I blamed myself for limiting my chances of getting pregnant until God continued to give me the most precious gifts
I have always been ambitious but it’s one thing to achieve career goals and rejections whereas when it comes to your own personal development that makes you a lot more vulnerable and there is no clear ladder to climb or course to follow.
In pursuit of external validation in my formative years, a desperate attempt to hide the pain I felt inside, I superficially took control of my life through my food. This was a dirty plaster shoved over a very deep wound. Medics warned my eating disorder may prevent me from getting pregnant. This shock tactic took its toll and I lost myself in my insidious eating disorder even more, beating myself up for potentially losing the very thing I wanted the most – a family.
It was hard to admit that beyond my life as a journalist, an entertainer and a budding entrepreneur that deep down I just wanted to be loved and most of all love. I kept running away from this painful truth by working harder and playing harder.
Then aged 23 and on placement at a national newspaper in London, I had a funny turn.
For some reason, I was compelled to take a pregnancy test in my lunch break.
It confirmed a miracle had happened, I was pregnant.
While I was shocked and overwhelmed with emotion, I wasn’t at all sad to leave a ‘dream job’ behind to go back home up north, it was as if a light came on inside me.
God showed me that even I was fearfully and wonderfully made and rather than abuse my body, I needed to nurture it because I had to protect my unborn baby, a true gift He had given me.
Becoming a mama changed my world. I went from a superficial career girl who was escaping life to an earth mother focused on the most precious gift, my daughter Jasmine Mei. Although I was baptised as an adult for me it was vital that my daughter was.
Then when my second child came along which was much less of a surprise, it was an absolute honour to be given a second gift, another daughter, this time Arianna Mei.
But before she was baptised on a day out as a newborn she fell lifeless in my arms. She stopped breathing and started bleeding from the nose and mouth.
As I screamed and placed her on the floor, a stranger appeared and helped me to resuscitate her. When the Paramedics arrived while she was breathing with a ventilator it was laboured and irregular. What followed was beyond my worst nightmare as she was put in the PICU (paediatric intensive care unit). I remember sitting in the family room where I attempted to express milk so Arianna could be tube fed it, so unconsciously she knew her mama was there, although I couldn’t touch her. I would sit express and pray out loud, I asked for prayers online and anywhere I could find people to pray.
Following several days in this hell hole, the consultants discussed putting a tracheostomy on her, this alone as a small baby might mean trying to save her, but she also might not survive the procedure they warned.
They wouldn’t let me watch so I was placed back in the family room sobbing and praying.
Miraculously as they went to put the incision in her neck she began breathing again unaided.
Arianna pulled through and it was a miracle that she wasn’t left with any brain damage or any issues at all. Doctors and God had ensured she fought off Strep B and Pneumonia.
I knew from then on that God was always with me.
I made sure that I and my daughters went to church and to playgroups as faith was an integral part of our lives despite the rest of our family not being Christian.
But prior to the pandemic, my daughter’s father and I separated which meant I went from co-sleeping and breastfeeding my daughters every night to just seeing them half of the week. I was bereft and when they left for their other home I felt like a wounded lioness.
Their rooms were left untouched as I couldn’t face the pain of being in their room without them. I spent my spare time with my church friends and going to groups although I could no longer face the playgroups.
This loneliness and pain worsened during the pandemic as I lived alone and was a mama in waiting. I struggled with some church activities because a lot of the online events involved the children.
I slipped back into my old ways of overworking, searching for external validation and controlling my food.
While I survived two lockdowns, I was left fragile inside out. I had so much love to give it was painful. I can’t help but think the trauma and stress impacted my gut and caused me to be hospitalised with jaundice and malnutrition due to my blocked intestine.
It meant that for over 5 weeks I could barely see my babies and all I could do was crawl up to the hospital’s chapel and pray. I would sob on my knees and sing ‘God Only Knows’ by For King and Country as their words resonated deeply with me.
After touching death myself I started to recover and was able to go back home.
I was broken, fragile and physically weak. I could barely walk. But I felt wrapped in God’s unconditional love.
While the past two years have been spent building my life back up from the ashes, I have always had the reassurance that God is with me. I still felt deep loneliness however, I wanted to be able to care for my children 24/7 and I had dreamed of a big family.
