It’s International Women’s Day.

I have a daughter with learning disability, I have a son without, I run a business, I have leukaemia and I can’t work my way through any of these things without an amazing group of women around me. And yes, I know I’m hugely privileged to be surrounded by some brilliant men who have my back too. My husband, my doctor and my work team to name a few of them.

But today, as we’re celebrating International Women’s Day, I wanted to give a shout out to my biggest inspiration – my brilliant daughter Martha. Born in London and weighing just 3 pounds 13 ounces, she was extremely poorly for her first year – she weighed just 10 pounds when she was a year old. Failure to thrive, not meeting any milestones and 2 and a half years later with a move up North, we found out she had Williams Syndrome – a randomly occurring genetic disability which means she has learning disability and medical problems too.

I won’t go into all of it. I’d need a book to do that, but suffice to say I gradually learned that it’s OK to grieve the life you thought you were going to have. It takes time to accept the one you do have, and sometimes when life throws you a curve ball it’s what you do with the ball that matters. Nothing again would ever be as scary as receiving that diagnosis in the second class post. So when I decided to leave my job and set up British Boxers so that I could control my own time and be there for Martha it was OK, it wasn’t as scary as it would otherwise have been.

3 years ago when Dr Pete told me I had leukaemia but that there was medicine and I’d probably have a normal lifespan, it was also OK. I was back on my lap top within the hour. “Mrs Price. I think you need to take on board what I’ve just told you,” he said to me. “You’ve just told me there’s medicine, I’m not dying and that I’ll likely be OK, so now I have to fill out a spreadsheet and buy Autumn Winter stock because we’ve just signed a contract with John Lewis,” I smiled back.

I’m not heartless. If he’d told me worse news I’m sure that I would have reacted differently,  but my point that you can (to a certain extent) decide how you feel about something and make a conscious decision about how you’re going to react to it, is OK I think. A horrible skill to have to learn perhaps, but one that I’m very grateful to that little baby Martha for teaching me all those years ago.

Martha is about to become a grown up. She may not be able to cook, cross the road or climb the stairs as easily as you or I, but she can make an entire room of people laugh out loud. She’s the life, joy and soul of every party, she opera sings around the house and she’s always delighted to see us. I would never have had the courage or opportunity to leave my job, face my own diagnosis or to laugh until my sides hurt as much as I have done had life not thrown that tiny but very noisy curve ball our way. When fear is taken away, life can be liberatingly beautiful.
We have a 20% off code this week on the website – SPRING24. This works on everything including the underwear multipacks, briefs, the sleepwear and any bits and pieces left in the sale tab too.

March 08, 2024 — Deborah Price