In 1996, Mandy Allwood became famous when she announced that she was expecting octuplets. At the time, Allwood was 31-years-old and earned the nickname “Octomum.” However, she miscarried her babies at 24-weeks and recently revealed she can “still feel her babies kicking inside her everyday.”
The Daily Mail reports that she lost six boys and two girls in the miscarriage, who she named Kypros, Adam, Martyn, Cassius, Nelson, Donald, Kitali and Layne.
Now Alwood is 50-years-old and still suffers from depression because of the tragedy. She told The Sun the following about losing her babies: “I will never ever be able to forget because I am always thinking about them in my head, but also because I can still feel my babies inside me constantly. Ever since I gave birth I have felt them kicking and moving every day. It’s horrific because it brings back all the trauma every minute of every day when I feel the kicks. I am sent back to the time of me giving birth.”
September 30th is the 19th anniversary of her babies’ deaths and Allwood plans to lay flowers at their grave in south London. In 2013, she told Sunday People that she tried to kill herself twice since their passing. She explained, “Over three days and nights I miscarried eight times. I cradled each of them for two-and-a-half hours as they died in my arms. It was horrible. Truly horrible.”
In 2008, she reached an all time low and began drinking excessively. She said, “I was in a very bad place at the time, drinking way too much to blot out the pain and it was turning into a vicious cycle. I had nothing to live for. I would wake up and have a glass of wine in the morning. I would drink anything I could get my hands on. I’d lost my driving license because I’d been drinking too much, so I couldn’t go out to get any more booze. I was living on this estate and I had to get a taxi to go to the off-license.”
She added, “I’d get on the phone and they would say, ‘How much, Mands? Two bottles or three?’ and I’d say, ‘Make it four’. I had my own private chauffeur. That’s what was happening.”
Eventually, she sought help at a rehab center in Weston-super-Mare, which is a seaside resort town in England. “I got to the point where I said to myself, ‘Come on, Mandy, pull yourself together. Sort your life out’. I knew I had responsibilities. But it was a nightmare. I didn’t have anyone visiting me but got through it. I still have my depression days. Sometimes I just can’t speak to anyone but as soon as I switch my phone off I feel guilty,” she concluded.
In the aftermath of the tragedy, she struggled to come to terms with her devastating loss and spiraled into a haze of depression, suicide attempts and alcohol addiction. Her lowest ebb came in 2008, when she would drink wine from the minute she woke up, even ordering a taxi to take her to buy more after she lost her driving license.
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She was even given an ASBO after she repeatedly played Sinead O’Connor’s Nothing Compares to You on full volume, ‘deafening’ her neighbors. She also attempted to take her own life on two occasions. The first, in a public toilet in Warwick, saw her take an overdose and resulted in her spending five days in a high-dependency unit. She claims there was little help offered to her in the days that followed.
Mrs. Allwood said the second attempt made her realize she needed to completely change her life and start again with new friends. It prompted her to check into a residential rehab center in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, for five months in 2009.
Helping her deal with her demons, she managed to overcome alcohol addiction but admitted to the Mail in a previous interview that she still has ‘depression days’ where she can’t speak to anyone, and still takes the ‘odd sleeping tablet’.
She said she has drawn strength from helping a ‘small circle of friends’ who also suffer with depression.
Although describing losing all of her babies as ‘absolutely horrible’, she said that ‘If I can help others that’s at least something.’ Mrs. Allwood, who lives in the Warwick area, now runs her own business.