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Mum claims “natural food and mindfulness” brought her a miracle baby

Linda Vezzoli took her health “into her own hands” when she feared she might never become a mum.

BODY

A corporate high-flyer is so convinced that natural food and mindfulness brought her a miracle baby when all else failed, that she has quit corporate life to use the same techniques to help others.

A successful professional working as a product manager in the computer gaming industry, Linda Vezzoli, 44, was devastated when two traumatic miscarriages and an unsuccessful round of IVF left her fearing motherhood was beyond her reach.

But, when modern medicine failed her, Linda, of Norwood, south east London, took her health “into her own hands,” adopting a nutritious diet and using positive thinking to help her conceive.

Linda Vezzoli (Collect/ PA Real Life)

After almost a year of research and working out what worked best for her, just four months into implementing a stricter diet and taking control of her mindset, to the delight of Linda and her fiancé, IT manager Andrew, 38, they discovered she was pregnant and, in January 2015, baby Maia was born weighing 5lbs 5oz.

She said: “After I miscarried for the second time the doctor told me it was just bad luck and that there was nothing wrong with me.

“But I knew deep inside that no one understood my body better than me, so I took my physical and mental health into my own hands.”

 
 
 
 
 
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When investigations following her miscarriages revealed that Linda had an underactive thyroid, as a result of the hereditary autoimmune condition Hashimoto’s disease, she qualified for a round of IVF on the NHS.

But her hopes were soon dashed in October 2013 when she discovered it had failed.

“I was beginning to lose all hope, so I decided to change my diet and mindset,” she continued. “I started eating more oily fats, vegetables and protein – forcing myself to eat food like sardines and salmon – and I took supplements, too.”

 

She continued: “I took up yoga, I wrote down what I was grateful for every day and started to visualise the life I wanted.

“I wanted to get rid of the, ‘My life is terrible, I’m the only woman in the world who can’t have a baby,’ mentality. Instead, I affirmed to myself that my body was ready for pregnancy.

“I really believe that taking control of my mind and body – and not putting my life on hold any more – helped me to have my beautiful baby girl.”

Linda Vezzoli (Collect/ PA Real Life)

Not only did her new lifestyle bring her the baby she longed for, but Linda says the positive thinking she adopted completely changed her working life – inspiring her to leave her job, retrain and start her own naturopathic nutritional therapy practice in Clapham, south west London.

She said: “My own struggles with fertility ignited my passion for nutrition.

“Now I help women who are either struggling with their hormones, fertility, fatigue or weight loss.”

“Whenever I get a new client, I sit down with them for a two-hour session to find out everything about them – not just what they eat – before I create them a plan,” Linda said.

Linda first started trying for a baby with Andrew – who proposed on a family camping trip to Wales last year – in 2011.

“I’d always wanted to be a mum, but it wasn’t until my 30s that I really felt that compelling urge,” she said.

 

“I was a bit older, but I didn’t think anything about my age, and I fell pregnant within the first few months of trying.”

Sadly, just 14 days after discovering she was expecting, Linda suffered severe cramping and bleeding – miscarrying at six weeks.

She said: “From the moment you find out you’re pregnant everything shifts in your mind.”

Linda Vezzoli (Collect/ PA Real Life)

Linda continued: “You start building this new future in your head and it’s impossible to go back to how you were before.

“I went to see my doctor, who said it was common for women to miscarry and we should carry on trying.”

Falling pregnant once more  in October 2012, again it was not meant to be.

 
 
 
 
 
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“Exactly as before, at six weeks, I miscarried again,” Linda recalled.

“The doctor reassured me there was nothing wrong with me, but I wasn’t completely convinced.”

Certain she had a medical problem, Linda saw a private miscarriage specialist on London’s famous Harley Street, where her thyroid problems were detected.

 

“I had lots of tests done and they found my thyroid was a bit sluggish and that I had high levels of natural killer cells,” she said.

“The doctor thought the natural killer cells could have been attacking my embryo and that could have been the reason why I kept miscarrying.”

Prescribed steroids in a bid to suppress her immune system, Linda hated taking them.

Linda Vezzoli (Collect/ PA Real Life)

“I took them for a few months, but they made me feel horrible, so I had to stop,” she said, admitting that trying to become a mum had started negatively impacting on her life.

“I was worried trying to get pregnant might destroy my relationship, because I was obsessively living from cycle to cycle.

“As soon as my period came, I was really depressed. When it went away again, I was filled with excitement and hope about the possibility of becoming pregnant.”

Linda Vezzoli (Collect/ PA Real Life)

Consumed by her efforts to get pregnant, Linda barely noticed when her weight started creeping up.

“I put on about 10kg in a short space of time,” she said. “I thought I’d put it on because trying to fall pregnant was so tiresome and I was just being lazy.

“But then I started doing my own research and I realised that I could have an underactive thyroid, so I went to see a doctor to get officially diagnosed.”

