I was left infertile after my miscarriage – but my dreams of becoming a mum came true when I was blessed with a stepdaughter
THIRTY-ONE years ago, Linda Kidney was left devastated when she was told she'd never be able to have a child.
The 57-year-old, who lives is Northampton but is originally from Virginia, USA, was robbed of her chance to conceive by a womb infection after miscarrying at nearly five months pregnant.
But she was given a second chance when she fell for accountant Stephen King, now 60, at work and met his three-year-old daughter Leanne.
Linda is the runner-up in the Stepmum category of Fabulous' Mum of the Year 2019 competition. She was nominated by proud stepdaughter Leanne King, who told us: "Linda is the most wonderful person I know."
Here, Leanne tells us her incredible story of having a second chance at motherhood…
I was nearly five months pregnant when I had a miscarriage at home. This was years ago, in 1986, things were different then and I wasn't offered a D&C (dilation and curettage).
A week after the miscarriage, I came down with a severe infection which caused cysts, abdominal adhesion and eventually infertility.
There must have been something left inside me.
Nobody knew what the damage was at first, it was only when I started trying for a baby again with my ex-husband that we realised I couldn't get pregnant.
I had a few tests and that's when the doctors told me I was infertile. It was devastating, I was down for quite some time.
It was devastating, I had always wanted to be a mother
When you realise it's something which could have been avoided, it was even more painful and upsetting. I'd always wanted to be a mother.
I don't work anymore because of complications from my miscarriage.
I get abdominal obstructions, which are uncontrollably painful, I end up in hospital four or five times-a-year so they can monitor the blockage.
But you just deal with these things, you never know what you’re going to get given in life.
Back in the 90s, I was working as a car sales receptionist at Nissan, where Stephen was our accountant.
After my first marriage broke down, we fell in love and married in a beautiful ceremony in 1998.
Four years earlier, Stephen had first introduced me to his daughter Leanne – who was the loveliest child.
It was a bit hard at first, I wasn't used to being a mum, but Leanne was never difficult and never made me feel like I was trying to take over from her biological mother.
In some ways I feel like I didn’t have children for a reason. She was a little girl who needed someone to look after her, and I could give her all my time
Our relationship was sweet and natural, we hit it off from the beginning.
Leanne's biological mum had custody during the week but we used to have her every weekend.
Stephen would do a two-hour journey to collect her on a Friday and take her back on the Sunday night.
When she was with us, it was all about Leanne.
We’d go out for the day to Legoland or somewhere, and theme parks as she got older, just to make sure she enjoyed herself when she was with us.
In some ways I feel like I didn’t have children for a reason.
She was a little girl who needed someone to look after her, and I could give her all my time because I didn’t have other children.
In the early days, people would say to me ‘she’s not yours’, but it makes no difference.
Unless you’re in that position, you can’t say how you’d feel about something. To me, she’s my daughter and she always will be.
I was there for all the things she felt she couldn't talk to her mum about, just normal girl stuff when she was growing up.
We’re as close as anything, even closer than mother and daughter, she includes me in everything.
We love to go shopping and recently she took me on a surprise spa day.
Or we just do normal things like walking the dogs, it’s lovely that she wants to spend time with me like that.
In August Leanne married her husband Paul, 40, and I helped her organise the barn wedding.
It was a very special day, I'll never forget it, she didn't stop smiling the whole time.
Leanne told Fabulous Digital: "My stepmum Linda is the most wonderful person I know, she’s been in my life since I was three years old and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
"Unfortunately Linda wasn’t able to have children of her own due to a neglected miscarriage that resulted in multiple operations and a series of adhesion that she still suffers with now.
"This being said she treats me as her own and our motherly bond is so strong.
"Last year I got married and Linda put all her efforts into making it the perfect day for us.
"She handmade all the table decorations and was by my side for all the important decisions – including my wedding dress.
"I nominated her because I want to show her how much she means to be – and that love is so much more important than blood."
Meanwhile, Lynn Dauson has fostered 30 kids after saying she didn't want anyone to suffer an abusive childhood like she did.
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