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#CPAW ’16 – Maintaining Normality – Jenny’s Story

“Aww congratulations” is what I wanted to hear. Not “I’m so sorry. How on earth will you manage? Stay strong and positive!”

jennyBeing a new mum brings a whole load of emotions, without a cancer diagnosis on top. I missed out on so much of my baby girls first weeks in this what can be ‘a cruel world’. I didn’t see her 1st heel prick test, I missed her 1st big bath and the list continues!! All I wanted in this strange world of cancer chaos was some normality to be a new Mum. Not once did I take my baby to get weighed. I wasn’t there for her 6 week check. I was so worried my baby wouldn’t know me and I had lost my bond. She was just 4 days old when my cancer journey started.

I remember lying in my hospital bed relying on doctors and nurses instead of my new-born baby relying on me, her mummy!!! Waiting for her and my other children’s every visit. I was very lucky that I was in my own hospital room and managed to see my baby for an hour most days…but longed to hold her skin to skin.

She was about 8 weeks old when I was able to actually hold her long enough to feed her, and she looked up into my eyes and it was pure love and a bond right there!! Yes, we’re mummy’s diagnosed with cancer, but our babies come 1st and I speak for lots of us when I say ‘the new mummy months’ were overtaken by Cancer, surgery and treatment.

My whole pregnancy was shadowed with illness which I knew about, yet medical professionals wouldn’tjenny hospital listen. My midwife insisted my tiredness was ‘pregnancy ‘ in fact every bowel cancer symptom I gave her, constipation, nausea, weight loss, anemia, she responded with ‘pregnancy ‘.

This soon changed when she came for the midwife 1st home visit after the birth and I wasn’t there!!!! I was fighting for my life in hospital whilst my baby, hubby and other children wondered if they would see me again. It took over 12 months for us to ‘ accidentally meet’

I was in for an appointment at my doctor surgery. Her face went white when she saw me. What was this?? Guilt!! She went on to say shall we talk privately. I didn’t want to, I had nothing to hide. So I continued to tell her that all I wanted from her is for her to listen to her mums. I didn’t want apologies, this wouldn’t stop the cancer, I wanted lessons learnt.

Life is getting better day by day but I find my ‘safe place’ when I’m away and have my hubby and children with me. I can be just me. Not the cancer mummy. Life will never be the same but will go on.

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