 

After seeing a functional doctor – a medic who examines a patient’s genetic response to certain nutrients – her suspicions were confirmed when she was told her weight gain was being caused by Hashimoto’s.

According to the British Thyroid Foundation, if left untreated or under-treated, the condition is also likely to make it more difficult to conceive.

Linda explained: “Having an underactive thyroid can seriously impact your health.”

Linda Vezzoli (Collect/ PA Real Life)

“I’d put my low mood down to my struggle to have a baby, my thinning hair down to the stress of it all and the weight gain down to comfort eating – but these were all symptoms of an underactive thyroid,” she continued.

“Because I have Hashimoto’s, which is autoimmune, I also qualified for a round of IVF treatment on the NHS.”

But the treatment, which she had in September 2013, sadly failed.

 
 
 
 
 
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“We did the IVF injections together as a couple, ” she said.

“It was another waiting game, though, left on tenterhooks, anticipating the phone call from the hospital.

“Finally, we were called in and I had two embryos implanted, before we waited again to see if it worked.”

 

She continued: “Waking up in the early hours that night, though, I had a sense of impending doom.

“And, forced to wait two weeks to do a pregnancy test, the result was negative – leaving us both heartbroken.”

Fearing another failed attempt might push her over the edge, in February 2014, Linda resolved to take matters into her own hands, by taking back control of her mind and body.

Linda Vezzoli (Collect/ PA Real Life)

“I didn’t want my desire to get pregnant to control my life anymore and I didn’t want to feel like a victim – so I put it to the back of my mind,” she said.

“I’d already done research into ways to improve my diet after I miscarried the second time – I’d already been on a journey with food – but after I saw the functional doctor, who advised me on food intolerances, I started becoming stricter with what I ate.

“I knew if I wanted to conceive naturally, I needed to tackle my thyroid, and from my previous research, I found that autoimmune conditions are closely linked with gut health.”

 
 
 
 
 
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“So I amended my diet even more – gluten tends to make the gut worse, so I cut out gluten and dairy to a certain extent and I started eating lots of fish and healthy fats,” she continued.

“I also worked on my mind, using mindfulness and meditating.

“Before, if I saw a pregnant woman on the Tube, it felt like I’d been stabbed in the heart.”

 

She added: “But if you have a negative mindset, thinking, ‘I’m never going to have a baby,’ it becomes your story.

“So, I did lots of self-affirmation, visualised what I wanted and told myself I was ready to become a mum.

“I also made sure I lived my life to the full and wrote down things I was grateful for on a daily basis.”

Linda Vezzoli (Collect/ PA Real Life)

Just four months after Linda amended her diet and embraced her new outlook, in May 2014, she found out she was pregnant again – despite not actively trying.

“I hadn’t had my period, it wasn’t particularly late but for some reason, I suppose out of habit, I took a pregnancy test,” she said.

“When it was positive, I was thrilled and terrified at the same time.”

 
 
 
 
 
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“It was a complete shock, because I’d been focusing on my mind and body and hadn’t been actively trying to get pregnant,” she continued.

Reaching six weeks – when she had lost her babies before – her nerves returned, but she passed the crucial date without incident.

“I did get awful morning sickness, but it was reassuring because it meant I was still pregnant, and I enjoyed having the symptoms,” she said.

 

And, convinced that her new healthy lifestyle and nurturing outlook had been behind her success, midway through her pregnancy Linda quit her job to study Naturopathic Nutritional Therapy full-time.

“When I was investigating my own fertility, I realised I was interested in nutrition,” she said. “So, I quit my job and retrained – because I wanted to help others in the same way I’d helped myself.”

With a new career in her sights, Linda also became a first-time mum to baby Maia on January 2015.

Linda Vezzoli (Collect/ PA Real Life)

“It was such a surreal feeling,” she said. “I hadn’t allowed myself to get excited until I actually gave birth and it felt so special, because I gave birth naturally with no gas and air after a six-hour labour on my due date.”

Then, in July 2016, she qualified from the College of Naturopathic Medicine with a diploma in Naturopathic Nutrition – starting her own practice in April 2017.

“Juggling motherhood with starting a new business wasn’t easy – but Andrew has been so supportive,” she said. “He’s a fantastic father and I couldn’t do what I do now without him.”

 
 
 
 
 
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“Now I get to help other women who might be going through a similar ordeal to my own experience,” Linda said.

“I used to think, ‘Why me?’ but looking back, I realise everything happened for a reason. It was meant to be, as it put me where I am today and was a lesson in patience and letting go.

“Before my pregnancy journey I believed that if you work hard at something, you’d get it, but that’s not the case with fertility – it doesn’t work like that.”

 

She added: “Instead, when I seized control of my mind and body and started living my life properly, I had a healthy pregnancy.

“Women should never feel alone, or suffer in silence, there is always hope.

“Now I want to help empower other women, so they can take back control of their minds and bodies and, in turn, control their future.”

To find out more visit: www.nutritional-therapist.co.uk