Embracing the Powerchair and Chasing a Lifelong Dream

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Today in our Messy Middle Interviews, we are meeting Laura. An inspiring momma of one daughter, who has embraced her powerchair and is actively working toward a long-held dream of being a model.

messy middle interviews model in a powerchair

In this series we are profiling regular people with chronic illness who are sharing their experience in the messy middle of life. Work, child care, caregiving, housework, study, and health issues.

Please introduce yourself

Hi I’m Laura, I am 43 living in Hampshire in the UK. I am a mother of one and I am medically retired.

Please outline your condition/s, how long you’ve been diagnosed and your experience

I have been diagnosed with a number of physical chronic illnesses including fibromyalgia, ME, CRPS, and hEDS. I also have depression, anxiety, cPTSD and OCD. I have struggled with ME since my early 20’s and unbeknownst to me the pain was also related to hEDS which I was only diagnosed with aged 42. The CRPS came after an injury at work in my left shoulder and arm, it then triggered fibromyalgia. The mental health issues started with depression again in my early 20’s and then the others came after getting pregnant with my daughter aged 38.

What is a silver lining of living with chronic illness?

The amazing online community of disabled and chronically ill people that I have met both in real life and just through social media.

What is a particularly difficult part, for you, of living with chronic illness/this journey?

The hardest thing of all is the fatigue. I have lived with chronic pain my whole life and this was even in my medical record aged 3. However the most debilitating symptom has to be fatigue and your body simply not doing anything that you ask it to. Feeling like everything takes more effort than every regular person without this problem is the most difficult thing by far and not having energy to do things for and with my daughter.

messy middle interviews model in a powerchair

What is your best tool for pain management?

Long soak in the bath!

How do you manage the competing demands in life with your health?

With rest periods and often crashes as sometimes with parenting you have to overdo it on certain days and crash on others. I have found a medication that works really well for me as far as getting restorative sleep goes so this makes everything a lot more bearable.

How did you experience pregnancy? What are your best tips?

I found pregnancy absolutely horrific, so much pain and the fatigue was even worst. I embraced the use of my powerchair.

How did you get through the first year – best tips!

I have a 5 year old now and I honestly can’t remember much of the first year, its a bit of a blur with mental health problems and very little sleep due to my daughter having a cows milk protein allergy and a dysfunctional bowel. She was up screaming every few hours throughout the night, every night until she was about 2 1/2. I would 100% recommend co-sleeping. The thought of getting up out of bed and going into her room each and every time she cried made me want to scream myself!

What are your best tips for coping with small children?

Do what you can. You may not be able to do the same thing as every other mother that you see out there but your child will love you for who you are and the love that you give them. My daughter and I have the closest and most amazing bond. We are inseparable and we love each other so much even though we can’t run around together and play chasing games or football. There is no such thing as a perfect parent, you just do the best you can and that is more than enough.

There is no such thing as a perfect parent, you just do the best you can and that is more than enough.

messy middle interviews model in a powerchair

Where can we connect further with you?

On Instagram here. I have reinvented myself and launched myself into a new career of modelling and content creation. I have been signed to a leading modelling agency in the last 6 months and have worked with many many companies for content creation. In my previous career as a midwife leaving that due to illness and injury was a period of mourning and sadness for what I had lost after many years of study and practice. I have found myself and what I love to do and I am pursuing my childhood dream of becoming a model and learning to love my body for what it is and not concentrating on what it can’t do.

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