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Mother gets rid of her mum tum after losing her son

 

A mother who felt like her ‘mum tum’ was a constant reminder of the son she lost in a freak accident has revealed how having surgery on her stomach has changed her life. 

Sammy Mbatha, 38, lost her eight-year-old son Victor on Christmas Eve 2011, after he was electrocuted during a holiday to Zimbabwe.

The social care worker found that people would assume she had children because of her tummy size, and would ask her questions she found painful to answer. 

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Grief: Sammy Mbatha, a social care worker from Basingstoke, as she looks today, having undergone a £6,000 operation to melt away fat from her stomach, which she says prompted people to ask whether she had children, something that she found very painful after losing her young son, Victor

Grief: Sammy Mbatha, a social care worker from Basingstoke, as she looks today, having undergone a £6,000 operation to melt away fat from her stomach, which she says prompted people to ask whether she had children, something that she found very painful after losing her young son, Victor

Grief: Sammy Mbatha, a social care worker from Basingstoke, as she looks today, having undergone a £6,000 operation to melt away fat from her stomach, which she says prompted people to ask whether she had children, something that she found very painful after losing her young son, Victor

Mbatha's only child Victor died at the age of eight after stepping on a live wire during a Christmas holiday visiting family in Zimbabwe in December 2011

Mbatha's only child Victor died at the age of eight after stepping on a live wire during a Christmas holiday visiting family in Zimbabwe in December 2011

Mbatha’s only child Victor died at the age of eight after stepping on a live wire during a Christmas holiday visiting family in Zimbabwe in December 2011

Mbatha says her 'mum tum' left her constantly reminded of her son's tragic death and she believed the sight of it prompted people to ask her whether she had children

Mbatha says her 'mum tum' left her constantly reminded of her son's tragic death and she believed the sight of it prompted people to ask her whether she had children

After undergoing Vaser Lipo surgery to 'melt' away fat in 2016, Mbatha has shed more than a stone in weight

After undergoing Vaser Lipo surgery to 'melt' away fat in 2016, Mbatha has shed more than a stone in weight

Mbatha says her ‘mum tum’ left her constantly reminded of her son’s tragic death and she believed the sight of it prompted people to ask her whether she had children. Right: After undergoing Vaser Lipo surgery to ‘melt’ away fat in 2016, Mbatha has shed more than a stone in weight 

‘I didn’t know what to say,’ Mbatha recalls. ‘I didn’t want to make them feel awkward, by telling them about Victor, but I found talking naturally about children very difficult.’

After comfort eating in the years after Victor’s death, her weight rose to 11-and-a-half stone. 

Desperate to banish her belly, which she felt looked like she had recently given birth, Sammy tried numerous diets to shed the pounds – but even when she lost weight, her stomach looked the same. 

Then she heard about a procedure called Vaser Lipo that involves melting down and draining away fat cells, costing £6,000. 

Desperate for a solution, she had a consultation to discuss the procedure, on Victor’s birthday, November 14, 2016.

Intending to fund it with her life savings, when the surgeon heard her tragic back story, he operated for free as ‘a gift’ from her son. 

Awake throughout surgery, Mbatha now feels that a weight has been lifted from her belly – and her shoulders. ‘My belly didn’t bother me when Victor was alive,’ she says.

‘You’re happy seeing your child running around. It’s worth having a bit of a flabby tummy for that. ‘But after losing him, I was very emotional about it. 

It was a constant reminder that my son had died. ‘Now I’ve lost weight, people don’t ask me if I’ve had children. I get to talk about Victor when I want, to whoever I want, and I’m happy to talk about him now.’ 

Mbatha with her new body, which she says has boosted her confidence and left her able to talk about her son once more

Mbatha with her new body, which she says has boosted her confidence and left her able to talk about her son once more

Mbatha with her new body, which she says has boosted her confidence and left her able to talk about her son once more

The procedure took place at a clinic in Leicester

The procedure took place at a clinic in Leicester

The operation involved inserting a probe through her skin in to her belly, before ultrasonic energy would run down through it to melt the fat cells

The operation involved inserting a probe through her skin in to her belly, before ultrasonic energy would run down through it to melt the fat cells

The procedure, which took place at a clinic in Leicester, involved inserting a probe through her skin in to her belly, before ultrasonic energy would run down through it to melt the fat cells

Mbatha explains how on 24 December, 2011, Victor Mbatha had gone to a barber’s shop in Zimbabwe, where his family were spending Christmas with relatives. Shortly after arriving, the business had a power cut and the lights went out. Running outside, Victor tripped, fell on an exposed wire and collapsed.

