Carly’s Story

‘My name is Carly, I am a Marketing professional, Diversity and Inclusion consultant and a retired GB wheelchair racer. I have a son and we live in Manchester with my partner, who is an Electrical Engineer.

I was born 10 weeks early with complications at birth resulting in Cerebral Palsy which impacts my balance, coordination and general mobility.

In 2012,  inspired by London Paralympics, I took up wheelchair racing and it was the start of a 5 year career which saw me become a European 2016 silver medalist, Rio 2016 100m finalist and 2017 World Championship finalist . This part of my life was physically and mentally grueling but a life-altering experience which I am incredibly proud of. I returned to my day job in 2017 and I fell pregnant shortly after. It was planned but as disability isn’t often represented within the pregnancy landscape there is little conversation surrounding disabled mums. With a lack of information I was anxious about how I would manage the day-to-day aspects of childcare and meeting other mums. The practicalities of walking with a baby had always scared me!

The pregnancy itself was relatively straight forward but after my son was born I had extreme anxiety and struggled with the transition of having a career to having a baby. I became more isolated as time went on. I had lost all confidence and as a result I avoided meeting new people or going to new places in case I needed help. An undiagnosed condition post-birth and the dramatic shift in my personal relationships compounded a tough situation into what felt like an impossible one. At this point I spiraled into depression and I was referred to Home-Start Manchester via an intervention service.

The volunteer I was placed with was nothing short of amazing, it was a relief to have someone to talk to and be given a break with the ‘heavy lifting’. She helped me access playgroups and I slowly started to feel better as she was a huge advocate for accepting support and I found the confidence to start medication.  I returned to work when my son was a year old but I’ve stayed involved with Home-Start Manchester as a way of giving back. Please support their fundraising campaign so that they can help other families like mine. Thank you.’

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