Updated: Jan 18, 2019
I first came across Chloe having first tracked down her sister Amy, whose Paralympic achievements are mind-blowing. When I first interviewed Amy, she told me about how when she was small, she used to go to her Taekwando class with her younger sister Chloe. As I got to know Amy I heard all about Chloe, who is a winner in her own right. And here’s why.
When she was just 19 years old, Chloe moved to Germany, and married someone in the British military. But unfortunately things didn’t quite work out the way she planned, and the couple divorced when Chloe was 25. Undeterred, Chloe continued to live and work in Germany, embracing the local culture, making new friends and eventually meeting a new partner.
Chloe was happy yet again but once more, her hopes for happiness were dashed. She found out that she needed two fertility operations and that she would have difficulty conceiving. However, a couple of months after her second operation, Chloe fell pregnant but by this time, her relationship had ended. Her ex partner had made it clear that he didn’t want to play a role in their lives. So Chloe took the monumental decision to move back home. A decision she doesn’t regret at all as during that emotional time she felt she needed the support of her family.
Baby Arlo arrived, and Chloe’s life would never be the same again. In her own blog Chloe describes how, “Being a parent requires unconditional love, it is about loving another human more than anything else in the entire world, it's about learning the strengths you never knew you had and discovering weaknesses you weren't aware existed. It means deferring any of your own needs and desires in favour of those of your child. It isn't about what you think you have sacrificed; it is about all you have gained from becoming a parent. Everyday I wake up with a grateful heart as I know I am so blessed.”
Chloe made the decision to breastfeed Arlo, and has begun to write a blog about this. In it, she describes her experiences as a first time, single mum, breastfeeding in public. As is often the case, she has received mixed reactions to this, but stands by her decision.
Chloe writes about her experience of how anxious she was at the thought of her impending train ride with 15 week old Arlo. Needless to say, the scenarios that she’d played out came to fruition when Arlo decided, just 15 minutes into the journey, that he wanted a feed. However, Chloe did her thing and got on with it, despite being stared at by a lady sat opposite. I can only imagine this to have been just a little unnerving, after all, people’s reactions can be so unpredictable when it comes to matters such as this, I mean… breastfeeding in public! Cover yourself up for goodness sake!
But alas, Chloe didn’t receive this reaction at all. Quite the opposite in fact. The lady smiled and sparked up a conversation. She praised Chloe for breastfeeding her child and said it was an absolutely lovely thing to see as it isn't as popular these days as it once used to be, she explained how she breastfed her own five children. This made Chloe’s day.
Chloe tells her own ongoing story of motherhood in brutal honesty. The highs, the lows, the heartache and tears, and the important milestones that both Arlo and herself meet along the way. She is a very confident young lady who is proud of her body image. So often we are faced with photos of celebrities who within days of giving birth leave hospital with perfect bodies. I remember shuffling out of hospital, unable to sit down properly and enormous damp patches from my leaky boobs!
I love the way Chloe is so at ease with who she is. She embraces the way she has been changed by pregnancy and childbirth. I wanted to share a little of Chloe’s story as I feel it is an inspiration to others going through a similar experience. I cannot begin to imagine the strength of character needed to embark on the parenthood journey alone. Parental decisions, particularly those such as to breast or bottle feed can be a complete nightmare. There are no rights or wrongs and everyone's experience is personal and individual to them and their child.
I consider myself to have been blessed with marrying my best friend, my soul mate and a partner who shares the burdens of bringing up children. I take my hat off to Chloe, and others like her, who, for whatever reason, do this incredible job on their own.
I asked Chloe what she would say to someone who is going through a similar experience, and her advice is this, "Sometimes it takes an overwhelming breakdown to have an unbelievable break through, no matter how hard you have fallen the only way is up, just remember how far you have come, everything you have faced, believe in yourself a little more and have the faith things will work out if you maintain a positive mindset, don't let a bad experience break you, let it make you."