There are few women out there as inspiring as the simply beautiful Kelly Cartwright. After surviving a rare form of cancer that took her leg at just 15 years old, Kelly has gone on thrive as a gold medalist Paralympian and, as a mother. Pregnant with her second baby, we had the pleasure of meeting Kelly and chatting about optimism, diversity and of course, motherhood.
Could you describe yourself in one sentence?
I’m the kind of person that can’t sit still, that has to do everything yesterday! Loud and stubborn but with a huge heart.
When you were 15 you lost part of your leg to a rare form of cancer, we can’t begin to imagine how impossibly challenging that would have been.
Did this experience hinder your thoughts about whether you would become a mother?
Im not really sure it came into my thoughts at the age of 15, I definitely worried about if my bf would still want to date me, or how my friends would take me! It wasn’t until I actually had some people reach out to me, to ask those personal questions about their own children that I soon realised, that of course I can still have children and a loving relationship! I can have all the things everyone else has. I was also very lucky I didn’t have to go through chemotherapy, I am aware that can make things difficult.
How does the amount of stamina required to be an Olympian compare to the amount of stamina required to be a mum?
It’s so hard to compare the both! The one thing I will say Is training ends! You have set times, get it done and rest. Being a mother never ends. It’s 24/7 ( especially if your 3 year old still sleeps with you 🙄)
I do think being fit and healthy and pushing my body past limits I didn’t know possible has made me a stronger mum than I thought!
Things don’t always go to plan; in life and in pregnancy and motherhood.From all that you’ve survived –how do you maintain your positivity and ‘never-give-up’ attitude when things don’t go how you envisaged?
This is one question I sometimes struggle with, because it’s hard to put into words. We all have moments and days where it would be easier to give up, but how does giving up and chucking in the towel help anyone? You have to look at your situation, put things into perspective and try to pick out the positives, and focus on those. It’s also so important to surround yourself with supportive people, reach out to them and talk.
We really don’t know how strong we can be until we are in a sitiuaton where it forces you to be.
Society is finally starting to do more around embracing diversity. How has this changed your experience as a disabled woman, and what do we still need to do?
Its taken away some of the stigma that comes with having a disability, I’ve been given opportunities that I don’t think I would of been given years ago. It’s shown people what we are all still capable of. But that said yes we still have a way to go! We are going in the right direction, but we could definitely improve with education. Everything starts with children’, and if we can teach young ones about diversity, about different types of people, body shapes, disabilities, colour, beliefs etc then people will grow up with more of an open mind and maybe we won’t even have a divide.
This is your second baby, is there anything you’ll do differently this time around?
I’m not sure there is. Maybe set more of a routine in the early days 🙄 but that’s easy to say! As every baby has different plans, and for us we did what worked and kept us sane with Max! So who knows once she’s here.
What will be the first thing you enjoy post-partum that you couldn’t have while you were pregnant?
Red wine! And not just a glass probably a few haha. But on a serious note! Bench pressing and chin ups. Once I get the all clear that is. I can’t wait to push myself hard if not harder in the gym.
What’s your must have piece of maternity clothing?
I actually can’t pick one! I would have to say a casual tight dress with a cardi over the top! I don’t know about others but when I’m pregnant I wear a cardi over everything!