Meet Natalie, aka The Spoonie Mummy, a 36 year old with two sons, aged 10 and 13. She suffers from multiple chronic illnesses and this is her story. Natalie is currently studying psychology at university because her plan is to be a psychotherapist. Natalie was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis at aged 15 months when her Mum noticed swelling in her hands, knees & ankles. She discovered her iritis at age 7 when she noticed changes in her vision. At ages 8-9, she unfortunately had issues with her bowel, the doctor thought it was just IBS, but Natalie had been experiencing constipation and a sluggish bowel for a while. At age 26, she was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease (which led to her Ileostomy).

Natalie’s current treatment plans started 6 years ago. In April 2016, she had surgery for her Crohn’s disease and part of her small and large bowel were removed. The surgeon also formed her ileostomy.  Further on from this, last year, the rest of her large bowel was removed. Natalie’s waste goes into a bag that is placed on the stomach, over her ileostomy, also known as a stoma. She has been on a lot of medication too, including steroids.

Natalie started a blog on an online website that she calls, to go along with her YouTube channel, Instagram and Facebook pages. The name Spoonie Mummy came from a lady called Christine who came up with the spoon theory, which explains the chronic illness symptom fatigue using spoons, and those with chronic illnesses following Christine’s theory call themselves spoonies. Natalie likes to show that life & parenting is still possible when you have chronic illnesses so not only does she post about mental health, spiralling from her keen interest in psychology, she posts book reviews and going out with her kids too. For example, if she goes to the zoo, she likes to write about accessibility points there. She has gained thousands of followers from when she started off sharing her story on IBD Facebook pages where she made good friends that shared her page.

Additionally, she works with the IA (Ileotomy and Internal Pouch Association) charity because she wants to support others with the same issues and show them that it is possible to live a rewarding life, even with multiple illnesses. On her blog, she posts a few times a week, and she does make it clear that even though she isn’t a medical professional, she likes to share the tips and tricks she has learnt along her journey.

It was a privilege to meet Natalie and gain a small insight into her world.  Check out her blog, it makes for an interesting and informative read.