Sometimes, life throws more at us that anyone could be expected to cope with. I know it’s happened to me; I look back now and wonder how exactly I got past it all. 

Kate Shelby went through one of the worst times imaginable; her son’s cancer. Imagine having to go through that on your own. This is her story of where she drew the strength to not only get through an extremely difficult time, but how she regained her sense of self and changed her outlook later on.

Have you met Kate Shelby, from Australian Mum? She’s a blog writer, mother and lover of superheroes in tights. Kate is raising 3 children in Brisbane, QLD. She writes to tell her story and to allow other people to tell theirs. And today, she’s here to tell one of hers.

cancer survivor's mum

Kate Shelby. Source: Supplied

Kate’s Story: I was ready for motherhood, not cancer.

There’s a time in my life when I wanted to just give it all up. When everything seemed so rock bottom, in a twist of fate I became a mother. With a growing belly, I felt a renewed purpose in life. I was ready to step into the responsibility of raising a child, what I was not ready for was the shock of finding out my son had cancer within months of being born.

I knew I would be raising my child alone during pregnancy as my relationship had been under a lot of stress. My sons father didn’t cope after our company unexpectedly collapsed in an industry crisis. I did my best to support him with every part of me, but it wasn’t enough.

baby boy in cancer treatment

Kate Shelby and her son. Source: Supplied

Something happens when you experience trauma on a level you have never felt before. Although some people might lay down and give up, this isn’t really an option when it’s your child’s life in the balance. Faced with a situation like that you learn that you can get through almost anything and come back fighting stronger.

10 years after his birth, I don’t know what the future holds. I know he made it through and although he struggles with post cancer complications, he holds the key to my greatest lesson in life. I am in awe of his strength and his self-awareness, if he can get through what seemed like the impossible – so can I.

My child’s fight taught me so much. His struggle forced me to open my eyes and see how short life is. It can be taken away at any moment. Living in an unhappy, unstable relationship with no hopes or dreams was almost a crime when I realised the depth of my baby boy’s situation.

Many years later, when faced with another failed long term relationship I faced depression and despair once again. It didn’t take over for long though because I had already been to that place. I did not have the audacity to linger in it for too long when my child isn’t faced with a choice when it comes to his health and well being.

I fought hard for months and I found myself again. I am aware that women with depression are all fighting different battles and we all have to find out own personal reason to hang on and swim back to the surface.

I wish for everyone to have a light at the end of the tunnel. It may be a place you are thankful you don’t have to be anymore and it keeps you going. It may be the love you have for your children, partner or even friends. That light may only be a tiny flicker when you’re so down in the dark, but it’s worth chasing.

You only have one life. You’ve got to live it up.


Please visit Kate online at Australian Mum or pop over to her Facebook page.






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