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Lauren and Helen


Lauren McMenemy in conversation with
Helen Deverell

Helen is pregnant with her first child. She previously had breast cancer, and conceived only after coming off her medication and undergoing IVF. All the elements were seemingly against her even before the pandemic came along, but Helen is the most courageous woman I know, and she pushes onwards. We speak by the ubiquitous Zoom, her in Berkshire and me not too far away in south London.


Note 1: March-May

“Being pregnant, following cancer, and finding out your son has a heart condition, is all scary enough. But put a pandemic on top? Every time you worry about one thing, it’s linked to another. Will he survive the surgery? Will there be a surgeon well enough to operate?”

“I’d never really thought about how seeing facial expressions enables us to interpret the clinicians’ tone of voice. In hospital waiting rooms you stand on an X, all the chairs are removed – it’s a bit like the beginning of an apocalyptic movie. Day to day life isn’t that different, but when I go to the hospital, the reality of what’s going on in the world hits you in the face.”

“There are days I feel angry and incredibly tired. It all got to me around the time I started to hear they might not allow partners at births. It’s one thing Craig not being at the birth, but if our son didn’t make it through surgery then Craig would never have met him…”

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