A blog from Army&You’s spring 2022 edition by Stephanie Quintrell facebook.com/diaryofadisabledmum

When I met my husband, I never imagined moving my whole life 180 miles away to join him on his posting in the Midlands.

I had a career, my horses, family and friends and always pictured myself living unaccompanied with my husband coming home for weekends until he completed his time in the army. This lifestyle suited our family, and we made the best of it.

However, life had a different plan for us and in 2019 I suddenly became unwell and our world turned upside down. Since then I have been disabled and use a wheelchair full time, with limited use in one hand and managing many other complex symptoms. With the loss of my independence came the loss of my career and ‘normal’ life as I knew it. But this was the kick we needed to make changes in our lives for the better and we moved into our first quarter that year. Although tricky at times, we settled into patch life quickly and despite COVID overshadowing so much, I finally found the place where I belong.

I am a mum, housewife, I sit on the committee for the Forces Additional Needs and Disability Forum, sing in the Military Wives Choir and have been a part of the Forces Wives Challenge team for a year now. I’m responsible for administration and co-organising events and feel this connection has been instrumental in helping me to adjust to military life.

Times can be hard, and between co-ordinating my medical appointments, parenting our four-year-old son, and getting down south as much as we can to spend time with our horses and family, we are certainly kept busy. When I first became unwell, I felt I had lost so many parts of myself and didn’t truly feel like I had a purpose. But military life has given so much back to me and my family and we wouldn’t change our lives for the world!

Classic LodgesStephanie is this edition’s best blogger. She wins an afternoon tea experience for two at a Classic Lodges hotel – a nationwide collection of exclusive hotels that all have their own charming character, whether that’s a peaceful country getaway or a city centre stay. Each of the hotels provides a friendly, relaxing atmosphere while maintaining Classic Lodges’ signature style, comfort and luxury – including the stunning Lakeside Hotel & Spa, situated in the heart of the Lake District or the magnificent grounds at Charingworth Manor in the Cotswolds.

Afternoon tea includes dainty made-to-order finger sandwiches, sweet treats, homemade scones and a glass of Lanson champagne.

To book your stay, visit classiclodges.co.uk/specialoffers