When Paloma Faith found out she was pregnant in 2016 she had a romanticised view of parenthood.
“I was expecting it to be this glorious thing, becoming a mother,” says the singer. “It didn’t even come into my mind that there would be any risk.”
The reality was very different.
Towards the end of the pregnancy, Faith’s waters broke, but she didn’t go into labour – a condition called premature rupture of the membrane (Prom) – putting both her and her unborn child at risk of infection.
To protect them both, she was confined to bed for three weeks before her daughter was delivered, prematurely, by emergency caesarean.
“My child was actually fine, but I wasn’t,” she says. “I had a uterine infection, I had cystitis quite badly twice, to the point where I was convulsing, teeth chattering, high temperature. And I lost a lot of blood, as well.
“It was as close to death as I’d ever been.”
Determined to be the ideal mother, however, Faith played down her health problems.
“I was trying to be a hero and I didn’t get help,” she says
“I did all the nights myself and I didn’t get to recover, because I didn’t sleep, and then I got post-partum depression – so it was all pretty intense.”
Despite everything, Faith threw herself back into work, embarking on a nationwide arena tour while feeling “devastated and miserable”.
It didn’t help that, in an effort to shield her newborn child from the media, she declined to announce her name or to post family photographs online.
To some newspapers, that was a red rag. Tabloids ran stories saying Faith was raising her child to be gender-neutral, while the singer found herself stalked by paparazzi on the way to the playground.
With hindsight, she realises, “they’re more desperate to get pictures of you when you try to stop them”.