Awesome Humans 19 Oct
Life after amputation: How I learned to love my body
By Lauren McDonough (she/her)
*Trigger warnings: suicide and depression.*
I stepped in front of a train and lost my legs. I attempted suicide when I was 19 years old.
My name is Lauren; I'm 24 and live in Melbourne. I also happen to be a bilateral below-knee amputee, which means I have lost both of my lower legs.
Since becoming an amputee, I have learned so many things - about myself, disabilities, and the world around me. When you are 19 and have spent your first 19 years without a physical disability, it is a hard adjustment - a bittersweet reality and a hard pill to swallow. The way you look changes dramatically, as does the way you have to do things. But ironically, I have never felt more comfortable in my own body. It was an extremely long process learning to walk again - in my case; It was expected I would never walk again due to the damage I had done to my stumps. But I will say this; I refused to take no for an answer. It took everything within me not to give in, but I proceeded and proved everyone wrong. A feeling of accomplishment and pride was present in that moment; I will never forget it.
Alt text: A young woman with shoulder length brown hair is sitting on the patio with a dog at her side. She is wearing a body-con brown dress with white sneakers and two nude lower limb prosthetics.
To myself and other amputees, October's Amputee Awareness Week is such an important week. There are still a lot of misconceptions about amputees, as well as people with disabilities. It is a week that is important because; we are celebrated, and our stories, accomplishments, and journeys are coming to the forefront. It feels liberating and freeing. We learn a lot about each other's journeys during awareness week; it feels comforting knowing you aren't alone with your experiences.
For me, I celebrate Amputee Awareness Week by reiterating the importance of body positivity. I am a firm believer that how you look is not an indicator of who you are, and I celebrate it knowing that my body may look different. I try to teach others that this is normal and that everybody is normal. We need to change society's preconceived ideas of beauty. By doing this, I hope I can be the change we desperately need. Our bodies do not define us; we are and always will be so much more.