Like Harriet

Pregnancy should be one of the most exciting times of your life, as you eagerly wait to meet your beautiful baby boy or girl. For Harriet, with the exception of some pretty bad morning sickness, her second pregnancy was all going fine until, at 31-weeks, she received the heartbreaking news that she had incurable lung cancer.

It had been a pretty standard pregnancy. Apart from terrible morning sickness, I was fine. I was excited to meet my second baby boy.

I then got a pain in my leg, very much like cramp. My GP thought I may have deep vein thrombosis.

During this time, I also suffered from a short period of amnesia. I forgot who I was. I forgot I was pregnant. I called my husband into the room to ask him who Toby was; our eldest son, James, kept talking about Toby and I didn’t know who it was.

Through tears, my husband said that was the name we had picked for our son. When I asked, ‘What son?’, he had to explain that I was pregnant. I had absolutely no recollection.

Thinking I had had a stroke, he took me to A&E only for me to be sent home with ‘baby brain’.

"I always think on a bad day “If I didn’t have a family then it wouldn’t be so bad"
Harriet was diagnosed with incurable lung cancer when she was 31 weeks pregnant

It was only when the pain I was having moved to my shoulder, I had a chest x-ray. It was pretty much a whirlwind of devastation from there.

Toby was born, safely, via c-section at 34 weeks. He’s now six months old and is absolutely fine but I am living with the fear that I will die before I get chance to explain to my sons. I need them to know I didn’t want to leave and I’m terrified I’m going to have to before they can understand.

I know they’ll be ok. They’ve got a lot of people around them who love them and they’ve got the best dad in the world, so from a happiness point of view they’ll be alright but I just couldn’t bear it if they just didn’t understand what happened.

Harriet is living with incurable lung cancer
Harriet on the set of the LikeMe photoshoot

I always think on a bad day “If I didn’t have a family then it wouldn’t be so bad because I wouldn’t be so concerned about leaving them, that it wouldn’t ruin their lives as much as it would mine”.

But then at the same point, I’ve been so lucky particularly at the age I am to have had my sons and to have had my husband.

We don’t know what’s going to happen, but at least I can give them the best start I possibly can with my husband. That’s my goal at the moment.”

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