’

A spokesperson for Cairns Regional Council told Daily Mail: ‘The Baby Welcome Ceremony and Family Expo is a traditional civic event to formally welcome the city’s newest community members.

‘The ceremony will be supported by about 30 stalls with a range of products and services suitable for babies and young children, along with kids’ entertainment.

‘Stallholders were required to apply to be part of the ceremony and were selected based on how well they fit with the event objective.

‘After careful consideration, it was determined that this particular stall did not fit with the theme of what is a fun, light-hearted and celebratory civic event aimed at parents with babies and young children.

‘The group has been offered a stall at future, more suitable events.’

Do you think this was the wrong decision?

Share your comments below

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  • A bit ridiculous. If you don’t like something then walk on by it. They shouldn’t be banned


  • Everyone who attends the baby expo would like to think that at the end of their journey they will have a happy, healthy baby to bring home – unfortunately that is not the case for all families & yes it could be upsetting, but it is reality. Having this organisation at the baby expo would help the stigma around infant loss & parents could be aware of support networks out there if their journey doesn’t go as planned. Maybe the organisers of the event have been lucky enough not to have walked the road of infant loss.


  • I can see both sides of the discussion but I personally think that an organisation like angel babies should be included because it still allows parents to celebrate the life of their still born child. It raises awareness and provides a forum for discussion.


  • I agree with the event organisers. The expo is about celebrating pregnancies and live babies, how ever maybe having the stall there might allow other to pass on information about what angel gowns do to thoses who need it.


  • I think it’s should have been allowed. Sure, the death of a baby is something that is hard to talk about, but with things like Angel Babies, it’s making it easier to talk about. It’s a fact of life, babies die and parents should be educated to their choices and options. It’s important to them to remember. Maybe next year guys


  • I can see both sides to the story!


  • I think it’s actually a very good idea. Of course nobody likes to think about death or the possibility things might go wrong, but it’s good to face that possibility and know where to go to when this becomes reality.


  • This is disgusting! It’s thoughts like that which are the reason that our rate of stillbirth is so high in Australia. Many incidents of stillbirth are preventable and if we promoted more awareness during pregnancy instead of pretending like it doesn’t happen because it’s uncomfortable, maybe we could save some precious lives!
    Mother of 2- 9 month daughter and stillborn son


  • I agree that stillborn babies are a taboo topic. To be honest, I think it is a wonderful idea and I’m sure it is something that would be appreciated by mothers of stillborn babies. I can also so the organiser’s point of view that the target demographic of mothers would be likely not have had a stillborn baby (as why would they be going to a baby expo?). I’m on the fence with this one – what do other mums think?

    • I tend to agree with you. It was a chance to promote the group and make people and donated wedding dresses and similar can be used to the benefit of parents whose babies were stillborn or died shortly after.
      I can also appreciate that it could concern expectant Mums, especially those having problems, have in the past or know somebody who has.


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