In January 2001 I had a brain haemorrhage whilst 19 weeks pregnant. It affected my right side leaving me with a limp, paralysed arm, dominant hand and Aphasia. I began to use my left hand but I still had no way of speaking.

I felt as though with having no voice everything was being decided for me. My birth plan was decided, which hospital, when I would have a C-section, you name it, it was decided.

Slowly I began to understand words and began to write down things. Then one day whilst at speech therapy, the therapist had issued me with picture cards and asked me to say what I saw. I just got frustrated and started to cry, I wrote down “I am never going to be able to talk”. She said, “I want to try something different with you”, we are going to sing a nursery rhyme, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star...”. The Therapist started off singing the start of the nursery rhyme but to my astonishment I began singing too.

Then she said “I want you to recite the alphabet", I tried and tried to say “A” but it wouldn’t come but the Therapist said we will say “A” together, I couldn’t manage to say “A” however I did manage to sing the rest of the Alphabet.

My husband practiced songs, nursery rhymes saying the first part and then I would carry on. My next Speech Therapy session the Therapist said, I want you to play a game of opposites, she would say Bat and I would say Ball, Sun and Moon, I was in tears, this was a major breakthrough.

In May my Daughter was born she was perfect but I felt that Doctors and Therapists were interfering, I knew what I could do and what I couldn’t. One time I remember the Nurse saying to me in a rather sarcastic manner – How do you think you will cope? I couldn’t speak, I immediately burst in to tears but armed with pen and paper I very big capital letter wrote” VERY EASILY”.

My daughter was 2 when I went back to work part time, but I was struggling every time the phone rang I would shake. I couldn’t do it, it was too early I ended up leaving the position. I decided to do some distance learning courses and set a website called Mums with disability.

My speech had improved, however nowhere near perfect, I would still not be able to get the words out even more so when I was nervous, tired and ill. It had been 8 years since the stroke and I decided to go back to work. When I used to answer the phone I used to write prompts like ”Good Morning” as long as I knew what the call would entail I would be able to cope. I remember taking a few bad calls I just froze the words just wouldn’t come out and I would inevitably end up in tears, little by little I ended up losing confidence.

I enjoyed studying and it was my dream to become a Counsellor to Mums with a disability. I loved college but it was during a Mock Counselling Session the Tutor said” I have been meaning to say this for a while, you will never make a Counsellor because you say “er” to much and you sound has if you don’t know what you’re saying. You always pause before starting a sentence. I was gutted, say I was suffering from Aphasia and that’s why. She bizarrely said “well I would go and get some electric shock treatment if I was you and left the room. I did go back to complete the year, however the following year I had lost all confidence in my tutor and myself.

My daughter is a teenager, my husband continues to support me in everything I do. I have a new job and I continue to run my website offering a chat service and a 1 to 1 online Counselling Service for a Small donation to help me with costs.  If anyone is interested in Counselling there is a link below.

Karen Rowley