A woman who had her limbs amputated when she was a toddler has spoken of her joy at finding love, happiness and starting a family.
Danielle Bailey, 23, lost her legs and hands to meningitis when she was just four years old.
Growing up she worried that she may never find love because of how she looked. But now, she has everything she ever wanted. A doting partner and a gorgeous eleven-week-old baby – Teddy.
‘I’ve always wanted to be a mum but I didn’t think it would ever happen,’ says Danielle, who’s from Leeds.
‘In school, my friends all started getting boyfriends and I didn’t. I didn’t think I’d ever find love – never mind a baby because of the way I look.
‘But as I got older, I accepted my appearance and realised there will be someone out there who loves me for me.’
In October 2019, Danielle met Tom Twist, 34, in a pub.
‘He didn’t care that I am an amputee, and instantly showed me what true love is,’ she says.
When Danielle discovered she was pregnant, she worried about what other people might think. And she was anxious in case she wouldn’t be able to manage without her hands.
But now that her little boy is here, the self-taught makeup artist couldn’t imagine her life without him.
‘I was worried in case people questioned my parenting as I am an amputee,’ says Danielle.
‘I felt anxious as I thought I was going to be a bad mum because of my disability. I worried in case I wouldn’t be able to look after him. But as soon as he came into the world, I knew I could do it.
‘It all came naturally.’
Danielle admits that giving birth was the ‘hardest thing I have ever done’, purely because she didn’t know what to expect.
‘I was worried about bringing Teddy into the world but it has been fine,’ she says. ‘I have never let my disability hold me back. I am able to do everything as normal – the only thing I do differently is put the tub of milk on it’s side so I can reach in and scoop.’
Danielle also praises her supportive partner for stepping up and being a fantastic dad. She says parenthood has been a defining chapter in both of their lives.
‘I have learnt that looking different doesn’t mean you can’t have what everyone else has,’ says Danielle.
‘You can still follow your dreams and get what you want in life. Teddy has made me realise how precious life is. I can’t imagine life without him. He’s made me feel more confident than ever.
‘I used to worry about what people thought about me but now I am happy. My main goal is to be the best mum I can be and to make sure he has a good life.’
Danielle’s fears about other people’s judgement of her have so-far proved unfounded. She says everyone in her hometown is happy for her.
‘I’ve had nothing but praise from people,’ she adds. ‘I am always happy to help anyone who is thinking about having a baby but worried because of their disability.
‘I am living proof that you can do it.’
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