Love Island's Shaughna Phillips has over 1.4m Instagram followers, but when Closer catches up with her, all eyes are on her adorable baby, Lucia. Sitting in her mum’s arms, she beams happily, before wriggling round and nodding off on her shoulder.
“She doesn’t normally nap,” laughs Shaughna, 29. “The days are long and the nights are short! She did sleep through from four weeks though, so I can’t complain. I’ve always got up early too, so if she wakes early I don’t mind at all. She has such a funny little personality and the time is going so fast. I’m enjoying every second of it!”
Seven months into motherhood, Love Island 2020 star Shaughna is clearly taking it in her stride. She’s currently living with her mum while her house is being renovated, and says she’s been a huge support. After all, it hasn’t been the easiest time for Shaughna, who split from ex Billy Webb just two months before giving birth.
“When Lucia was born, Mum slept in my bed with me for the first four weeks,” says Shaughna, who’s from Hertfordshire.
“I had an emergency C-section, and on our first night back home I lay next to Lucia and couldn’t even get up. It was tough, but Mum helped and I trust her with Lucia more than I trust myself. Now we have a routine – in the morning I’ll give Lucia a bottle, then Mum takes her and I make breakfast.”
She adds, “If you’d told me when I fell pregnant that I’d be a single mum, I’d have said, ‘Hold on, stop the ride’. But that’s my reality, and when you’re in these situations you just get on with it. I roll with the punches and take it day by day – and I feel proud. Every time Lucia does something new it’s because of me, so I wear it as a badge of honour.”
Another great ally is Shaughna’s best friend, celebrity make-up artist Holly Connolly, 29. The pair gave birth just days apart and their shared experience has inspired them to launch their own podcast, Oh Baby! From breastfeeding to their biggest fears, to post-partum sex and exercise, nothing is off limits.
“I didn’t realise how much of a community you need when you have a baby, and Holly’s been an amazing support,” she says.
“We did our pregnancy tests on the same day, had our scans at the same time and Lucia and Cici were born days apart. Now we’re experiencing motherhood together, although we’re in different situations – Holly is married and I’m not. We’ll be having some very honest conversations on our podcast, we don’t sugar-coat it!”
Becoming a mum has been a huge shift, and Shaughna has suffered her fair share of anxiety. “I see danger in everything now, because I have this precious little life I want to protect,” she explains.
“It did get to the point where I didn’t want to leave the house, because I felt I couldn’t guarantee Lucia’s safety, but now I try not to let it affect daily life. I’m fine out with friends, but I don’t go to the park if it’s empty.”
And while she was once a red carpet regular, Shaughna would now much rather be tucking Lucia up in bed. “I get invited to amazing events, but there’s nothing I’d rather be doing than getting Lucia to sleep,” she says.
“I didn’t realise I’d enjoy being a mum so much. I have no interest in dating either – my gay best friend is the only man I need!”
Becoming a mum has shifted Shaughna’s perspective on her body, too – something she realised when she was recently snapped on the beach in Mallorca.
“When I saw the pictures, I had a meltdown for about 15 seconds,” she says.
“Then I thought, ‘There are terrible things going on in the world, get over yourself!’ I didn’t feel self-conscious at the time, I was having fun with Lucia, but given the choice, anyone would choose their best angle and suck it all in. Instead, I was in the water with a Peppa Pig surfboard and no make-up!”
While Shaughna loves working out, she readily admits it’s a struggle to fit it in.
“I really underestimated how exercising and having a baby works together – they just don’t,” she laughs.
“Sometimes I’m hard on myself because I used to go to the gym seven days a week, but then I had no cares in the world. Instead, I try to walk 10,000 steps a day, if my anxiety isn’t too bad. And when Lucia’s in her highchair, I’ll do some squats.
“I want to be as healthy as I can for her, so I’m focusing on eating lots of veg and healthy home-made meals too. My dad passed away when I was 22 and I want do everything I can to be here as long as possible for her. I’m eating well for lots of reasons, but the way that I look is the last thing on that list.”
Holly Connolly: 'We share the highs and lows'
Holly says, “Shaughna and I became friends after meeting at a party four years ago, and I was so happy when she told me she was pregnant too. She’s been such an emotional support since I had Cici – we take them out for lunch and talk about how little we’ve slept.
“When things get tough, we’ll have a giggle, which is so important because motherhood is hard and nobody can prepare you for it. We’ve been recording our podcast through our journey and it's been like therapy, it’s so cathartic.
“As mums, we carry so much guilt and it can be difficult to keep your own identity, but we love sharing the highs and lows.”
Oh, Baby! with Shaughna Phillips and Holly Connolly is out now – listen wherever you get your podcasts. Follow @ohbaby_pod on socials