Baby Loss Awareness week - Wave of Light event in memory of babies lost too soon
Tonight (Tuesday, October 15) families around the world will be lighting a candle in memory of babies who died too soon.
The Wave of Light event marks the end of baby loss awareness week (October 9-15), which helps raise awareness of how pregnancy and baby loss affects thousands of families each year across the UK.
It is a unique opportunity to help families commemorate their babies, whether it be in public or private, and feel less isolated and alone by giving them the opportunity to join with others.
People are asked to light a candle for an hour from 7pm or use the virtual #WaveOfLight by sharing charity Tommy's animated candle with your friends and family on social media.
Tommy's is the largest charity funding research into the prevention of baby loss.
You can download the virtual candle here add it to your profile with a special message and the hashtag #WaveOfLight. Or you can share it directly from Tommy's social media pages: Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
Every day 15 babies die before, during and shortly after birth in the UK. Sands (stillbirth and neonatal death charity) supports anyone affected by the death of a baby.
Hannah Pontillo from Brighton was only 21 when her son Dexy Jude Pontillo was stillborn at 36 weeks and five days.
“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.
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.
She said: "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.”
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 and anger.
“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.”
A number of baby remembrance are taking place across the county.
At 6.45pm services will be held at: The Chapel of the Holy Cross, Conquest Hospital, The Ridge, St Leonards-on-Sea, TN37 7RD
St Michael and All Angels Church, Willingdon Road, Eastbourne, BN21 1TN
Our Lady of Ransom Church, 2-4 Grange Road, Eastbourne, BN21 4EU
And at 7pm at:
Main entrance at St Richard's Hospital, Chichester
Muma Nurture, 9 The Old Printworks, 20 Wharf Road, Eastbourne
Main entrance Worthing hospital, Worthing
For Hannah’s blog, visit hannahpontillo.com
For further information on Baby Loss Awareness Week visit: babyloss-awareness.org
For more information on charity Tommy's click here