After battling anorexia since being a teenager, Sally Cox feared she would never fulfil her dream of becoming a mum.
But she defied the odds when her ‘little prince’ Carter was born this year.
The 25-year-old had been told she would never be able to have children after being diagnosed with anorexia in 2012, which her doctor said had left her infertile in 2018.
So she was overjoyed when Carter was born a small but healthy 6lb 6oz on August 20 at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.
Sally, who lives with her partner Ryan Matthews on Knowle Avenue, Bispham, said her dream of being a mother inspired her recovery.
“People kept telling me to stop trying and it will happen, and in the end that’s what happened,” said Sally. “It was a total surprise. The only change was my mental state, as I was a lot happier in life.”
The 25-year-old has challenges with her mental health, but she says Carter motivates her to keep getting better.
Sally had issues with food as a child, which escalated around 12. She was diagnosed with anorexia at 14, and had weekly therapy sessions.
But the turning point came when Sally sought help around two years ago, when she realised the long term damage she was doing to her body.
The supermarket worker and part-time actress was told there were hormone drugs that could help, but she’d first have to gain weight, which she found impossible due to her physically active job.
Anorexia is often a serious life-long mental health disorder, and the physical changes during pregnancy can be triggering.
She added: “I tried my hardest to eat for the sake of the baby but it was very hard when I saw the changes to my body. The weight gain wasn’t even noticeable to other people, but to me it felt a lot.”
Sally described pregnancy as ‘hard on her fragile body’.
She said: “Walking was agony and I was in a wheelchair for the last two months.
“My hips and pelvis struggled with the weight of the baby, and I kept fainting as my little prince took all my energy and nutrients.
“I’m trying really hard to eat more so that I can be healthy for my son. He really is my inspiration.”
Sally puts her recovery down to Ryan’s support.
She added: “It’s soppy, but he is like my personal therapist.
“Even when I hated the way I looked he was always saying how perfect I was. It really helped.”
Rosie Tadman is a nutritional therapist who specialises in helping women with fertility issues. She is based in Manchester and runs one to one clinics via Zoom.
She said: “A positive mindset and support from friends and family will lead to the best outcome. The focus should be on recovery first. For someone who is currently anorexic, there is still a chance of getting pregnant but there is more risk of complications that can pose significant risks to both mother and baby.”
For help with an eating disorder visit seedlancashire.co.uk