‘New parents need to prepare for how a baby affects your relationship’

Paloma Faith on why women need to be more open about the realities of childbirth and motherhood

Paloma Faith motherhood childbirth

by Kimberley Dadds |
Updated on

Since she gave birth to her first child at the end of 2016, Paloma Faith has discussed everything from IVF struggles to a traumatic emergency C-section and mastitis. And, as it turns out when Grazia spoke to her recently, haemorrhoids. ‘I'm nine months on from my second baby and I’ve still got terrible haemorrhoids. I'm having them sorted out soon,’ says the singer.

It’s not the usual flyaway comment you’d expect from an award-winning popstar but Paloma, who gave birth to her second daughter in February this year, is using her platform to lead a movement. She's doing it in collaboration with mother and baby brand Frida, to encourage women to share “what really goes down” in the delivery room and in those hazy, chaotic early newborn days, rather than sugar coating things in picture perfect Instagram posts. It comes after a “harrowing” first birth for Paloma in December 2016, which left her unable to walk properly for three months afterwards.

In an Instagram post to launch the campaign last week, Paloma shared a previously unseen image of herself breastfeeding her daughter shortly after an emergency caesarean section, alongside a caption detailing the exhaustion of a 21-hour labour and a newborn baby setting her “nipples on fire”.

Research from Frida shows that 78% of mums are shocked at what their body experiences after childbirth, and it’s partly the surprise of what happened to her own body that made Paloma want to join the campaign so that other first-time mums feel better prepared. She thinks women need to stop hiding the real stories for fear of scaring other mums-to-be: ‘They say they don’t want to scare you but then what you do is go into shock and have PTSD instead,” she says. “And I think the PTSD is worse.’

The campaign is also being backed by celebrities such as Fearne Cotton, Catherine Tyldesley, presenter Sarah Jane Crawford and TOWIE stars Georgia Kousoulou and Maria Fowler, who have all been sharing their own #RealBirthAnnouncements and images to try and raise awareness.

But it’s not just the realities of labour that need to stop being taboo according to Paloma, she’s also opening up about the physical and mental experiences mothers face during what’s known as the Fourth Trimester, which is the first few months after a baby is born. She’s previously spoken about her experience of postnatal depression and the fact she had six rounds of IVF to fall pregnant with her second daughter. ‘For me pregnancy represents quite a lot of anxiety.'

The singer is also using the campaign to highlight other seldom talked about issues, such as how a baby can have a negative impact on a relationship. She feels this is another aspect of motherhood you don’t often see discussed on social media, which more often than not includes images of happy couples beaming about their new additions, without any details about the ups and downs that can come with such a life changing moment.

Paloma says of her experience with long term partner Leyman Lahcine: ‘People need to also be prepared for the impact it has on your relationship. I think men need to be as educated as women to be prepared for that, because it is really hard on women, and we can't be the same person that we were. [But] it's temporary. After the first 18 months, we can level out and have a bit more capacity for our partners. But I think that relationships break down during the beginning, because it's just a massive strain having a new baby. And you expect that the adult that lives with you will be patient and understanding, but they aren't always.’ She has also spoken about feeling like, 'never wanting to have sex again' after giving birth.

She also addresses the long debated belief over whether mothers can ‘have it all’. ‘I don’t believe in that phrase,’ she tells me. ‘I think whatever you have, you compromise on something else. You just have to find your own balance of what you want over anything else. I mean, I need to take my own advice for a start. I struggle with it all the time. For me, it's a juggling act because if I don't work for ages and I spend time devoted to my kids, I can honestly say I don't feel happy in that context. But on the other hand, if I just work all the time and don’t see my kids, then I also feel miserable. So, it's about being realistic because you will be pulled between the two. I have a lot of respect for women who do the extreme of either side.'

Frida is debuting their award-winning range of postpartum and baby products to the UK in Boots and Amazon

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