Yet it had been two years since I’d had a period with all the stress and health issues, my body stopped me from ovulating.
Single and lonely, I decided I may as well embrace living on my own and get a dog, someone to care for 24/7. So in March last year, I bought a toy poodle named Jet (after ‘suffragette’). He gave me a new lease of life, an unconditional friend and company.
But I still yearned to have a family. I would pray while walking Jet that I would meet my soulmate or at least start ovulating so I knew I had a chance of conceiving again even if it was through IVF. It seemed impossible. I was 34 and everyone had already settled down or was settling down, my main offer of socialising was to go on playdates which I found too painful if they were the days I didn’t have my own daughters.
I kept myself busy with community work by offering personal training, Yoga, dance and media skills workshops. I had so much to give so I set up my own social enterprise to share my media skills and then any profit made went back to help people in our community who struggled with their mental health.
I began to accept that that was the way I could share my love and I wouldn’t meet anyone romantically, who would love me back unconditionally. I was still determined to have IVF however because I had a burning desire to be a mum.
But even getting pregnant scared me because I felt unwomanly by still not having periods. I hadn’t realised what having a menstrual cycle meant to me until I lost it. I prayed to God for months, vowing to start caring for myself as I did for others.
After a stressful summer, I decided to start enjoying life again and try to build my strength.
One of the ways I began to love myself and life again was going on mini spa breaks. Miraculously this was when I came on my period in the changing rooms of the spa area. I was ecstatic, finally my body was showing me that it was healing from trauma thanks to God.
I returned home where I actually appreciated the cramps and feeling bloated.
But when the initial joy was over, I went back to feeling lonely again.
I felt selfish for grieving over not seeing my daughters enough and my dream of having a family felt out of reach.
I hit an all-time low in September last year when I contemplated taking my own life but God sent another miracle as my friend from church was passing when I had broken down sobbing on the street.
That same week, I met a man called Danny through my work as a journalist, we hit it off straight away and just laughed a lot. Then for the next couple of weeks, we became good friends before he asked me out. I always said I didn’t want to meet anyone with kids as I missed my own so much, but Danny has six (two at home like me).
God definitely put us together though as we were both in dark places and had strong family values but felt lost.
He literally was the missing piece of me. Being together made me whole again.
Then when he proposed a couple of months in, it felt magical and right as I loved him and his children beyond words.
God has given me a family again and while nothing will replace the times I don’t my two daughters, I still feel part of a family.
But then after the proposal, my periods stopped and I was devastated. Why had my body stopped functioning? I’d never been happier despite life being perfectly imperfect.
Christmas passed and then it was Chinese New Year and I still had not had a menstrual cycle. I took the plunge on Chinese New year dressed in my lucky colours to take a pregnancy test. Perhaps the greatest gift I had asked God for now.
We were gutted, there was no sign of pregnancy on either test so it must be my body not functioning again I feared.
Was I going through early menopause? Had my period stopped for good?
I felt even more wounded at community sessions when people kept asking if I was pregnant. So not only was I now potentially menopausal but my IBS had flared up.
That night I asked Danny if he thought I should take another test “just in case even though I know I’m not” I said as I was convinced I wasn’t.
I sat on my toilet reading my breath prayers as I did the test. It’s all I could do to distract my mind.
Lo and behold it said I was pregnant – an absolute miracle if it was true.
But I’d bought cheap pregnancy tests so I assumed it was a false positive even though they say you only get false negatives.
Danny and I were chuffed but concerned, so off to late-night t’Asda we went for a Clear Blue test.
He kept getting recognised as we sheepishly went to buy a few tests so I scuttled off to the loos once we had bought them, promising Danny we wouldn’t look until we were back in his van.
I couldn’t look, I asked Danny to do it as I felt sick.
But it confirmed that a miracle had happened, we were 3+ weeks pregnant.
Our little miracle
We went to our first scan recently and up on the wall in the waiting room was a big poster saying “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” I then thanked God had not only found me a soul mate but He gave us the opportunity of being parents again.
I am beyond grateful. Both Danny and I were broken when we met but together we have repaired one another and found a love like no other.