Martina caught up with Katie Piper to ask her some advice on motherhood, anxiety and overcoming fear. Katie sparkled as she shared insights into how she’s overcome obstacles to become the celebrity we all love and admire today. From the rise of social media bullying to the work life balance, we can easily see why Katie is the best choice for a book about motherhood, a novel she co wrote with her own mum, available to buy on Amazon now.
Katie, did you have a recognisable shift in your mind-set following the attack. Bear with me, what I mean is, did you find you had to change your attitude, as you obviously didn’t take the route of victim, instead you triumphed and saw the positives and made it work for you and your family. Was this a conscious decision, or something that happened gradually? It would be great if we could give readers a little inspiration on how to turn a huge negative into something positive and how to avoid retreating into oneself and shunning the world.
I think when anyone suffers trauma it can be hard to see how it can get better – it took a really long time for me to rebuild the confidence I once had, but day by day you move forward and as far as my recovery is concerned, one day I just decided to walk to the shops on my own. At the time it was so daunting, but I did it and it ended up being a defining moment in my journey. I came to accept that there are certain things that you cannot change but it’s about how you move on and overcome these that is important. Confidence is key and instead of dwelling on the bad try to focus on the good.
As a person who suffers anxiety and panic attacks surrounding the children (myself) I can only imagine how protective you must be of your children. Do you suffer from anxiety and do you find yourself wanting to wrap the little ones up in cotton wool?
Naturally, I feel massively protective over my daughters like any parent does. However, as life goes on, my job is to prepare them for how to deal with any problems if and when they arise. It’s completely normal to feel anxious and overwhelmed, especially as a first-time parent, but a great piece of advice I got when Belle was young was not to suffer alone. It’s OK to ask for help and to accept it when it’s offered to you.
Your relationship with your mum is incredible. Have you always been close? When did you decide to work together on a book? Has working together brought you even closer together or have you had differences?
Both my parents were very hands-on when I was a child and I loved that. We were a really close family and still are. I feel very fortunate to have such a strong bond with my mum. Of course, I was a stroppy teenager once, but we have had such a journey together over the years creating a bond that we cherish. Writing this book together has been emotional and therapeutic for us both. It brought up difficult times, but ultimately, it’s been so special working on it together and I think we’ve both learned more about each other in doing so.
Have you ever experienced bullying? How did you deal with it?
When I was at school it was so different than it is now, everyone was a lot more focused on lessons than social media. Nowadays bullying is so common and it’s heart breaking. I have experienced negativity as being in the public eye allows people to comment freely on social media about my appearance and their likes and dislikes about me. But I don’t let it make me bitter or angry, I simply ignore it and focus on the many wonderful positive comments I receive. Accepting who you are is the biggest thing you can do to stop bullies breaking you down!
I have a 13 year old daughter, Poppy, who believes she should change herself to fit other people’s expectations of her (mainly on social media). What advice would you give her, how would you make her see that she doesn’t need to change for anybody?
It’s inevitable that teenage girls are going to be heavily influenced by social media, their friends, their family, pretty much everyone around them. As a mum, I think communication is so key here. Talk to your daughters about their role models and what they like about them and try not to judge. Make it a conversation rather than a lecture so you can guide them towards a more positive way of looking at things. Children are so affected by what their parents say and do, it’s really important to emphasize health, wellbeing and happiness that’s not connected with looks.
A lot of our readers find their relationships change as they become more successful. Have you found yourself drifting away from any old friends? Has your success opened your eyes to who is worthy of your time?
Of course some relationships drift apart naturally overtime but I am lucky to have a close group of friends who have stuck by me through thick and thin, and these are the people who I focus my time on. Along with my family of course!
You are an incredible mum but also a huge success. Do you have any tips on balancing work and life?
Well, let me start by saying I don’t think I’ve ever met a working mum who said ‘I balance work and life really well’! But I feel strongly about not letting the guilt take over. It makes us mums feel terrible and doesn’t help anyone. It’s all about prioritising and making the most of every day. I make sure I spend plenty of quality time with my family and still go to work and achieve. It’s never easy, but every mum deserves to have the confidence to have both children and a career if that is what is important to them.
Your new book explores motherhood. What’s one thing you want your daughters to know?
There are so many things I want to teach my girls about; friendships, work, relationships, what it means to be a woman in this world, I could go on and on. And naturally so many things as a mother I want to protect them from. I am still learning about these things myself! I just want my daughters to know that I am here for them no matter what and that will never change.
Please tell us what you have going on right now and what ambitions you have for the future?
I’ve just written my new book ‘From Mother to Daughter’ with my mother, Diane. In a sentence, it’s a gritty survival guide for mums raising children in modern society also featuring extracts from my mum’s diary. It’s completely different to anything I’ve written before. I am also going on my debut theatre tour next month which is extremely exciting too!
Where can we see you next?
As above, I’m going on my first ever live tour that starts on 13th March in Andover. I’m going to talk about what I’ve learned through my experiences, good and bad and share some really personal memories and thoughts. I’ve always been really open with my fans and shared intimate parts of my life, but this is the first time I will get to speak to them in an up close and personal way. My hope is that I can talk to people openly discussing my own battles and how I overcame them.
My friend, Joelle Hargreaves is a massive fan (as am I). She says you are beautiful inside and out. Please would you say hello?
Hello Joelle, so lovely to meet you!
From Mother to Daughter: The Things I’d Tell My Child, published by Quercus, is available from all good bookshops and Amazon.