Model and Mom Tess Holliday Admits She Didn’t Bond With Her Firstborn Child Right Away, And Struggled With Postpartum Depression After Her Second

After becoming a mom for the first time, model Tess Holliday admitted that connecting with her firstborn child didn’t happen right away.

Holliday was just 20 years old when she gave birth to her now 14-year-old son, Rylee. And in a new interview with Parents magazine, Holliday admitted it wasn’t until he was a toddler that she started feeling motherly towards her son.

“I loved him, but I didn’t feel maternal toward him until he was a toddler.” Holliday also struggled with postpartum depression following the birth of her second child, 3-and-a-half-year-old Bowie Juniper. She told Parents that breastfeeding was harder the second time and Bowie didn’t sleep well as an infant.

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“I went deep into the newborn cave. I felt incredibly isolated. People thought they should give me space, but I just felt really sad.”

It was only within the last year that the mom of two was able to step out of that depression. And now, as she told Parents, she’s putting herself first. “I was suffering. I was putting my kids and my husband ahead of myself. I was losing myself. But all of that is changing.”

Mom Tess Holliday Didn’t Put Herself First, Now That’s All Changing

Despite gracing the cover of a handful of popular magazines over the years, this cover is the first she shot alongside her two children. Holliday admits she gets her strength to handle all life has thrown at her, including negative comments on social, from her own mother.

The 34-year-old was raised by a single mother, Beth Tadlock, in Mississippi. During her interview, Holliday told the short version of how her mom was shot in the head by one of her boyfriends and left for dead. Holliday was just a child at the time.

The shooting left Tadlock partially paralyzed. “My mom is one of my best friends.” In fact, she lived with Holliday and her family until about a year and a half ago, when Tadlock returned to Mississippi to care for her own elderly parents.

“I do challenge her and tell her how I feel and what’s important to me. But my mom always shows up for me. If I call, she’s there, and that’s what matters to me more than anything.” Holliday was also a single mom when she first became one.

Holliday describes Rylee’s biological father as a one night stand. She told Parents that Rylee doesn’t have a relationship with his father and neither does she. And despite not being able to connect with her firstborn son at birth, they are extremely close now.

“I always feel, especially at Bowie’s Montessori, that I’m judged a lot as a mom. Like people think, ‘Oh, look at her. She’s loud and tattooed and probably doesn’t care about her kids.’ Which is obviously the opposite of what I am.”

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I snapped this yesterday after my workout because I felt cute! I never share these photos to prove anything, but it’s a conscious choice to share the ways I move my body because it de-stigmatizes the notion that plus size folks aren’t healthy/active. For me, I work out because it helps me in many ways, but what about those that can’t? Non able bodied folks or those that have illnesses that prevent them from doing so? Does that mean that they aren’t allowed to love their bodies? Are we only granting self love these days to those that are perceived as “healthy”? I’m told often that it’s my obligation as a public figure to educate folks that physical health is more important than self love. But really, my only obligation to y’all is to live a life as authentic and transparent as possible. I will continue to show that loving your body in whatever state, is vital. You can work out all you want, but if you hate yourself, no amount of weight loss will fix that. If you build a house on sand, it’s gonna wash away right? I say that as someone who in the past, has treated my body horribly. I said unkind things to it, and I allowed people who were closest to me to treat me as less than because of my size. I have tried to shrink myself metaphorically, to be invisible, to not stand out or take up space because I was so ashamed of my body. Why? Because I didn’t know it was okay to love myself, AS IS. This kind of self love doesn’t happen overnight, and trust me, I NEVER thought I would have my “gym bros” (I lovingly call them this) @chrisfdsilva @getfitbyrob @willy_beamen by my side, keeping me accountable in ways I’ve asked them to. I never thought I would love going to the gym, but when I get to see my bros, it it makes my day. I’m also grateful to be working out with Chris while @massy.arias is busy running an empire. She has taught me so much, but it’s my job to implement what I’ve learned from her because this fat baby bird has to leave the nest eventually! If you take anything away from this be kind, always be the bigger person (in my case that’s easy!), treat others with compassion & realize that you deserve to love yourself as is. #effyourbeautystandards

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She continued, telling Parents, “I don’t share a lot of my kids on social media for a reason. But also, I want to connect with other parents, to be a role model for them, and that means actually sharing my kids on social media. So right now I’m finding the balance of, well, how can I show my daily life with them?”

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Now, Holliday and her husband of five years are working on themselves in separate parts of the world. “I’m just now finding some stability with my mental health.”

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When I first became a Mom, I was a single, living in Mississippi, working at Walmart portrait studio making $7 an hour, & no one knew who I was or cared. When I had my second child 10 years later & having a platform, had to use an alias at the hospital bc of the press following me, I had @nickhollidayco by my side, & was no longer worried about money, a roof over our head or anything else I worried about 10 years prior. .. Being a Mom, no matter what your circumstances are isn’t easy. Even as someone who is well known, my toddler doesn’t care & still throws toys at my head, my teenager hides in his room ignoring me all day while listening to NoFx, I still don’t get 8 hours of sleep & strangers on the internet tell me that I’m gonna die anyday now. ???? If anything, my life was much simpler when I first became a mom, but I wouldn’t change the path my life has taken for anything in the world. .. Whether your a mom to your biological children, adopted, fostering, etc, I see you. .. Whether you desperately want a child & are struggling with fertility, I see you. .. Whether you have lost a child, lost the person you called mom, have a strained relationship with your children or your maternal figure, or have chosen to not be a mom, I see you. .. I hold space for you here, and no matter where you are in your journey with motherhood, you are valid, you are loved & you matter. None of this is easy, no matter your circumstances & be kind to yourself. We got this. ???????????? #mothersday #youmatter

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And as for her children’s future, all Holliday wants is them to be happy, contributing members of society, who care about others. “I just want to fit in, in whatever way that they want me to be in their lives. I hope that we’re always close. And I hope that I get to keep growing right along with them.”


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