Life after baby loss - the blog providing support for bereaved parents
At 36 weeks pregnant Hannah Pontillo should have been preparing for the last few weeks before her son was born.
Instead she was saying goodbye. Dexy Jude Pontillo was stillborn at 36 weeks and five days.
“When Dexy died I was only 21 and I had no idea what to do or where to turn,” explained Hannah.
“Being a young bereaved mum brought its own challenges as most of the other baby loss mums are older than me and I found I couldn’t relate to any of them.”
A fortnight after Dexy died Hannah started up a blog to tell her story but also to provide other bereaved parents a place to go to show them they aren’t alone.
“When you go through something so awful as your child dying you actually realise that we are all in this ‘club’ that no one wants to be in and you just become this community,” she said.
“My blog now is about connecting us as that and helping people outside of baby loss realise that it does happen and we can talk about it normally. Well, that’s my goal anyway.”
One in four women experience pregnancy loss, stillbirth or their child dying shortly after birth. It is for this reason that Hannah feels it is important that people talk about baby loss.
“Because my child that died is just as valid as my child that lives.
“I don’t want people to shy away from baby loss.
“I don’t want people to be sorry for Dexy dying. I have learnt now that I can’t change what has happened and I want people to see him for the baby that he is, not the loss.
“Baby loss is always there and it will always be, so why not talk about it? Make parents feel like parents and celebrate all of our children without being uncomfortable.”
Throughout her first pregnancy Hannah says that Dexy was a little pickle and loved listening to Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande.
Hannah, who lives in Brighton, said: “He died on New Year’s Day 2018 and we knew from that moment that he was going to change the world.
“I would have loved him to be prime minister or be a doctor but instead he is helping thousands of people. Whether that be them not feeling so alone, talking about their loved ones who have died or educating people around stillbirth and helping prevent it by making people aware of how important movements are.
“Dexy was and is one of a kind. When he was born his birth was silent but now his life is loud. I like that.”
Five months after Dexy died Hannah found out she was pregnant again.
“I was so scared and excited but I tried to be more excited,” she said.
River Wylde was born in December 2018.
Hannah’s blog has been viewed nearly 200,000 times and have more than 30,000 visitors.
Hannah also set up Dad’s Grieve Too as she found a lot of support for mums but hardly anything for dads. The blog posts are shared on Hannah’s blog.
Hannah’s advice to those that have lost a baby is: “Embrace it. Embrace the highs, lows, numbness
“Everything you are feeling is normal. I wish someone told me that it is ok to say no to people. Self care isn’t selfish, you are going through the most awful thing and your baby does matter.
“Make the most of life. It is short not too.”