“I always wanted children but because I have endometriosis and an ovary that doesn’t work, doctors told me that the chances were that I wouldn’t be able to conceive. I tried over the years but never got pregnant. When I was 25 my doctor suggested that I should have a hysterectomy but I wasn’t ready to give up.
“When I hit 40 I was in a lot of pain so I decided it was time to have the surgery. I had to prepare myself emotionally for the fact that I wouldn’t ever give birth, which was hard. I also had to inject hormones ready for the surgery and had to take a 6-months course.
“I went to see the doctor after 4 months and he did a pregnancy test because my body had started to change. I thought it was because of the hormones, so I was shocked when I was told that I was pregnant.
“I went to my first scan and the doctors thought that I was atopic so I spent the day in the emergency unit. I was rushed into hospital at 10 weeks because I was bleeding again.
"They seemed to think that I might not be able to look after my baby by myself."
“I couldn’t get my head around the fact that I was pregnant. My family weren’t there for me either so I was struggling.
“Because I’m in a wheelchair and wanted extra support, I decided to contact agencies to get help ready for when my baby was born but that caused more problems. They seemed to think that I might not be able to look after my baby by myself. I was so angry that I felt like crying.
“No one was there for me and I was struggling to get through it. Adult Social Services were in place but they couldn’t assess me as a mum, all they could look at was what they could put in place if my health got worse.
“The whole experience of becoming a mum isn’t aimed at people in a wheelchair. Nothing fitted my needs, which was frustrating; I wasn’t the first person in a wheelchair to have a baby. I had to research what could be adapted for my needs and a charity called Remap helped me make changes to things, like putting barn doors on a cot so that I can manoeuvre my wheelchair in between them so that I could pick my baby up myself.
“My midwife referred me to the NSPCC’s Baby Steps programme around 4 months before I was due to give birth as she thought that they could help support me. I was a bit reluctant at first as some people have a certain perception about the NSPCC. When they came to my house to meet me they put my mind at ease that they were there to help me.
"It was great to have people who wanted to support me rather than fight me."
“I joined some group sessions where we talked about our wellbeing, how to look after our babies and breast feeding. We also learnt baby massage, how to prioritise our baby’s needs, and how to bond with them through skin to skin contact and eye contact. This helped put my mind at ease as I was worried that I might not bond with him.
“I was being treated as a mum-to-be by the NSPCC and it was great to have people who wanted to support me rather than fight me. It was nice to be around the other mums-to-be and it helped me to get my head around the fact that I was having a baby.
“As well as the group sessions, the NSPCC also visited me at home to offer me one-to-one support after George* was born. They helped me find solutions to problems rather than throwing more obstacles at me, such as helping me look at the sleeping arrangements. They offered me emotional support and helped reassure me that I was a good mum.
“I thought the NSPCC was just there if you had concerns about someone else’s child, so working with them has really opened my mind. My workers, Zoe and Claire, offered me practical help but were also a friendly face who counselled me as well. They were never judgmental and if I struggled with anything or doubted myself then they would work through different options with me. They became people I could trust.”