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'People think I'm six months pregnant but sadly I'll never get to be a mum'

Emma Guinness

Published 
| Last updated 

'People think I'm six months pregnant but sadly I'll never get to be a mum'

Featured Image Credit: Jam Press

A woman has opened up about about the pain of living with a baby bump when she knows she will never have children.

Abigail Oleck-Hewett, 49, from Surrey, has a condition known as fibroids which results in non-cancerous growths in or around her womb that left her looking pregnant.

Fibroids left Abigail looking pregnant. Credit: Jam Press
Fibroids left Abigail looking pregnant. Credit: Jam Press

Her ordeal began with painful periods as a teenager before the situation escalated into period 'blood baths' every month after a miscarriage in her 30s.

She had a hysterectomy to put an end to her suffering after her fibroids caused her stomach to swell up, leaving her looking pregnant.

The 49-year-old said it felt like there was an 'alien' living inside her and slammed the NHS for failing to give her the facts when she was first diagnosed in 2008.

Abigail said it feels like there's an 'alien' inside her. Credit: Jam Press
Abigail said it feels like there's an 'alien' inside her. Credit: Jam Press

Abigail said: "Everyone who doesn't know me thinks I'm pregnant.

"Sometimes, I quite like it for a brief moment in time, as I rub my belly and think of what it would be like to be pregnant.

"I really longed to start my own family, but hadn't found a suitable match until I was 37 and I was overjoyed when I found out I was pregnant.

"Unfortunately, seven weeks later, I suffered a miscarriage - from then on, my periods went ballistic."

Abigail's fibroids were first identified during a smear test, but as she wanted to have children, she decided against removing them because of the accompanying infertility risk.

Abigail before her stomach swelled. Credit: Jam Press
Abigail before her stomach swelled. Credit: Jam Press

However, she didn't realise there was also a fertility risk to keeping the tumours too.

She said: "It's a double-edged sword, as I didn't know keeping fibroids could also interfere with conceiving and as they weren't cancerous, I decided to get on with it.

"As my waistline expanded, I thought I was putting on weight - but I soon realised this wasn't the case."

She said that before her hysterectomy in August 2022: "The fibroids [were] pushing my organs up, causing me to have a large belly,

"I try to stay active, but I'm so frail and breathless due to the chronic pain and loss of blood."

Abigail after her hysterectomy. Credit: Jam Press
Abigail after her hysterectomy. Credit: Jam Press

Abigail explained that she suffered what a doctor described as the equivalent of a 72-hour labour and said she was in and out of hospital four times in 14 months.

Painful menstruation was not her only symptom and she also had abdominal and back pain, constipation, sleep deprivation, anaemia, mood swings and anxiety.

She explained that she was ultimately left with no option but to have a hysterectomy.

Abigail wants to help others, even though it's too late for her to have a family. Credit: Jam Press
Abigail wants to help others, even though it's too late for her to have a family. Credit: Jam Press

Abigail is now sharing her story to increase awareness of fibroids, explaining that if she'd known the facts, she'd have frozen her eggs on being diagnosed as she wanted to have a family.

She added that her condition saw her take multiple days off work, but she received no support for the loss of income, something she wants the British government to change.

"I've found information and comfort within the online community," she said, "but if I could go back to my former self, I would have pushed my GP for more advice.

"Take control over your own body and make informed decisions about your future - we need to stop the taboo on women's problems."

If you are worried about infertility, you can visit the NHS site for more information here. Or for free, impartial support, call Fertility Network UK on 0121 323 5025 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, or 07816 086694 on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 10am and 4pm. 

Topics: Health

Emma Guinness
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