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    The #GameChangingStories

    The Amazing Abigail Grace

    The Amazing Abigail Grace

    PLAYER 2: EM & KIDS

    SUPERPOWER: UNSTOPPABLE HAPPINESS

    OUTFIT OF CHOICE: THE PIXEL MADNESS DRESS & COMFY PIXEL SWEAT

    LS: Tell us about your family and your journey...

    EM: Abigail is 5 years old and was born with Cerebral Palsy. My husband and I are very young parents, we had Abby when we were both 18 years old. For the first two years of Abby’s life, she was undiagnosed. We fought so hard to advocate for her until we finally landed in MWPH who listen to our concerns and provided all of the services for Abby that she had previously been denied. Once we did receive her diagnosis, it was both a heartbreak and a relief. At that moment we chose that we were going to encourage her to embrace her differences, rather than to just adapt to them. 

    LS: What were some of the exceptional challenges (internal & external) you & the kids faced and overcame? How did you get through it?

    EM: Every step of our life has been filled with challenges. The biggest challenge was initially advocating and learning how we could best meet Abby’s needs and give her the most independent life. 

    LS: What makes the challenges all worthwhile?

    He will encourage her, walk with her at her own pace, he even delivers her crutches to her. 

    EM: Abby’s positivity and determination inspire us most. She is always smiling and laughing, no matter the circumstance. She never gives up when she is trying something that challenges her. She has never let CP hold her back from anything that she wants to do! Liam’s patience is so inspiring as well. For all of his life, he has been a big ball of energy but at the same time, he knows he needs to slow down and check on Abby. He will encourage her, walk with her at her own pace, he even delivers her crutches to her. 

    LS: What do you want the future to be like for Abby? 

    EM: For Abby, our goal for her is independence and confidence. We want her to be proud of herself for how far she has come. We want her to look at her abilities and not focus on her disability. 

    LS: Being a #gamechanger means...

    EM: Being a #gamechanger means showing others that just because you’re different, doesn’t mean you can’t be amazing! 

    Follow: @amazingabigailgrace & @emandkids 

     

    The Single Mum Raising Two Mini Warriors

    The Single Mum Raising Two Mini Warriors

    PLAYER 1: CATHY

    SUPERPOWER: RESILIENCE  

    OUTFIT OF CHOICE: THE HUGEE

    LS: What were some of the exceptional challenges (internal & external) you faced? 

    CATHY: a) Being the only person (before my kids) with dwarfism in my family - the alienation, feeling like nobody understands, feeling angry that I came out this way, having nobody close to talk to with direct experience, etc. I got through it as I grew up but childhood was hard. I was raised in a white village in the countryside where I was very much NOT the norm, and other children didn't respond well to me. 

    "AS SOON AS I TURNED 18 I MOVED TO LONDON PURELY TO FEEL LESS 'VISIBLE'"

    I was a super sensitive child, and developed more of a thick skin as a teenager to deal with bullies, and as soon as I turned 18 I moved to London purely to feel less 'visible'. It worked, and I can honestly say it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

    b) Becoming a single parent - I felt I couldn't do it on a practical level, I wouldn't be able to physically carry my kids all day, to fulfill their needs, to get up at night with the baby then be with them both all day. I became a single mum when my youngest was 2 weeks old. But again, I did it. Initially, their dad helped quite a bit, but it was mostly me. I just took each day at a time. Tried not to overwhelm myself. Showered my kids with so much love, which in turn meant that they formed a deep bond from very early on. And every day it got easier.

    c) Studying while pregnant - I was studying and working full time while bringing my then-husband over from another country, moving across the UK, then becoming pregnant with my first baby. The studies were incredibly hard and stressful, and I began failing. When I looked at what I needed to prioritise, my health through the pregnancy, continuing to excel in my job, and earning well - at least on a short-term basis - were above studying. So I jacked in the studies. It's a shame but I don't regret the decision, ultimately it hasn't affected my career (thus far).

    LS: What about your journey as a mother is unique or would surprise people? 

    CATHY: It always surprises people that I manage it. Working full time, having offshoot businesses I'm trying to cultivate, dating, being a mum, keeping my house in order...it's a lot, but it's so worth it!

    LS: What would you say to mums going through similar experiences?

    CATHY: Prioritise yourself and set boundaries. Remove as much toxic behaviour from your life as you can. Don’t be afraid to be who you are and to take up space! Stop saying sorry for things that aren’t your fault. And... just enjoy being with your kids :) When I started reading about co-dependency it was a massive wake up call on who and what to prioritise in my life.

    LS: An example of how you and your girls make your own rules.  

    "WE MAKE OUR OWN RULES BECAUSE WE RULE OUR OWN LIVES."

    CATHY: We make our own rules because we rule our own lives. My girls have so much sass it's not true. I try to teach them not to pander to anybody, even at this age. Parents input way too much in what their children do - "oh go and give aunty a kiss", or "give that to X child, she wants it too". I try to teach them to be kind and gracious, but that should never be in replacement of actually having their own backbone and boundaries.

    LS: What do you want the future to be like for your girls? 

    CATHY: BRIGHT! I want my kids to dream big, and to work hard to achieve that - not necessarily academically, but whatever they need to do to get where they want to go. But more than that I want them to be accepting and loving of everyone, to be kind, to want to help others and learn new things, and to be tough as nails when those bullies rear their ugly heads.

    LS: How does it feel to be recognised as a #gamechanger?

    CATHY: Awesome! Thanks so much for recognising us. 

    Follow Cathy @thatsinglemum.