'Marriage and having children has given life a whole new meaning... there's a lovely feeling of stability and clarity'
Katie Piper, the former model who is now a philanthropist, talks to Liz Connor about becoming a mum for the second time
Philanthropist, TV presenter, author and all-round inspiration Katie Piper already has her hands full, but that didn't stop her getting on board with supporting the Pampers #ThankYouMidwife campaign. The 34-year-old has also just become a mum for the second time; she and her husband Richard Sutton welcomed baby Penelope Diane in December, a little sister for their first daughter Belle Elizabeth, now three.
Here, former model Katie, who set up the Katie Piper Foundation after surviving an horrific acid attack in 2008 and now has a string of books, TV shows and awards to her name, alongside her work as a campaigner and activist, talks about pregnancy, parenthood and living with purpose.
Q. How did you find your second pregnancy - did it feel different from when you were pregnant with Belle?
A. It was different first because I've got a toddler running round the house, so it was a bit more full on. Also, because I'd done it once before, I was probably a little bit more laid-back than I perhaps was in my first pregnancy. So that's nice.
I'm really excited to be a mum again. It's made me realise how grown up my little girl is and that she's not a baby any more. She's a toddler, so it will be nice to go through all those milestones again and not fret about things like, 'When are they going to smile? When are they going to giggle?', and just actually enjoy the moment a bit more.
Q. Did you keep up your fitness routine while you were pregnant?
A. The first five months I was really good, I was still running on a treadmill and doing light weights, and then that gradually changed to floor exercises. When I got to about five or six months, it got quite tiring because I was working as well. I was waking up exhausted so I stopped, based on advice from my midwife. We got a puppy so I walked the dog every day, but I wasn't in the gym in Lycra doing deadlifts!
Q. Did you follow a specific pregnancy diet or just eat what you fancied?
A. All of my cravings were really sweet and sugary, so there was a lot of pain au chocolat and fizzy jelly worms, but I try to be mindful and eat the good stuff as well. I always have breakfast, a good dinner and a good lunch, whether I'm out and about or at work. But in the evening, [later in the pregnancy] I gorged on penny sweets and Madeira cake. I just sort of went with that, not really feeling bad about it.
Q. How do you think marriage and having children has changed your perspective on life?
A. It's given life a whole new meaning and a whole new responsibility, so there's a lovely feeling of stability and clarity. Particularly having (babies) because it's become what my world is about. I imagine that feeling will get even stronger now.
Q. How do you relax after a busy day?
A. I'm rubbish at relaxing. Before I got pregnant, my way of relaxing and to unwind would be to go for a run. I could never meditate, I'm just not a still, calm person. I like to read and I like to write, so if I'm at the computer writing, I find that quite cathartic.
Again, if I'm on a long flight, I love to read a good book, but when you have a toddler, you're not really reading books - your reading the odd page and then forgetting the whole plot, and then having to read the same page 28 times!
Q. You're fronting the Pampers #ThankYouMidwife campaign, which aims to say thank you to the UK's 40,000 midwives. What made you want to get involved?
A. Pampers told me that when they carried out their research, one in three midwives felt undervalued and under appreciated, so straight away, I thought, 'Well I wonder if that applies to my midwife, and the midwife who helped deliver Belle?' I think their research shows that it's quite a thankless task, in that you go above and beyond in your job.
As a mother, it's such an overwhelming time, so you probably don't think to acknowledge or thank the midwife. My midwife was very much part of the whole antenatal plan, the birth and in the community afterwards, and I credit my midwife for the reason I was able to breastfeed. She stayed after her shift and showed me how to get the baby to latch on.
Q. You've become a real role model - does that ever make you feel pressured?
A. I think it's a bit of a hard pedestal, in that nobody is perfect and people do get things wrong, myself included. The only thing you can be is conscious of perception and influence, and be sure of staying true to yourself.
Q. What is important to you in life?
A. I think purpose is really important. I suppose in my life, I've experienced losing purpose and also losing happiness, and now I would say I very much have both of them back. They are what defines us and they're the reasons we get up and do what we do every day. People think we should strive to attain wealth or material possession, but you actually shouldn't, because if you obtain those things without purpose and happiness, you'll feel unfulfilled.
Katie Piper is supporting Pampers' #ThankYouMidwife campaign. For every thank you shared on social media, Pampers will donate £1 to the Royal College of Midwives. Further information, visit pampers.co.uk