Polly on pregnancy and cancer

A woman and her child sitting at a table reading through a children's book.
A woman and her child sitting at a table reading through a children's book.

Polly was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012 while pregnant. Receiving a cancer diagnosis during pregnancy can be even more frightening

and confusing. Polly experienced some difficult times, often feeling that she couldn't focus on her pregnancy.

Polly's story

When I fell pregnant, my partner and I were thrilled. However, when I was 12 weeks pregnant, I checked my breasts in the bath and found a pea-sized lump in the left breast. When I thought it could be cancer, I was terrified.

I lay awake at night wondering whether I should end the pregnancy to give myself a better chance of being around for my first child. It was an impossible decision.

But, I didn't want to lose the baby. I decided to have surgery and less than a month after being diagnosed, I had a mastectomy.

A few weeks later, I began chemotherapy. During chemotherapy I switched off from being pregnant. I wouldn't buy anything and envied other expectant mums. Emotionally, I felt robbed. My daughter, Breea, was only two so my partner told her I was poorly and that's why I had to go to hospital.

My son, Alfie, was born by C-section five weeks early, weighing 5lb 13oz. As Alfie was poorly, he had to go into the neonatal unit.

When I finally got to hold him, it was incredible. Throughout the pregnancy, I hadn’t let myself imagine what it could be like. Now, there he was, fully formed and perfect. He’d survived it all. My little miracle.

I'm now on the mend. Alfie is smiling and has a tuft of hair and Breea loves helping me look after him. I can't believe Alfie is nearly 4 and I will be celebrating my 40th birthday next month. Where does the time go?