Gripping my husband Paul’s hand, I watched the sonographer gently moving the ultrasound probe over my tummy, the grave look on her face betraying the sad news to come. ‘I’m so sorry,’ she said. ‘I can’t find a heartbeat.’ And with those few words, my dream of becoming a mum was dashed.
After three more heartbreaking rounds of IVF – each one ending in miscarriage – we were given a glimmer of hope when I fell pregnant naturally for the first time. But it took every ounce of strength we could muster to carry on as I had five more miscarriages, one after the other.
I’d been diagnosed with polycystic ovaries and endometriosis at the age of 15 and told I had only a 20% chance of ever having children. With each failed pregnancy, a little part of me started to give up.
Then, after losing my ninth baby, something changed. It was a moment of clarity. I’d been overweight for years – a size 20 by the time I left school – and I realised I stood a better chance of becoming a mum if I had a healthy BMI.
Oddly, even though I’m a nurse, I’d never really considered that losing weight might improve my chances of a healthy pregnancy, and it hadn’t come up in doctors’ appointments either. Suddenly, I had all the incentive I needed.
I joined Slimming World weighing 21st 8lbs and, helped along by the encouragement of my group and the support of Paul, I took to Food Optimising with a real focus.
I ate 2 Weetabix with skimmed milk for breakfast and swapped my takeaway cheese melts for a jacket potato with tuna or egg. When I cooked dinner, I used low-calorie cooking spray instead of lots of butter.
After about five months, I’d lost 2st. I no longer needed the blood pressure medication I’d been taking, and my previously high blood sugar returned to a healthy level, reducing my diabetes risk.
Then, we had some good news. I’d fallen pregnant again – though I didn’t dare get too excited. As I watched the sonographer’s face at our 12-week scan, she threw me a huge smile. My baby was fine! Tears of happiness filled my eyes as Paul held me tight.
I decided to carry on going to group, following Slimming World’s guidelines for mums-to-be developed with the Royal College of Midwives. And, in June 2016, I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy little boy, Kaylan.
Determined to be the healthiest parent I could, with my midwife’s support I went back to group when Kaylan was two weeks old. I began incorporating Body Magic by pushing the pram everywhere I went. After a few months I bought some DVDs and built in some higher-intensity workouts at home. It really helped – as the pounds dropped off, I also felt fitter and more toned.
Now I’m at target, I’m full of energy and I love taking Kaylan to the park with Paul to play football. As I watch my son having fun with his dad, my heart swells with happiness that I can be the best version of myself for him – the little person I’m leading through life.
*Weight loss will vary due to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose.