Water baby Jackson inspires Northampton mum to beat her fear of swimming

Submitted picture
Submitted picture

A Northampton mum has overcome her lifelong fear of the water thanks to her 15-month-old son...who started swimming at 12 weeks old.

Thirty-five-year-old Katy Brown was inspired by her son, Jackson.

A regular swimmer at Water Babies in Northampton, Jackson first took to the pool at just 12 weeks old and now happily swims underwater.

Katy recently joined him, for what she desribed as a "momentous mummy-son moment".

“Taking that breath before going under was the only fear I had to conquer. Jackson was smiling and eager to go and we did it together. He’s taken to water like a fish and I just kept thinking, if my baby can do it, I can do it," she said.

"I feel so proud, I can’t tell you. It. It’s a huge memory for us as a mother and child! I got a well done badge which I know probably sounds silly but to me, it was a huge, life-changing achievement.”

A timid swimmer, Katy’s fear of going underwater has plagued her adult life. She believes an accident on a school trip to the south of France at the age of thirteen was the root cause of her phobia.

“I was on the back of a banana-dingy with a load of other children. As you can imagine, we all fell off and everyone except me managed to get back on. I had a massive panic attack - my arms wouldn’t work properly. It left me with this deep fear.

"As I’ve gotten older, the worse the fear of going underwater has become to the point that I’d have a rush of anxiety and feel physically sick just thinking about it.”

After spending a year watching Water Babies teacher at Moulton College, Emma Hardinges, take Jackson for his submerged swims, Katy felt she could miss out on the experience no longer.

“It made me so sad that I couldn’t share that with him. I’d have to just watch the other mummies and daddies taking their little ones for the underwater swims while Jackson went with Emma. I hated that we were missing out on this wonderful bonding experience because of my fear.”

And so, after weeks of guidance and support of Emma and the rest of the Water Babies group, Katy donned a pair of goggles, a nose clip and took the plunge with her son.

“I felt sick at first, really fearful because if I’d have gone under and panicked it would have been awful for me and for Jackson.

"But it was wonderful, such an amazing moment! The whole group made me feel so at ease – we’ve spent a year getting know each other so I felt really comfortable. We’ve all grown together and I’m glad I was able to share this life-moment with them all.”