Louise Pentland Opens up About her Traumatic Childbirth

Louise Pentland
Photography: Brett Cove, BDC Images

Vlogger and author Louise Pentland talks childbirth, parenting essentials and her favourite baby brands

Louise Pentland is best known for her hugely successful YouTube channel, which has attracted over two million subscribers over the last 10 years. Here, we chat with her about her traumatic childbirth experience, raising two young daughters, and the baby brands she loves most.

How has it been to watch the parent-blogging ‘universe’ grow the way it has over the last 10 years?

It’s been amazing. I don’t think anyone expected it to last for as long as it has. It’s extraordinary that it’s gone from being this underground hobby that a few people had, to this huge world that’s now enabling those in the blogging world to enter into the mainstream media – writing books, doing podcasts, and even going on Strictly Come Dancing!

Which aspect of social media do you enjoy most?

I love interacting with people. I think of it as a community, and a community doesn’t work if you say a bunch of things and leave. If people have taken time to respond to me, the least I can do is read their comments. I want people to know they’re appreciated, and that I value the time they take to send things to me. If you show that level of interaction, it shows you care, which I do!

Pearl is 18 months, and you have an eight year old, Darcy. How was life with a newborn second time around?

People say that going from one to two children is easy, because you’re just adding another one to the mix, and that might be true if you have two little ones close in age. But at the time I had a six year old, who was obviously already out of the pushchair, nappies, and so on, it was like going back to the beginning again. It’s great now because Darcy can help out, but it was initially more challenging than I thought it was going to be.

Was giving birth quite a different experience, too?

Yes, I’d had a traumatic birth experience with Darcy, and I didn’t realise in the aftermath that I was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – it had been misdiagnosed as postnatal depression. It took me a long time to bond with Darcy, and although I obviously loved her, there just wasn’t this ‘baby bliss’ that I’d geared myself up for.

Then, before giving birth to Pearl, my midwife told me about this NHS service called ‘Meet the Matron’, where you sit down with someone from the maternity ward and they go through the notes from your previous labour.

Louise Pentland with daughters
Louise Pentland with her daughters, Darcy and Pearl

It was so liberating, because my worries about giving birth this time around were validated by a professional, who agreed that my experience with Darcy had been traumatic. From there, I could work on dealing with those feelings, so by the time I was ready to have Pearl, I was in a happier place mentally.

How did Darcy react to getting a little sister?

She’s more interested now that she’s a bit older – Pearl’s starting to understand how to play and be more involved. They’re a lot closer now. In the beginning, I think Darcy was expecting a fully-formed playmate!

You’ve also written three novels over the last two years; Wilde Women was published in July this year. Do you think you’ll ever try writing for children?

I would love to at some point in the future. For now, all I can say is watch this space!

Is storytime a big thing in your house?

Pearl loves board books. Her favourites are the That’s not my… animal series from Usborne, especially as they’re textured and sensory. I recently bought her some lift-the-flap books, but the problem is she just rips all the flaps off! My personal favourite is The Tiger Who Came to Tea.

Which other essentials have helped you through motherhood so far?

A Doona car seat. It has wheels attached to it, so you can just pull the trigger and wheels come out the bottom of it, and the handle turns into a pushchair handle. It’s amazing if you don’t have a pushchair with you.

What’s Pearl’s nursery like?

I’m pretty useless when it comes to interiors! All the pieces in both the girls’ rooms are mostly vintage finds from upcycle shops. Pearl’s cot is from Ikea, with cute artsy touches that Darcy has added.

Any favourite brands for her wardrobe?

I’m a big fan of Mini Boden, which does lovely pieces for babies. Next has some great bits that wash well, and we have a few items from Zara Kids and M&S.

What’s the best thing about being a mum?

There are difficult parts, but your life as a mum is predominantly filled with happiness and fun. There are so many things you find yourself doing when you have children that you may have never done before. And you see things through your children’s eyes, and that makes life more magical.

Wilde Women by Louise Pentland is on sale now, published by Zaffre.

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