Former Love Island star Olivia Bowen has opened up to fans about her struggle with parenthood as she admitted she felt like a “complete failure” while trying to get to grips with breastfeeding.
The 28 year old star welcomed her first child with husband Alex Bowen, 31, in June when she gave birth to a baby boy, Abel Jacob.
However her journey as a new mother hasn’t been without its struggles, as Olivia explained during a recent Instagram post.
Alongside an image of the stunning mum feeding her little boy, Olivia herself admitted she had never considered breastfeeding before giving birth.
“I never thought I would breastfeed,” she told her 3 million followers.
“I think where I felt like I was not a maternal person whatsoever before Abel was born, I had serious doubts it would work for me & I also didn’t even feel comfortable with the thought of it!
“I would go as far as to say it freaked me out a bit.”
Most of Olivia’s fear stemmed from not knowing what to expect, as she even admitted that she had feared she would be “so rubbish as a Mum” she hadn’t even considered having kids before having Abel.
This all changed however, the minute she held her baby boy for the first time, a moment that Olivia herself admitted felt “natural.”
She told her followers: “Fast forward to when Abel was born & he first latched in the hospital it couldn’t of felt more natural. The bond & connection I feel with him when feeding I will be forever grateful for.”
Two months on from his birth, the doting mum found she was still loving every minute of it, as she told her followers: “ Now 2 months on & still breastfeeding & watching him grow on something my body produced specifically for him is just incredibly rewarding.
“I never expected to breastfeed, I didn’t put pressure on myself to do so either, but I’m so glad we’ve been able to.”
The journey wasn’t entirely smooth however, as Olivia also highlighted that as much as she enjoyed the experience, there were also some days where it just didn’t go to plan.
Sharing a frank account of her experience, Olivia said: “ It’s not always easy, those first few weeks the emotions are no joke.
“I had a couple of days where he wouldn’t latch properly & I felt like a complete failure, I felt like I was failing myself & failing him – even though I told myself before I wasn’t bothered about breastfeeding.”
Breaking down the taboo of the subject, Olivia also shed a light on the far less glamorous side of breastfeeding, and how at one point she had feared Abel may not have been getting enough milk.
The Islander continued: "The first week I was squeezing my engorged boobs over the bath, I woke up with wet sheets from leaking & I constantly worried about how much he was getting & was it good enough?!”
Despite the setback, Olivia persevered and has continued to change her perspective about breastfeeding, even choosing to delay weaning to foster the connection she has with her young son.
She explained: “I was convinced I would stop breast feeding after a month, then told myself 3 months & now I’m saying 6!”
“ There is no feeling like it. When his little eyes look up at me & when he goes all sleepy & content. So close to you. Who am I!!!! I would never have imagined to be writing this”
Acknowledging that there were both good and bad days, Olivia chose to see the positive side as she chose to focus on what an amazing gift it was to see her baby thriving.
She admitted: "There are hard days, but there are so many amazing days & they make the hard ones feel like a million miles away.
“I can’t even explain how amazing it feels to see my baby thriving from my body after growing him from that same body for 9 months.”
"It’s taught me to just trust the process, trust myself & have faith that I’m doing everything I can.”
Concluding her post, Olivia turned her attention towards the future as she reflected on her journey so far, writing: “ I feel extremely lucky that we’ve got this far, however long this feeding journey lasts, whether it’s months more or weeks more or even days more – I’m grateful I had this amount of time at all.”
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