To celebrate International Women's Day this year #IWD2021 we decided to make a week of it! Each day we've been sharing stories from mums who have had to overcome significant challenges in their motherhood journey. If you missed them, here they all are.
My IVF Struggle
I overcame failed IVF and had to fight hard mentally and physically to face my second round, risking the chance of failure again. Second round I then landed in intensive care, with a massive fear of the unknown of 1. surviving myself and 2. if the embryo implanted inside me would survive.
That experience has enabled me to overcome the fear of the unknown which is a massive part to motherhood and to take each day as it comes, just enjoying every minute. Even when times are hard, I know they'll always get better even if in that moment is doesn't feel like it, I keep smiling and power through.
It's OK to cry and talk. I have got so much gratitude towards motherhood and know that "going with the flow" and not having a "set in stone plan" in life is sometimes the best option. I am a stronger person since my experience to get to motherhood and I want to raise awareness of infertility and be a support to anyone suffering infertility. Motherhood... It's made me never give up, whatever road lies ahead I know I have got the strength to take it, however many unknown twists and turns it may take.
I’m proud to be a women. I'm proud to be a disabled women!
"My name is Leah Miles and I was born with a life expectancy of 21 due to having cystic fibrosis. I was born with a bowel blockage which was the beginning of a long list of surgeries and hospital stays I have had to overcome over the years.
Because of my disability, I have a positive outlook on the world. My cf has shown me life is short. As a mother, it’s shown me to not sweat the small stuff. Tomorrow is never promised. So say yes to new adventures, see the world, dream, and dream big. I never took for granted the fact I had grown and birthed a healthy baby. Health is so important and taken for granted by so many.
I was determined at a young age I would be a mother. Regardless of what the doctors said. It was my only dream in life, and driving force to motivate me to beat the odds! I have never had a “poor me” attitude. I live my life driven on positivity, laugher and love.
I was always fighting to stay well. Every chest infection. Every operation. Every hospital admission. I was determined I would get stronger, the need to be a mother was too much to ever give up. I had seen him in my dreams. He gave me so much hope. I am now on ground-breaking medication and I can happily say I will grow old and grey.
From having a disability, it’s changed my outlook on being a mother. Yes somethings are harder, there a few more tasks that need to be completed in a day. But it’s even more rewarding seeing all the things you juggle and achieve. Disabled people can be, and are amazing parents too!
I hope my son looks up to me, and sees how strong and positive I was, and always will be. I hope he thinks I am brave and it will make a bond even stronger than it already is. I hope he sees and feels my strength. That he looks at the world with the same appreciation his mum and dad do. With determination, hard work and hope you can achieve great things.
I’m proud to be a woman. I am proud to be a disabled woman. I am proud to be a Mother. I am proud to be his Mother!"
Losing my mum
"It's a long story so I'll keep it brief! Unfortunately, when I was 6 I lost my mum to suicide. I was lucky to have such amazing close family to support me growing up.
But then I suffered further loss and my nan passed away when I was 15. I was very close to her and ended up really struggling with my mental health for a while.
Despite it all, I went on to go to University to qualify as a registered mental health nurse, but I always knew I wanted to become a mum more than anything in this world.
I met my partner 6 years ago and once we bought our house and settled in etc we started trying for a little one of our own! Becoming a mother totally changed my outlook, as I knew how precious life can be!
I'm going to make sure my Leo has the most amazing life he could possibly have and I always want him to know that he has me no matter what ❤"
My horrific pregnancy experience
"I fell pregnant & was told I will have a miscarriage. The nurse said because of my PCOS I would never form healthy eggs. They didn’t even check. They just told me to go home & wait for me to lose my baby.
At 7 weeks they found a heartbeat & I was diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum. I was so sick I would vomit blood. I was on every medication & was told my sickness was so bad that I could only wait it out.
At 29 weeks, my body finally gave up. I suffered a Preterm Rupture of my Membranes & was admitted to Hospital. On the way to the hospital, the paramedic laughed at me & said I probably peed myself. When I finally got inside & it was confirmed my waters had gone, they kept me in hospital for 3 days saying they weren’t sure the baby would hold on. They messed me around for weeks, until a week before my induction date. They called me to say someone had scratched my name off the induction list & didn't know when I was due in.
They mistreated me. I was going through so much & the hospital just couldn’t get their ducks in a row!
18th of Dec, I finally went in for my induction, only to be messed around for 2 more days. On the 20th I went into labour naturally and was FINALLY allowed into the Labour Ward!
They collapsed 3 of my veins trying to put a cannula in my arm. The doctor failed 3 epidurals & then tried to get me in for an emergency C-Section, knowing it had failed! 18 hrs later I wasn't dilated at all & finally got to go into theatre, to then suffer from 4 failed spinal blocks. I was shaking head to toe at this point. They didn’t care.
They finally got my baby girl out. Only to damage her lungs during CPR. She was admitted to NICU, while I was being stitched up- which by then I could feel everything as the spinal block had worn off mid-surgery!
I finally got to see my daughter properly 6 hrs after I gave birth!
I had the most horrific experience. It’s put me off having any other children 💔 I overcame so much just to make sure my baby girl was okay! We haven’t had an easy start, but she is healthy and the love of my life. All I can say is that you will be strong for the ones you love! It gets better💗
Protecting my children from feeling insecure
As a child, I was very outgoing & different from other children. Where other children were quiet & shy I would be chatting away with everyone. The other children never really understood me & I didn’t understand them.
I ended up being bullied quite badly, which made me very insecure. It made me think I had to behave differently to be accepted into a group. It is a shame I actually went so far from my true self to fit in. The harder I tried, the less it worked. It only made me feel more insecure.
In my teenage years it escalated rapidly & my education really suffered. My parents took me out of school & kept me at home until I could start at a new school. I had an ok time there, but the insecurity really stuck with me. I couldn’t see who I was, maybe because I didn’t really know anymore. I felt like that until my early twenties.
It wasn’t until I was 24 before that feeling started to leave me & I saw my confidence slowly start growing again. I made a BIG jump around 7 years ago, when I left a relationship I wasn’t happy in & something just switched in my brain. Then everything changed when I met the father of my children. With him, I made a place where we both can be ourselves & where our children can be too. I grew into my role as a partner & a mother without having to change who I was. I grew as a person and as a professional. Today I still have many little insecurities but overall I am very happy with who I am.
As a mother my biggest fear is that the same will happen to my children. When I look at my daughter I see myself. The only difference is that she seems a lot more confident than I was. Still I don’t know how I can protect her from any of it. I want her to know how wonderful, clever & smart she is! Something I don’t think I can ever overdo.
Motherhood is a great journey & I take what I have learned over the years with me, in the hope I can let my children always be the best version of themselves. Protecting them from everything in their lives will be impossible, but I will try my very best to support them by being strong independent kind humans that will hopefully never get as far from themselves as I did.