I hated my ‘mum tum’ – but it saved my life by acting as a car airbag in horror smash – The Sun

NEW mum Monique Matthews hated the two stone she'd put on following the birth of her daughter Charlotte.

But, amazingly, the extra padding saved her life – after becoming a makeshift airbag when the car she was travelling in was involved in a serious crash.

Monique, 30, was driving with pals near her home in Tasmania, New Zealand, on 5 October 2018 when a pensioner in a van smashed into their vehicle.

She was knocked out cold – and coming too was given the horrifying news she had nearly died.

Over the next five weeks she underwent four major operations.

Here, Monique explains to Fabulous Digital just how grateful she is for her 'jelly belly'… 

Squeezing my tummy into my high-waisted jeans, I groaned.

Since having, Lucas, 12, Alex, nine, and seven-month-old Charlotte, I’d put on more than two stone and been left with a saggy stomach. As a singer, it really rocked my confidence.

Last October, my friend Berna and I were due to go to a gig.

This is how I'm going to die, I thought. I’m going to leave my husband with three kids

My husband Lee was at work, our boys were at school and Charlotte was at my mum Jo’s.

After lunch, Berna and her husband Ray picked me up and I hopped in the back.

We'd not been driving long when something horrifying happened. A black van sped round the bend and started heading towards us.

Sitting back in my seat, I looked out the window. If Ray veered to the left, we’d plunge down a five-metre embankment.

So he swerved right, trying to avoid impact. But there was no avoiding it.

This is how I'm going to die, I thought. I’m going to leave my husband with three kids – my baby will never know me. My world went black.

Coming to, my face was squished against the back of Ray’s seat. My stomach rested on my thighs and I couldn’t move an inch.

Suddenly, a stranger appeared at my door. ‘You’ll be okay,’ she said.

I felt better just knowing she was there. She even helped me call Lee. ‘I’ve been in a car crash, but I’m okay,’ I told him.

By now, Berna had got free and she was outside with Ray, who’d managed to pull himself out of the wreckage.

When the emergency services arrived, they had to carefully undo my seat belt and prise me out of the crumpled car.

On impact, my seat belt had sliced through my abdomen, forcing my bowel to spill out of my body

As I was laid on the ground, I heard a gasp.

Coming to in hospital, Mum was holding my hand. The next day when I woke, Lee was by my side. But, with a breathing tube down my throat, I couldn’t talk.

He looked so worried, I wrote him a note. 'Look after yourself doofus', I teased, to try and get a smile.

I found out Berna and Ray both had serious injuries but were on the mend. ‘You nearly died,’ a doctor told me.

Incredibly, my seat belt had both saved me and nearly caused my death.

On impact, it had sliced through my abdomen, forcing my bowel to spill out of my body.

I’d broken most of my ribs and shattered my breast bone. But the extra padding on my belly had cushioned the blow. I weighed 13st 10lbs at the time of the crash.

‘If you’d lost any more weight, it would’ve been fatal,’ I was told.

In hospital for five weeks, I had to have four operations – 40 staples held my belly together.

Two months after the accident, at New Plymouth District Court, Andrea Kaye Jarrold, 73, pleaded guilty to four counts of careless or inconsiderate vehicle operation.

The court heard that Jarrold came around a moderate bend when she found herself too close to the hard shoulder.

I’d broken most of my ribs and shattered my breast bone. But the extra padding on my belly had cushioned the blow

Trying to pull the vehicle back into her lane she over-corrected herself and lost control, fishtailing across both lanes.

In January, Jarrold was disqualified from driving for 12 months and ordered to pay us money in emotional harm reparation.

‘Sorry seems so inadequate, but believe me when I say I am truly sorry,’ she told the court.

‘I forgive you,’ I told her afterwards.

I just want everyone to be more careful when they get behind the wheel.

Months on, I have a new appreciation of my mum bod. It carried three beautiful babies and saved my life.

In more weight loss news, this mum lost seven stone after realising she was fatter than her husband.

And a woman was delighted when she'd discovered she had lost nine stone… only to put it on again.

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