Olivia Bowen at her home in Hertfordshire

Love Island’s Olivia Bowen reveals the truth about becoming a first-time mum and healing from a traumatic birth

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Speaking to Living360, Olivia opened up about the difficulty she faced becoming a mum, and offers her tips and tricks to helping to protect your mental health.

After falling in love with her now husband, Alex Bowen, on ITV’s Love Island in 2016, Olivia Bowen’s life was propelled into social media stardom. From brand deals and influencer content to everything in between, Olivia’s trajectory since leaving the show has been hailed to great acclaim, positioning her as one of the few stars to have created a successful career post-series.


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A post shared by Mrs Olivia Bowen (@oliviadbowen)

But rather than being consumed by the glitz and glam of the lifestyle, Olivia now seems to sit outside of the bubble, acknowledging that the career of a social influencer and former Love Islander does nothing to prepare you for the reality of motherhood.

“The way Alex and I lived our lives prior to having our son, Abel, was very selfish,” she admits. “I was never really sure that I wanted kids initially, and then you go from that to having a baby relying on you — it was a huge shock to the system.”

As well as having to mentally prepare for the impending lifestyle shift that she was about to face, Olivia also suffered a traumatic birth, an event that took her months to process.

“I now look back at those new-born moments with such fondness, but at the time I remember crying so much and feeling alone, feeling like my body wasn’t mine. You don’t realise how bad you were and how low your mental health was until you look back on it.”

Read more: How to navigate life as a new mum
Alex and Olivia Bowen, former Love Island contestants
Alex and Oliva Bowen at their home

 Recovering from childbirth trauma

Now reflecting on her experience two years postpartum, Olivia advises others healing from a traumatic birth to vent your feelings as much as possible.

“There’s going to be moments when you’re lying awake at night thinking about what you went through, and I would advise writing down as many of your thoughts as possible, whether that be on paper or on your phone.” The Love Islander explains that this helped her to rationalise and process her emotions, as well as better explain to others how she was feeling.

“Another thing that I didn’t initially realise is that you can request your birth notes!” she exclaims brightly. “No one really tells you about this, but reading what you went through and being able to comprehend just how much strength that took can help to provide some closure on the experience.”


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A post shared by Mrs Olivia Bowen (@oliviadbowen)

Protecting your mental health as a first-time mum

Any mum will tell you that the first few months are the hardest when it comes to protecting your mental health.

A lack of sleep combined with days spent indoors forgoing any concern for yourself is a recipe for over-exhaustion and self-depreciation. While spending some time away from your baby can be extremely difficult and incredibly guilt-inducing, Olivia emphasises the importance of doing so, if you can.

“You’re going to feel guilty leaving your baby for a second, but even having just half an hour to yourself to do something entirely for you will make you a better mum,” she explains. “You can’t take care of anyone else if you’re not taking care of yourself.”

Read more: London’s best pre- and post-natal fitness classes
Former Love Island contestant Olivia Bowen
Olivia has embraced mum life with open arms

 How to practise self-care as a new mum

For Olivia, self-care and horse-riding are synonymous terms. “I love being around animals and riding. Initially, shortly after having Abel, I wasn’t able to horse-ride or exercise at all due to the nature of my birthing experience, so I had to find something that provided me with a similar feeling of ease.”


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A post shared by Olivia Bowen (@oliviabowenequestrian)

Painting, pottery, a short walk or a long bath — these are all great ways to practise self-care while only taking a short time away from your newborn.

If you’re unable to do your usual form of self-care for whatever reason, replacing it with something more practical and less time-consuming, like your skincare routine, reading or getting your steps in, can provide you with some time to yourself — which, for mums of young children, is as good as gold.

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