Michelle Heaton has opened up about her brave decision to undergo preventative cancer surgeries after being diagnosed with a mutated BRCA2 gene, which put her at high risk of developing hereditary breast and ovarian cancers.
"We went to the meeting, I remember, and we didn't even sit down before she said: 'I'm really sorry, it's bad news,'" the singer and television presenter tells interviewer Rochelle Humes in a video for AOL Original series, Being Mum.
"And it was just really hard. And then she talked to us for an hour an explained all of what was happening, what could happen. Nothing sunk in at all.
"We went to Nando's and had a glass of wine, as you do, over some chicken. And I think it was within a matter of minutes, we were like, the mastectomy is a no-brainer.
"It was 85% risk of getting breast cancer and other than not being able to breastfeed any of the children I was going to have, there was, for me, no benefit in keeping my breasts."
The mum of two, who has three-year-old daughter Faith and one-and-a-half-year-old son AJ, described her daughter as a "mini-me, very active, very opinionated," while her son is "just like Daddy," personal trainer Hugh Hanley.
Soon after her double mastectomy in 2012, Heaton found herself pregnant again, and took it as a sign that the hysterectomy she would also be needing to minimise her chances of ovarian cancer would come sooner than expected.
"I mean, other than extending your family, I don't see the reason to wait to have these operations because you're only increasing your risk of getting it," says Heaton.
"It's hard to say, 'OK, take away my chances of ever having any other children willingly,' but we were always wanting just two children anyway. I think that was our comfort zone and I wasn't going to gamble."
Heaton explains that she wasn't prepared for the effects the hysterectomy would have on her and her parenting abilities (her children were two and six-months-old at the time of her operation).
"It was hard to not be there for them when I thought I would spring back. I think now I feel like I'm back to the old me, but I'll never be the old me."
Watch the video above to see Michelle talk about her parenting style, having two children in quick succession and what she finds toughest about being a mum: second-guessing her decisions.
"I still feel like I'm a 21-year-old pop star sometimes, and I'm clearly not. I'm a 35-year-old mother-of-two."
Describing her children as "her life," Heaton tells Humes:
"As a parent, what you want to get out of having children is to lead them in the right direction and to bring them up as best as you possibly can and to have them love you back and respect you back. Being a mum is everything."
The Being Mum series, hosted by Rochelle Humes and Tess Daly, is a beautiful and humbling series that defines what it means to be a mother today.
In each episode Rochelle or Tess will meet a well-known personality, or a mother with a remarkable story, to discuss the ups, the downs, the ins and outs of what being a mother is really like.