Agony of my baby's death finally gave me strength to escape life of hell, says Malin Andersson
WAKING up in hospital after overdosing on painkillers, Malin Andersson knew she had hit rock bottom.
The Love Island star had surrendered to all the pain and grief in her life, after losing her mother and baby daughter within 14 months of each other.
Her mum, Consy, died from cancer in November 2017 aged 65.
Then in January 2019 her only child, her four-week-old daughter — also named Consy in honour of Malin’s mum and born seven weeks premature — passed away.
Two years on, Malin, 28, has fought the emotional pain and learned to live life to the fullest.
And this Mother’s Day, now a motivational speaker, she will be holding her head high.
She says: “I realise now you have to be cracked open with pain in order for the light to shine through you.
“The toughest souls go through it at the darkest times. I had to learn the hard way to be independent and give myself the love that I deserve.
“Mother’s Day for me is just like any other day. Don’t get me wrong — when I go into Tesco and see all the cards, I pretend that they are not there. But I am still kind to myself.
“For me it is a double whammy because I lost my mum and my daughter very close to each other.
“But I can either choose to be depressed or I can move forward in life.
"I make sure I carry on and do something positive with it for the sake of my mum and daughter.”
Malin, whose father Rune died of skin cancer before she was a year old, got pregnant with Consy in May 2018 with ex-partner Tom Kemp, 29.
Last September he was jailed for an assault that left Malin requiring hospital treatment for a broken hand.
He had admitted assault causing actual bodily harm and was sentenced to ten months.
But he was released after three months and is serving the rest on home- detention curfew.
Malin, from Milton Keynes, says: “I fell pregnant a few months after my mum had passed away, so at the beginning I looked at it as a blessing in disguise.
“But obviously it didn’t turn out that way.
'FELT QUITE TRAPPED'
“My pregnancy wasn’t planned and it was a bit of a shock for me and Tom, as I had only been with him for three months and there were constant arguments between us.
“I was emotional, hormonal and felt quite trapped.
“A lot of the time I was just crying to my mum, longing for her. But what kept me going were the baby scans.
“Every time I went, the scans came up perfectly fine.”
I lost essentially all the love I ever had in my life in one hit
But six months into her pregnancy, Malin went to hospital after she instinctively sensed something was wrong.
She says: “I couldn’t feel any movement.
“I was trying to do tips and tricks to get her moving, like drinking ice-cold water, and there was, like, a little dainty kick but that was all.
“When I woke up in the morning I went straight to hospital. The heartbeat wasn’t right and the doctor said, ‘We are going to deliver the baby right now, by emergency C-section’.”
Consy was born on December 23, 2018, nearly two months early.
A heart defect had been detected at 33 weeks but at 4lb 8oz, she was too small to be operated on.
The tiny baby managed to cling on for a month, with Malin by her side at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Malin says: “It was a lot of anxiety, worry, stress. I wasn’t eating and I was living in Great Ormond Street. I remember her eyes opening at one point.
“They were really brown and I remember looking into them and thinking, ‘She is an old soul’.
“I tried to spend every minute that I could there but it was a constant mind-f***.
“There are babies that go in and they just improve every single day but with her it just went up and down — and then nothing at all.”
Consy’s death, on January 22, 2019, left Malin longing for her late mum.
She says: “I lost essentially all the love I ever had in my life in one hit. I was at my lowest point. There was nothing else I could do so I just surrendered.
“I hit rock bottom. I didn’t want to be here any more and tried to overdose by taking lots of painkillers.
“Then I woke up in A&E. I felt like I didn’t have a purpose, I felt like there was no point in me existing.
“It’s like when you feel so helpless and so invisible — I had nothing left.
“But when I surrendered, I then allowed myself to heal.”
Five months after baby Consy’s death, Malin found the strength to leave Kemp for good.
She says: “When I lost Consy, I realised I didn’t deserve what Tom was doing to me and that I respected myself enough to let him go and know my worth.
"I gave myself time to grieve and that is when I became the person I am now.”
LOSS AND TRAUMA
Despite the loss and trauma the body-positive star has faced, she has since made a remarkable transformation in her life.
Malin says: “When I look back on it all, I realise she wasn’t meant to be here. She was my little angel-baby and was here to take me away from a life of hell with him.
“I know that everything happens for a reason. I still get reminders now of Consy.
“For instance, my periods remind me that I am not pregnant — the symptoms you get with your period are very similar to pregnancy symptoms.
I want to be able to be that person who puts their hand up to baby loss so others can be OK
“You can’t help stuff like that, and you need to do whatever it takes to just look after yourself.
“And I can’t live life resenting anyone or anything because that just drains me of energy.”
Malin, whose podcast Battles is about overcoming adversity, urges other mums to appreciate their bodies and know the subject of baby loss is not off-limits.
She says: “My body-positivity message wasn’t always there, it came post- pregnancy.
"I will always go back to if my little girl was alive, what she’d be seeing around her and thinking.
“How we look is essentially a load of bulls**t. It’s what’s inside that matters.
“I want to be able to be that person who puts their hand up to baby loss so others can be OK.
"I want people to understand that it is OK to talk about it and that it’s not taboo.”
Malin has vowed to stay positive this Mother’s Day.
She says: “I will be giving myself all the time in the world.
"I will go to my daughter’s grave and I will sit there for a bit.
"I won’t feel sorrow. I will speak to her and say, ‘Look how far I have come and look at what I am doing now’.
“But I know, until I have my own family, any sort of occasion will be difficult.
“I just live for the hope that one day I will have a family of my own.
“Hope gives me a purpose because that means I am looking towards the future — and that is what helps me get up every morning.”
How to get help
IF you are affected by any of the issues raised here, do not struggle in silence – call these freephone lines for help.
- Domestic violence: National Domestic Abuse Helpline, 0808 2000 247
- Baby loss: The Lullaby Trust, 0808 802 6868
- Mental health: Samaritans, 116 123
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