TOWIE star Georgia Kousoulou has opened up about her personal struggles and her experience with postnatal depression following the birth of her son Brody.
Georgia and her partner Tommy Mallet welcomed their son Brody in May 2020, and Georgia has reflected on how she struggled to bond with her new son when he was first born.
"I didn't get that overwhelming feeling of love from the moment I first held him that everyone speaks about," Georgia told OK! Magazine recently. "I was looking at this baby like, 'Is this mine?' It took me a while."
She continued: "It was love at first sight visually, but emotionally I didn't have that uncontrollable love and when I didn't get it straight away it really stressed me out. It upset me for ages and sent me into a dark place."
Georgia explained that although she was planning on a water birth she ultimately welcomed Brody via C-section after a scan showed that the baby was in breech, and she added that the experience left her struggling to bond with Brody, which led to her feeling "ashamed".
"After the C-section, I felt like my body didn’t know it had birthed a baby," she shared.
"I literally felt like I'd been shopping – I went in on the morning and I got given a baby. My body didn't catch up.
"I didn't talk to anyone about how I was feeling because I felt ashamed," Georgia continued.
"I didn't have that connection for the first few weeks. Then, Tommy noticed that I wasn't OK – I was very quiet and I'd sneak off to cry in the bathroom when I thought no one could hear.
"I've never had my house so full, and I've never felt so lonely. It was like I was trapped in a dark tunnel and I couldn't see the light."
Georgia added that after her now-fiancé Tommy realised that she was struggling, he quickly went into action to try to help.
"Then one day, I was upstairs and when I came back downstairs Tommy was there with my mum, his mum and our midwife. He said to everyone, 'Georgia's not OK'. I was so shocked and I started crying, but it was such a relief because it meant I didn't have to tell people," Georgia recalled.
Soon the reality star also found comfort in sharing her unfiltered journey of motherhood on her social media accounts, where she was praised for her candidness.
"I think it's so important for women not to say to other women that the minute you hold your baby you're going to get this feeling you've never felt before," she added.
"Actually, you don't always feel that way and if you don't, that's OK. It takes time. We don't know these little humans that we've just been given.
"As soon as I started talking about it, it became easier. There were some days when I'd been up all night – and at 2am you feel lonely – so I started putting it on my Instagram. I'd say, 'Hello fellow mums doing the night shift', and I'd chat with random mums at 2am.
"I began to feel part of a community – I realised I wasn't alone. There were so many mums feeling like I was feeling."
As Brody celebrated his 1st birthday earlier this month, Georgia also added that she was taking the opportunity to celebrate her own achievements.
"I've raised a child for a year, let's celebrate that," she noted. "My whole body changed – I've got my C-section scar and stretch marks – but I have grown a human so you've got to give yourself some slack. We're just surviving, let's be real."
If you've been affected by the issues raised in this story, organisations that can offer support include Samaritans on 116 123 (www.samaritans.org), the PANDAS Foundation on 0808 1961 776 (http://www.pandasfoundation.org.uk), or Mind on 0300 123 3393 (www.mind.org.uk). You can also contact the Association for Post-Natal Illness.
Readers in the US are encouraged to visit mentalhealth.gov.
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