Ellie Simmonds finally meets birth mother who ‘rejected her as a baby’ because of her dwarfism
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Ellie Simmonds finally met her birth mother in a heart-breaking new documentary about the Paralympian.
At just a few days, old Simmonds was put into foster care due to her achondroplasia - a form of dwarfism.
Over two decades on, the former swimmer goes on an emotional journey to discover who she is in a brand new documentary, Finding My Secret Family.
The programme aired last night (7 July) on ITV and uncovered the tragic backstory behind Simmonds’ adoption.
At the time, her birth mother had been a single parent and made the decision to give up her daughter after just two days.
Although Simmonds would go on to be adopted by her foster parents Val and Steve, she found a tragic detail about her mother in the adoption records.
Shockingly, the records detailed how her mum was given an information sheet which read: “Children have to deal with being stared at and laughed at by other children. Indeed, there are those with normal height who equate short stature with evil and stupidity.”
It led Simmonds’ mum to regret her pregnancy, wishing the now-28-year-old had ‘died’ at birth or that she’d had an abortion.
The emotional discovery was caught on camera, with the former Strictly star reacting to the heartbreaking notes.
“Oh wow, she wanted me dead,” Simmonds tells a social worker. "It’s hard, because you’d hope if your child isn’t what you’d expected, you’d stick with it. I’m small, that’s it."
She adds: “One of the reasons for being given up for adoption is because of dwarfism and maybe it can be a factor of why my personality is like it is now, because of that rejection at the start. Even if you do have a loving family being rejected straight away, like as soon as you were born.”
Despite all of this, the sports star was still keen to meet her birth mother and went on to have a lengthy meeting with her at a local hotel.
Hidden away from the cameras to protect her mother’s identity, Simmonds revealed the emotional moment was surprisingly positive.
“It was amazing. We didn’t even realise the time,” she confessed.
"We literally spoke about everything in these past five hours, we were howling, we were laughing, we’ve got the same sense of humour."
However, the pair shared a much deeper connection than just a few jokes as Simmonds explained: "What touched my heart was she said she thinks about me every day, and she still sees me as her daughter.
"It’s helped with finding out who I am, looking at someone who birthed me, the nature I’m from, it makes you a bit more whole.
“Questions I’ve carried for years have been answered. I’m proud of my life and I love my family, and maybe that family just got a bit bigger.”
You can watch Simmonds’ story in the Finding My Secret Family documentary on ITVX.