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.
“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.”
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?”
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.”
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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