Can you imagine still having your full ‘baby bump’… 6 years after you’ve given birth?
That’s what mum Cheryl Castle, from Coldharbour in London, says she’s going through – and it’s why she’s decided to crowdfund for the operation needed to remove it.
After giving birth via an emergency caesarean in 2011, Cheryl reveals on her GoFundMe page that her “baby belly never went down” as the core muscles in her stomach had split.
“I was advised this was an unfortunate issue a few people get and that I would require surgery (abdominoplasty) to fix it,” she said.
But she also reveals that the NHS won’t pay for the op – as she’s just shy of the requirements set by her local area.
“My core muscles were split during pregnancy but the split was just under the requirement,” she explains. “The tummy part was considered as cosmetic surgery and no funding available for ‘non essential’ operations in my area.”
Though her op isn’t considered urgent – she has shared that naturally, her ‘baby belly’ (pictured below) is having a negative impact on her life:
“This has had a major effect on my life – from day to day activity and mental health! When having flu jabs the nurses congratulate me on being pregnant, supermarket staff ask my son if he’s looking forward to being a big brother, lifeguards advised me not to use spa pool as I’m pregnant – needless to say these are situations I now try to avoid!
“Winter is easier – big coats hide most of it. Clothes shopping is a nightmare – I’m between a size 6/8 but buying trousers/skirts etc never ends well!”
She also told local radio station Mix96 FM:
“I was told that the rest of it may go down eventually, I was given exercises and told to go to the gym. I’ve done all of that and I’ve worked really really hard for five years, and there’s no difference whatsoever.
“I feel embarrassed. I feel humiliated. I feel like I don’t fit in. I feel that I could have done more or that I should have done something different.
“I know that there are a lot of people out there that do have baby bellies, and if it was a standard baby belly, I’d probably accept it.”
While many of us still have a bit of a tummy in the months and years post-baby (and that’s totally natural), it has to be said that it’s pretty clear that Cheryl’s situation is out of the ordinary.
We totally sympathise with her, too – it can’t be easy having to explain to well-meaning strangers that, erm, no, you’re not actually expecting ???
More info on Cheryl’s campaign is available on her GoFundMe page.
Have your say
What do you think of Cheryl’s decision to crowdfund her operation – and would you want to do the same in her position?
Perhaps you’ve gone through a similar thing she has? Let us know on Facebook or in the comments below!
Images: GoFundMe/Cheryl Castle