Paralympian Mum, Tanni Grey-Thompson Reveals How Strangers And Even Doctors Judged Her For Wanting To Be A Mother

11 time Paralympic gold medalist Tanni Grey-Thompson, has revealed how she was offered a termination at the first scan for her daughter by doctors who thought she shouldn’t be pregnant and how a stranger referred to her pregnancy as ‘disgusting’.

Tanni, 50, from Cardiff, has spina bifida, and due to her condition uses a wheelchair but back in 2001, she welcomed her daughter Carys, while still competing as an athlete .

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According to Tanni who is now a retired athlete and Non-executive director at UK Athletics Commission, she was treated with shock and horror when she became pregnant in 2001.
Tanni’s condition, spina bifida, is a condition caused when a baby’s spine and spinal cord does not develop properly in the womb.

Speaking to the BBC’s Stumps, Wheels and Wobblies, she said:

‘The first thing I was offered at my first scan was a termination because people were like: “You should not have children”.’   
‘We had a discussion [with medical staff] about if I was trying for babies and the individual had some quite complicated views on disability.

‘It was [an attitude of] we might breed, and we might spread.’ 

She went on: ‘When I was pregnant, I lost count of the number of people who asked me how I got pregnant.’ 

She said she was 37-weeks-pregnant when a stranger stopped her in the street.

‘This woman poked me and said: “How did you get pregnant?'” 

She said:

”I remember screaming at her in the street: “I had sex with my husband. How do you think I got pregnant?”‘

She was like: “Oh well, that’s disgusting.” And I said: “I think he’s quite good looking, actually.”‘

It was like…a lot of that, I’ve had to develop and learn those answers because otherwise I’ll scream like a banshee.’

It’s taken me 40 years to develop those answers…there’s people who sometimes don’t mean to be rude, but sometimes they do.

And you need to just take it and be lovely, otherwise it’s like you have a chip on your shoulder.”

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