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Motherhood has to be the most important job on Earth however its not often we take the time to fully acknowledge the selfless service women provide for their families on a daily basis. So, during the month of May, we are celebrating all of the incredible mamas in our community to coincide with Mother’s Day.
We have interviewed a bunch of mothers we love about the blissful times, the challenges and their parenting styles. First up is fashion journalist, Elle Halliwell.
Healthy, happy and successful, the Daily Telegraph Fashion Editor went for routine blood tests last May before she and husband Nick Biasotto tried for their first baby. Her world changed forever when she received the shattering diagnosis – she had chronic myeloid leukaemia [CML] a disease that, before 2001, had a five-year survival rate of fewer than one in three. Just 48 hours later, the 30 year-old learned she was pregnant with her first child. Advised to terminate her pregnancy and immediately start her treatment for the aggressive form of blood cancer, Elle instead made the courageous choice to put her baby before her own health and continue on with the pregnancy. Elle and Nick welcomed their healthy son Tor Felix into the world last December, and she has since captivated the nation with her strength, positivity and grace. Elle welcomed Children of the Tribe into her home to meet Tor and spoke exclusively about motherhood, her health challenges and those magical newborn moments. Images by Lara Milenko.
This will be your first Mother’s Day. After everything you’ve been through, it will no doubt be a special day for you?
I am so excited. This time last year I never imagined I'd be holding a baby in my arms. I couldn't really see very far into the future at all. So I'll be relishing every single moment I spend with him on Mother's Day. It's a bittersweet time though, as I am also 'celebrating' my cancer-versary in May. Big month for our family!
It is early days but what has motherhood taught you so far?
To be patient, relaxed and in-the-moment. Every week he learns and does something new, so appreciating each chapter of his life is so important as you'll never be able to experience those same moments again. I’ve also learned the amazing resilience of an extremely sleep-deprived body!
What is one treasured moment you've shared with Tor?
I remember one evening I was feeding him in bed before I put him down to sleep, when he was about 10 weeks old. He was just starting to become aware of the world around him, and as he started feeding he just stared at me with complete adoration, like I was his whole universe. I cried. The memory still brings me to tears.
And the most challenging moment?
The first two weeks were so hard. I'd come through the end of the pregnancy after months of worry and uncertainty, and I had clearly been suppressing a lot of emotions during this time and they all decided to pour out like an avalanche during this time. I think a lack of sleep was a big factor.
You are currently in treatment, how are you feeling?
I'm feeling good. The major side effects such as bone pain, skin irritation and inflammation, and fatigue are much more manageable a few months on. Having a newborn to care for is a great distraction!
You have inspired so many people with your bravery and positive attitude. Have you always been such a strong woman or did knowing you were going to become a mother help you discover an inner strength?
If someone had told me what I would have to go through last year before it took place. I would have asked them where the nearest bridge was, and tried to jump off. But when it happened I just thought to myself, "at this moment, I'm scared, but physically I'm feeling OK, so if I just concentrate of how I feel right now, I can get through the day." The hardest days were the ones where I felt ill; it made me much more aware of the challenges I was facing.
Which of your characteristics would you most like Tor to inherit?
My love of reading and gentleness towards animals.
What is your favourite thing to do with your husband and little man?
We all lay in bed before Nick starts work and sing along to cheesy songs together. Nick and I compete with each other to see who can make Tor smile more; even our cat Chairman Meow joins us!
To you, motherhood is…
A lesson in selflessness.
Images by Lara Milenko www.laramilenko.com