An ambulance was called, but by the time paramedics arrived, Victor had died. An arrest was made, but Mbatha didn’t want to follow it up, saying she felt ‘too traumatised,’ and that it wouldn’t have brought her son back anyway.

‘I didn’t want to hear about it, I wanted to grieve in peace.’ 

Back home, she stopped caring or putting any effort into her appearance, spending her days and nights crying, eating junk food and sleeping. 

Then, at social gatherings, people who were talking about their children would naturally ask her if she had any. ‘It was difficult for me,’ she adds.

‘I wanted to say yes, but then they’d want to continue chatting, asking how old… and I didn’t want to talk about it. 

‘Whilst, if I said I didn’t have any, I’d feel guilty. It was awkward.’ 

Despite reassurances from her husband, who does not want to be named, Mbatha says in many of her clothes, she felt the ‘hanging appearance’ of her belly fat made it obvious she’d had children.

‘My belly was massive and in my head, I was sure people knew I’d had a child,’ she continued. ‘After having Victor, I didn’t do much to maintain my shape.’ 

In early 2012, she decided to try and lose some weight, chopping and changing between the Cambridge Diet, Lighter Life and Atkins. ‘I spent a lot of money on diets, but stress made me put the weight back on,’ she says. 

Then, in October 2015, she read about a procedure called Vaser Lipo on the internet. It involves melting, and draining away, fat cells. ‘I spoke to my family about it and they agreed I should have it, ‘if it makes you feel better’.’ So, Sammy was all prepared to use her £6,000 savings for the op when, on 14 November 2016, she drove to Leicester for her consultation. 

‘Then I got stuck on the motorway and was going to cancel the appointment.’ But fate intervened and, arriving at The Women’s Health Clinic, in Leicester, when the doctor asked how many kids she’d had, she told him about Victor. 

‘I said one, then I opened up, telling him everything. I told him about my belly and that I’d tried diet after diet to lose it, but nothing helped.’

At that point the surgeon offered his services for free. ‘I’ve never cried like that before. It was shocking. You don’t expect people to do things like that. He was so kind. 

‘He said that it wasn’t a gift from him, but a gift from Victor, because I was never going to get them from him. ‘He didn’t know at that stage that it was Victor’s birthday. I told him afterwards. ‘It really was a gift from Victor.’ 

Mbatha says she spent money on diets but nothing worked for her...and eventually she was so depressed about her 'mum tum' she decided to seek advice about surgery

Mbatha says she spent money on diets but nothing worked for her...and eventually she was so depressed about her 'mum tum' she decided to seek advice about surgery

Mbatha says she spent money on diets but nothing worked for her…and eventually she was so depressed about her ‘mum tum’ she decided to seek advice about surgery

'Happy to talk about him:' Mbatha says she now finds it much easier to discuss Victor's life because she doesn't always fear people will bring the subject of children up 

'Happy to talk about him:' Mbatha says she now finds it much easier to discuss Victor's life because she doesn't always fear people will bring the subject of children up 

‘Happy to talk about him:’ Mbatha says she now finds it much easier to discuss Victor’s life because she doesn’t always fear people will bring the subject of children up 

The surgeon explained to Sammy, before the procedure, that a probe would be inserted through her skin in to her belly, then ultrasonic energy would run down through it to melt the fat cells. 

Once melted, these cells would be sucked out of her body. 

Recalling the procedure, Mbatha explains: ‘I could feel the probe when it got near to the muscle, then there was some pain and I screamed. I’m quite squeamish, so I was given more anesthetic.

‘Then I could see the fat coming out. It was pure yellow and there were about four-and-a-half litres. I was disgusted. Otherwise it was relatively painless for me.’

Following surgery, and once Mbatha had recovered, which took around two to three days, she went from a dress size 12-14 to an 8-10, having lost over nine pounds of fluid, shrinking from just over eleven-and-a-half stone to just over ten stone. 

And her new figure has given her bags of confidence. 

‘People say to me, ‘You look good,’ followed by telling me it will all change once I’m popping out babies.

‘For some reason, this doesn’t upset me anymore. ‘I think of Victor and I’m happy now to talk about him. I think speaking to the doctor at the clinic really helped. He listened to me, he didn’t judge me. 

‘Now I’m able to speak about my son when I want. I feel like I’ve come a long way and can now celebrate Victor’s life.’

 

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