Katie Piper: "I have always made a conscious decision to take a positive outlook"
The philanthropist, television presenter and former model, Katie Piper talks about her positive outlook on life and life with daughter Belle.
Did you always want to be a mum?
Yes, even from a young age. My mum was a teacher, so my two siblings and I were used to her being with us during holidays. So I suppose I have always had that maternal instinct and love being part of a big family. Then Richard and I met, fell in love and created the perfect family home. He looked after me so well that I knew he would make a brilliant dad – and he is.
Could you sum birth up in one word?
What was your pregnancy like?
It was all going well with no problems, up until the third trimester. After so many operations I have a build-up of scar tissue in my oesophagus and other canals. During pregnancy, everything gets pushed up and my midwife was worried that I might have trouble breathing when I was giving birth. So, in the end, I was deemed a high-risk pregnancy and we went for an NHS elective caesarean, so that I could have a consultant present. I went into hospital at 7am and had Belle at 7.30am.
What has surprised you most about becoming a parent?
The lack of free time, so you have wet hair most days, as there’s no time to blow dry it and, when they can walk, you always have to go to the loo with a child by your side.
Does Richard share day-to-day parenting duties?
Yes, we divide responsibilities equally. We both work from home, so we take it in turns to do all the childcare tasks and domestic things. It’s a juggling act, but we work as a partnership. I have a newfound level of respect for single parents.
Have you had any embarrassing parenting moments?
Oh, yes! We were in a restaurant recently and Belle had a bad stomach. She projectile vomited over the table, herself and me. I guess it was embarrassing but also, as a parent, you just get on with it.
What’s your top tip for new parents?
When I was pregnant, I discovered that everyone wants to give you advice. Now Belle is nearly three years old and I’ve realised there isn’t a textbook way of doing anything. You need to believe in yourself as a parent and realise that it can be a struggle to adjust to life with a tiny baby. Just know it does get better. It’s so lovely when they start hitting milestones. Babies start to give back very quickly, with a smile or a word – it will happen.
What have you found the most tricky?
Putting the theory of juggling my work with being a mum into practice. Managing parenting while having a job is a constant ‘work in progress’. I think a huge part of it is getting your priorities in order.
What advice would you give other working mums who feel the strain?
It’s tough whatever you choose, whether you are a stay-at-home parent (which in itself is a full-time job) or managing parenting with work that takes you away from your child. I would say that, where you can, to choose quality over quantity, and not just as a parent. I might have to work three days in a row, but then the four days I have off will be spent in quality time with my daughter and family
How did you gain such a positive perspective on life?
I want to have an enjoyable life, so I made a conscious decision to take a positive outlook and be an optimist. I am really inspired by people who have faced trauma or illnesses and are still successful at work and in their day-to-day life. I think they are that way because of their mindset. The mind is our most powerful muscle and we should all exercise it.
Is it hard to keep that going as a mum?
It’s a mental stretch when you have a baby, as well as a physical one. The physical effects are discussed a lot, but not so much the mental, but they should be, because there are so many changes going on.
How do you use social media?
I use Instagram for work and pleasure. I follow quote pages and other parents, as well as using it to promote the work of my fundraising and charity. I chat with other parents about being a parent, but I’m aware that social media can be mean.
What do you like to do with Belle?
My days spent with Belle are focused on her and how much fun we can have, whether we’re crafting, playing with conkers or reading books. As well as all the necessary duties, too, of course.
Have you made a conscious decision to keep Belle’s face out of the media?
Yes, mainly for privacy. I want Belle to be safe. I know she will have Facebook and all that when she’s 16 (actually, who am I kidding? I guess she will be much younger than that in this modern world), but while I can protect her from the darker side of being online, I will.
Would you like more children?
It would be a blessing to have more, but just having Belle is wonderful for now. We are both from families with three children so yes, having more kids would be great. Belle is growing up so fast. I recently had an operation on my eye and when I came home with a patch, it was the first time she had noticed anything different about me. I told her the doctors had given me the patch and she was really concerned that I was ‘feeling better now’.
Katie Piper’s first ‘Believe’ range with My Babiie is available, now (mybabiie.com). Katie was chatting with Gurgle's style editor, Catherine Hudson.
Changing bag must-haves:
- Sweet treat “Belle is always looking for a snack. These small boxes of raisins are the perfect size for her little fingers.”
- Bargain Buy “Before Belle, I was naïve about how much baby gear can cost. The My Babiie prices are brilliant.”
- Tech time “We said no screens before we were parents, but if we need Belle quiet for a half hour, an iPad is a necessity.”