For those of you who have been following me for a while you may have noticed that I haven’t written in a while. Yes I share my story across Instagram and Facebook but I haven’t taken the plunge and written a blog post for some time. Today on my beautiful mum’s birthday I decided that it was finally time to fall back in love with writing, so bear with me as this is going to be a long and emotional one.
2016 was a year of tremendous highs and tremendous lows, a year that should be remembered for all the highs will forever be remembered as the year I lost my mum.
As most of you know by now I walked in to my first Slimming World meeting on May 2, 2016, and five months later as I prepared for a holiday of a life time I was six stone lighter and I couldn’t have been prouder.
Many people asked me along the way what my motivation was and I told them, “it’s finally clicked”, “I want this for me”, and whilst that wasn’t a lie, it also wasn’t the full truth. Everyone always says do it for yourself, you have to want it. I always wanted it but the truth is I never loved myself enough to really believe I could do it, to really fight for it and make the change for good. I did however love my mum enough. So from the day I walked in I did it for her.
My mum was diagnosed with the cruel illness that is Motor Neurone Disease and as her health deteriorated I didn’t want to be the burden I had always been. I wanted her full focus to be on herself to keep strong and keep fighting in spite of there being no cure. I didn’t want her final moments being spent in tears worrying whether I’d be alive to celebrate my thirtieth birthday.
Each week I climbed those scales with hope, for 22 weeks straight I lost weight, I relished leaving group and dialling my mum’s number and telling her how I’d got on. Was it easy? No. I wanted to eat my feelings most weeks, the side of the story that you didn’t see was the struggle and reality of my mum’s health and how this really impacted me and my journey.
She always was a proud woman, she barely told her own friends and our extended family the extent of her illness, she certainly didn’t want me telling the world. If she’s reading this now I hope she forgives me for finally sharing her story. From her diagnosis to her untimely death I watched my beautiful proud courageous mother become a shell of the woman she was.
She was trapped in a body that no longer wanted to work for her. Each time I visited my mum she had deteriorated. We all put on a brave face determined to be strong for her. But I wasn’t strong, she would see me smile and tell her that she had better stick around because we were going to find a cure, I would be the positive person she needed. I’d hug her as she cried and I would tell her how much I loved her. Then I would leave and go home to my partner, spend evenings crying on him only to retire to bed and cry myself to sleep, this beautiful woman that I had spent so many years loving was slowly leaving me.
I didn’t have control over my mum’s illness, I couldn’t make her walk again, I couldn’t make her speak again, I couldn’t take away her pain or make it easier for her, but I could make her proud. So I thrived on the control I had over my weight loss and made every day count.
Then something changed, I found out I was pregnant and what a shock that was. I was overjoyed but equally so scared. How could I continue to lose weight and make my mum proud whilst safely growing a baby? How could I tell my mum that I was having a baby when none of us knew if she would still be here to see that same baby be born?
Don’t get me wrong the plan had always been to lose weight and to have children. But I wasn’t done yet. I’d finally cracked this weight loss and now a new little life was forming that was going to change everything. So many people spend so long trying to have children and I would never want to seem ungrateful, but this little one was a big surprise, albeit a very welcome one and it took a while for it to sink in. I’m 24 + 4 weeks now and I still find it hard to believe that my very own baby is growing away inside of me.
I plucked up the courage to tell my mum a few days after we found out, it was way before 12 weeks, and the time people usually wait, but I knew I wanted her to know from the start. I was so scared. I didn’t want my mum to think that I was carrying on with my life like normal when she struggled every moment of the day. My mum’s partner tells me that learning that I was pregnant gave her a new sense of fight and happiness right when she needed it, this brings me comfort even now.
So now my mum knew I could focus back on Slimming World, let’s face it I was (and still am) a long way from target so all the midwives were ecstatic that I was hoping to continue to lose weight, safely and healthily and so was my mum. She wanted me to keep going, so I did. In the first 6 weeks of my pregnancy I continued to lose weight and then I went on holiday and ever since then it’s been a struggle.
Just prior to holiday my mum had moved into a hospice, it was only ever meant to be a temporary stay in order to get her pain management under control, she didn’t want to go in, and she was so scared. I can still see the fear in her eyes now, she was convinced that she wouldn’t make it home again, we all told her that of course she would, looking back that seems cruel, but it was the truth, we truly believed she would come home again.
Before I jetted off I was filled with emotion, I felt so guilty about leaving for a holiday when my mum needed me. But ever the stubborn woman she told me not to be silly, to go and have an amazing time and that she would be waiting for my return to hear all about our adventures. It also brought her much amusement knowing that I’d lost all this weight to finally feel comfortable going on all of the rollercoasters only to discover I was pregnant so I couldn’t go on any!
The holiday was amazing and it was topped off with my handsome man proposing in front of my favourite place, Hogwarts Castle. What a lot of people don’t know is that almost every day I woke up crying, I was in this amazing place, having an incredible time, but something just didn’t feel right. I was convinced that I would arrive home and my mum would no longer be here. Things couldn’t be going this well. We’re having a baby, we’re engaged something has to happen. And then it did.
We flew back on the Sunday, and from the airport I went straight to the hospice and I didn’t leave again until Thursday. I had left my mum confident that she was in the right place and that she was well enough for me to go, nothing could have prepared me for what happened. In the week I was away, my mum contracted a chest infection, which developed into pneumonia and then began to shut her lung downs. No one could have prepared us for that, no one saw it coming. By the time I returned home on cloud nine after my proposal and eager to tell my mum all about it, she had already begun to slip away.
Four days after I returned from holiday, my beautiful mum passed away surrounded by those who loved her. One of the very first things I said was, “how am I going to do this without her?” and even now I don’t know the answer. I had gone from the happiest girl on the planet to the most desperate and sad. It doesn’t get any easier. The past few months have been a blur and my weight loss has suffered along with it.
A lot of people tell me to enjoy my pregnancy and worry about weight afterwards but I want to make my mum proud, I need to keep doing this for her. But she was my main reason, who do I call now each week? Who am I fighting for?
The answer has to be me and this innocent little boy whose due date is fast approaching.
The past few months have been filled with every emotion possible and each day is a struggle to make the right choice.
If you had asked me six months ago where I’d be by now, I would have told you confidently that I’d be approaching my target. But the reality is I’m further away from it than I was a few months ago.
People always say “sometimes life gets in the way” and if I’m honest 90 per cent of the time I just thought that was an elaborate excuse, now I see how wrong I was. Weight loss isn’t one straight line, it’s a road filled with speed bumps, sharp turns, and u turns, you go back on yourself, and you go in the wrong direction just as much as you go in the right direction. I may not be closing in on my target but I will get there, my beautiful mum will be watching over me the day I receive my shiny target sticker, and I will have done it all with a pregnancy and baby thrown in the middle and having faced my hardest moment to date. Losing my hero. If I am half the mother she was then I will be doing alright.
This post is dedicated to my beautiful, brave and courageous mummy. Who had so much love to give and life left to live but was cruelly taken away too soon.
If anyone wishes to donate to find a cure for the horrible disease, please do so here.