Corrie star Helen Flanagan opens up about motherhood matters. She exclusively tells us why she supports mums breastfeeding in public and how she has developed her own network of mum friends.
Helen Flanagan tells me she is breastfeeding her five-month-old daughter Delilah during our phone interview. This is typical of the honesty you can expect from the mum-of-two, who is open on social media about her experience of raising Delilah and three-year-old Matilda with footballer fiancé Scott Sinclair.
Breastfeeding in public
Her Instagram feed is dotted with photos of her breastfeeding her daughter, Delilah, in public, as she hopes other mums will follow in her footsteps. ‘It’s all about normalising it,’ she says, ‘because it is the most natural thing in the world.’ Mums don’t need to worry about covering themselves up, she believes, as most people won’t take any notice. ‘I don’t feel I should get myself really hot and bothered with loads of blankets and stuff. If she’s hungry, she’s hungry – I’m just going to latch my baby on.’
Putting an end to mum-shaming
Helen believes mums often feel pressure to breastfeed or bottle feed their baby. But she says, ‘There’s no right way about it’ and that mums should feed their baby however they feel comfortable. ‘The best thing for the baby is what’s best for the mum,’ she says. ‘It all depends on the individual,’ she adds, ‘and I think as women, we should support each other.’
Making a network of mum friends
Helen has a supportive network of mum friends and they go to baby classes together. She says it is important to get out of the house with mums who have babies the same age. ‘Sometimes I feel when you have a baby you tend to spend a lot of time in the house. It’s good for you mentally to get out and communicate with other mums.’
Complications in Helen Flanagan’s pregnancy
A strong support system was essential during Helen’s second pregnancy, when she suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum, a complication which causes extreme nausea and vomiting. ‘It’s just horrendous,’ Helen says. ‘You feel like all your energy is just absolutely drained.’ Some mornings she could hardly get out of bed…But her mum, fiancé Scott and his mother supported her and took care of Helen’s first daughter, Matilda. Helen stayed characteristically positive, as the excitement for another baby kept her going. ‘There’s a really happy reason that you’re ill, so you’ve just got to keep sight of that.’
How Helen Flanagan overcame her mental health battle
In the past, Helen has been open about her struggles with depression and anxiety. But she says having children has improved her mental health. ‘Being a mum can bring you a lot of contentment,’ she tells us. ‘When you’re looking after children you haven’t got time to think of anything else because the focus isn’t on yourself – the focus moves onto your children.’ In fact, Helen is already planning for another baby. ‘I definitely will have more children,’ she says, with plans for a big family with her partner of nine years, Scott. But will she be trying for a baby boy next time? ‘I’m really not bothered,’ she says. ‘As long as the baby’s healthy – that’s what any mum wants, isn’t it?’
Helen’s maternity lingerie line, Delilah Ruby, is available at delilahruby.co.uk