A mum has praised the support she has received from local group Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus (SBH) Scotland.
Kat Aitken and husband Darren, from Kelty in Fife, learned during pregnancy that their daughter Jessica, who is now eight and a half months old, would be born with spina bifida.
Kat said: “Our journey started at Ninewells Hospital. We had to go for IVF which was successful and we found out I was pregnant after 14 days.
“We went to the 20-week scan so happy. That’s when the nurse told us we were having a wee girl, then she continued with her examination.
“She stopped and paused and said she needed to check something. And that’s when she said there was an anomaly on Jessica’s back and we had to see a specialist doctor.”
Kat added: “We asked her what it was and she said she couldn’t say for sure but that it looked like a form of spina bifida.
“We just heard the words ‘spina bifida’ and immediately thought of all the negatives and the worst outcome – my baby’s not going to be able to walk.”
Eighteen weeks later, Jessica was born and it was discovered she had “closed spina bifida”. From then, she started having various operations and treatments while her parents were supported in learning more about the condition, with an introduction to SBH Scotland and Stronger Links, Stronger Families proving to be life-changing.
Kat said: “Without their support the journey would have been a lot different as we wouldn’t have known where to go or who to turn to.
“It’s changed my life and I’ve gone from being distraught and upset and feeling alone and like the only person in the world who has a child with spina bifida, to having the confidence to be able to talk about it, meet families and realise that there are people out there for you.
“Now Jessica has become her own little person and I’m more confident that she is going to flourish. She’s not categorised as a baby with spina bifida. She’s a person. She’s Jessica. And she’s going to be able to overcome anything that gets in her way.”
Stronger Links, Stronger Families has benefited from £330,796 of National Lottery funding over a three-year period and extended its reach to Dundee and Fife last year.
It is currently involved with 47 families across both areas.