A mother who was diagnosed with cancer after giving birth thought she was doing the right thing by not bonding with her baby. But she eventually had a change of heart.
Hannah Toohill got a heartbreaking cancer diagnosis only 11 weeks after giving birth to her son, Fraser. Baby Fraser was born prematurely and spent several months in the hospital after his birth. During this time, however, Hannah was informed she had an incurable form of blood cancer and doctors estimated she only had a few months to live. Struggling to figure out how to ease the pain of her family, the Scotland-based mother thought it would be better for her newborn son if he didn’t get attached to her.
As such, the 29-year old spent the first few months of her son’s life following her diagnosis by keeping her distance. “When I was first diagnosed, I couldn’t get my head around the fact the type of cancer I had was incurable,” she said, The Mirror reports. "I loved Fraser so much, I wanted to be with him. But I didn’t want to bond with him because I thought that if I was going to die, then it would kinder on him if he hadn’t got to know me.”
Hannah explained that she thought her time would be better spent with her older child, since her daughter was already attached to her. “I thought the right thing was to spend time with my daughter Catherine, who knew me already and would have memories with me. So while my husband spent time with Fraser every day, I hardly ever went to the hospital to visit him."
Eventually, however, Hannah had a change of heart when she realized her treatment was working. The mother-of-two realized it was causing both her and her son more pain to be apart from one another. “My mindset only started to change when I realised the treatment I was receiving was working and I was actually doing okay,” she explained.
Hannah has already undergone four months of chemotherapy. She also had a stem cell transplant at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow. “Most people are kept in hospital for 14 days after a stem cell transplant but I was in for five weeks, as I didn’t recover quickly enough,” she explained. “Probably because my body hadn’t had time to recover from pregnancy before my cancer treatment began.”
It’s been a full year since Hannah’s diagnosis and she’s currently in remission, though she says it’s likely the cancer will one day return. “It could be in six months or in six years – there is no way to predict. I just have to hope that, in the meantime, scientists will find a cure,” she said.
However, the mom is focusing on her young family. They even celebrated baby Fraser’s first birthday! “Now I can’t get enough of Fraser – we have such a wonderful relationship. He’s such a mummy’s boy,” Hannah said. As for her cancer, she says she’s doing her best to not focus on it. Rather, her energy is directed at living in the moment and making memories with her family.
"I don’t waste a lot of time thinking about my illness – it doesn’t often cross my mind that I have cancer,” she explained. “Instead, I’m enjoying living my life, doing as much with my children as I possibly can. I know how precious life is and I don’t intend to waste a minute.”