When Julia Wisbey was told she couldn’t have children, she gave up all hope of trying.
But in 2013, her doctor told her she was pregnant – and 20 days later she gave birth.
Today, the Waterlooville mum-of-one praises Slimming World for helping her lose weight which she believes led to the miraculous conception of her son James.
‘If I hadn’t lost weight, I would never have fallen pregnant,’ says Julia, 46.
‘It has completely changed my life.’
Fifteen years ago, Julia, who weighed 24st 11lbs and was a dress size 30, started going to Slimming World in Cosham.
She explains: ‘I was quite shocked at how the weight fell off when I first started.
‘We all know not to eat things we shouldn’t but it’s hard to do.
‘I was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome when I was in my early 30s and it makes it particularly hard to lose weight and have children.
‘Being overweight affects your fertility anyway so that was hard to deal with. You can’t have fertility treatment on the NHS if you’re overweight.
‘It was a big lifestyle change.’
In the first year, Julia lost six stone. Today, she weights just 10.5st and is a dress size 14.
‘I swear by Slimming World – if you follow the plan, you will lose weight,’ adds Julia, who is a secondary school teacher at Admiral Lord Nelson School, Portsmouth.
Julia tried to conceive with her ex-husband but sadly with no luck.
She says: ‘We tried IEY treatment, which is the first fertility treatment on the NHS. It doesn’t involve harvesting eggs like IVF.
‘Doctors said it probably wouldn’t work and I wasn’t ovulating. There was nothing they could do to make that happen.’
Shortly afterwards, Julia’s marriage broke down.
‘I was then a carefree, single person. I carried on going to Slimming World and lost 10 stone in three years,’ she adds.
During Christmas 2012, Julia says she felt unwell but didn't think much of it.
‘I was really poorly. I fainted a couple of times and just didn’t feel like myself at all. I had no idea at that point I was five months pregnant,’ she explains.
‘It never crossed my mind that I could be because I had come to terms with the fact I just couldn’t have children.’
Three months later, Julia was continuing her Slimming World plan and exercising more but was staying the same weight.
‘I went to the doctors because I thought I had a tumour or something – but turned out to be a little baby.
‘I saw a locum doctor and he suggested I took a pregnancy test.
‘I said, “you should check my notes because I can’t get pregnant”. But he told me I looked it. But it just wasn’t a possibility for me.
‘At that time, I had come to peace with the fact that I couldn’t have children.
‘He told me he would like to take a listen. It turned out I was 35 weeks pregnant and my baby had a very strong heartbeat.
‘It was very overwhelming, but I was over the moon.’
Twenty days later, Julia was giving birth to the baby she never thought she would have.
She explains: ‘My whole life changed overnight. I sold my house from my hospital bed and moved in with my now-husband Nick.
‘I walked into hospital by myself and walked out with my own baby boy.’
James Wisbey was born on April 12, 2013, to his mum Julia and dad Nick and the couple tied the knot three months later.
She says: ‘My family were very supportive because they had been through the treatment with me and knew how much I wanted a child. Nick was a bit overwhelmed but also really shocked.
‘One thing I feel sad about is that I didn’t get to enjoy my pregnancy. James and I didn’t get the normal health checks but thankfully he was fine.’
Six years later, the Wisbeys are a happy family of three and Julia has not reverted to her old, unhealthy lifestyle.
She smiles and says: ‘Slimming World makes you accountable for your own life choices. I now have James to look after and ensure he is healthy.
‘I have been back in the group now for eight months.
‘It completely changed my life for the better.’
Go to slimmingworld.co.uk.