A Spalding mum who suffered the heartbreak of losing an unborn baby says her own life was saved by a pony called Lottie.
Adele Barker (34) had an ectopic pregnancy, which means the baby grows outside the mother’s womb.
The pregnancy ended inevitably and tragically in miscarriage.
Adele, who needed emergency surgery, suffered grief and something far more extreme – post traumatic stress disorder (PSTD) – although she didn’t recognise the illness until she heard about it months later on Radio 1.
Buying Lottie was the major turning point because the “scruffbag” pony helped Adele recover from PTSD.
Now Adele is forging links with Riding for the Disabled and Sands, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity, in the hope that more women in Lincolnshire can win back their lives from miscarriage and PTSD by riding horses.
Adele said: “Lottie is incredible. She hadn’t been ridden when I bought her. She’s just my saviour. I adore her, although she’s a scruffbag.”
Adele believes she’s been luckier than some women because she already had three children, Maria (13), Jorja (11) and Layla (3).
But she and partner Nathan Read had tried for more than a year to have a baby and their growing joy after Adele became pregnant was shattered in June 2015.
“It’s a big adjustment for everybody to come to terms with it,” said Adele.
Gradually Adele realised she was feeling something more than grief but didn’t know what it was.
“I felt really detached from my family,” said Adele. “At one point I did want to drive off on my own and never come back – and this wasn’t normal for me. A few people I knew were pregnant and I just couldn’t be around them.”
Adele has always loved horses and felt getting back into horses would help.
She bought Lottie in October 2015 and has since bought a couple more.
“Getting back into horses literally saved my life,” said Adele. “Because of the horses I have been able to recover without any prescription drugs. When you ride, the stress just drains out of you. You just feel relaxed and really calm and happy.”
She says four in ten women who suffer an ectopic miscarriage have PTSD symptoms.
Adele has teamed up with the Louth-based Lincolnshire Wolds branch of Riding for the Disabled and a Boston-based bereavement team to get a riding scheme off the ground.
She aims to hold a public meeting in May and hopes to put information leaflets in hospitals and doctors’ surgeries.
• Women interested in getting involved can email firstname.lastname@example.org