A Sutton woman who gave birth to two babies against all the odds after shedding more than a third of her body weight has spoken of her joy.
Samantha Meakin and partner Matthew Troke had been trying for a baby for nearly five years and had given up all hope of ever having another child when she suddenly fell pregnant.
The unexpected news came after Samantha (29), who stands at a tiny 4ft 10ins tall, had joined Forest Town Slimming World after ballooning to more than 13-and-a-half stones.
After losing four stones, she got pregnant with son Arthur and then, after losing her pregnancy weight by again following the Slimming World plan, she discovered that she was pregnant with daughter Amélie. “It was unbelievable,” she said. “We had waited all those years for one, then we were given a second.”
During her teens Samantha, of Redcliffe Street, Sutton, was diagnosed with polycystic ovaries and told it was unlikely she would ever conceive without medical assistance.
When she fell pregnant aged 19 with daughter Nellie-Jo, she said it was a ‘big shock’.
Following that pregnancy she put on a lot of weight and it was only when she and Matthew wanted to expand their family that she realised the consequences.
“My first pregnancy came out of the blue, but then I put lots of weight on and when we actually started trying for a baby, we were trying for five years.
“I went to the doctor after about a year and a half and they said it was because of my polycystic ovaries.
“When they said if I lost some weight that would help, you don’t really listen, because they blame your weight for everything,” said Samantha.
With a BMI of 39, Samantha was too overweight to be considered for IVF treatment.
But it was because she was so unhappy with herself that she joined Slimming World.
“I got to the point where I had totally given up. I became so unhappy each month waiting to find out if I was pregnant that I became so unbelievably low that I thought I needed to do something for me,” she said
After plucking up the courage to go to Slimming World in July 2010, Samantha adapted the healthy eating plan and lost six pounds in her first week.
She gradually lost more and more weight and said that the group therapy sessions really helped and supported her.
It was after losing four-and-a-half stones that she discovered she was pregnant.
“It was unbelievable. We sat in a bit of a daze because we had wanted it for so long,” she said.
“Straight away I knew it was because of the weight loss.”
During her pregnancy Samantha, who is also a Type 1 diabetic, put on about three stones, but shortly after giving birth in November 2011, she went straight back on to the plan.
Six months later, she was pregnant again, and Amélie was born in December 2012. She now has her hands full with a one-year-old, two-year-old and a nine-year-old.
And she has kept the weight off, losing just over five stones in total and wearing a dress size 8-10.
“Now I have no problems running after the kids,” she said.
“There’s no way I would have been able to keep up with them if I was the size I was.”
Samantha said that Arthur and Amélie are known as the ‘Slimming World babies’ because without the organisation she would ‘never have had more children’.
“It’s lovely. We are absolutely grateful and thankful,” added Samantha.
“From telling yourself you will never have any more children to having a massive family and having to move to a bigger house - I feel totally blessed.”