Stephanie Davis has shared the devastating details of her isolating labour with son Caben, admitting she had a full-blown panic attack mid-way through.
The former Hollyoaks actress said she felt “suicidal” as she was forced to give birth to her only child alone after her abusive ex-boyfriend Jeremy McConnell instead jetted off on a lad’s holiday.
Recalling what should have been the happiest day of her life, Stephanie told OK!: “I went through such a bad time with that pregnancy, it was hell.
“I got induced to get it over with quickly because I was so upset and I didn’t want the baby to be upset.
“I gave birth on my own, I was suicidal while pregnant, it was horrendous. When I was giving birth, I was having a panic attack in the labour room.”
Stephanie famously met Jeremy while appearing in Celebrity Big Brother in 2016 and the couple were barely out of the spotlight for the next two years.
But while the attraction was clear from the offset so too was the volatility between them, which has remained ever since.
After their son Caben was born in January 2017, the situation came to a head when Jeremy took a paternity test on This Morning show which proved that he was the boy's father.
They got back together following the test but things soon went from bad to violent and Steph was spotted with bruises. Jeremy was arrested for beating her up and smashing up her flat in March 2017. He denied the charge but was eventually convicted of Gross Bodily Harm.
The abuse she suffered left her feeling even more suicidal and she almost drank herself to death and went to rehab to help her overcome a drinking problem.
Stephanie is now completely teetotal, even quitting cigarettes, in a bid to turn her life around for her son, who is now five.
Steph recalled: “I started therapy after Celebrity Big Brother in 2016 when my life went to s**t. I was so low. I was drinking myself to death. I was so mentally abused and physically tortured. I was destroyed. I got dragged to rehab by my mum and dad and they said, ‘Please help her because she’s going to die’.
“I’m still in therapy now, and abstain from alcohol and drugs. I don’t touch anything because if I do I’ll just go until I destroy myself. I used it as a coping mechanism when things were bad because I didn’t have the right support around me.
"People were pushing me on stage, pushing me into interviews – it’s like with Amy Winehouse, Caroline Flack – I was just being exploited.”
Healing from that chapter of her life has been an ongoing battle. Steph has suffered from post-traumatic stress and has only just reached a point in her recovery where she no longer blames herself for the horror show that was her life while with Jeremy.
“I’ve forgiven myself today,” she said. “I couldn’t let go of the things I went through before. I kept holding onto them even when it was long over. I was still harbouring resentment, and then post-traumatic stress and trauma came up. I felt like I had no justice and it wasn’t fair.
“Now I’ve forgiven the young girl I was in the public eye – I was only a baby. I started in the industry when I was 15, in TV, and then in my early twenties I was flung into a world of chaos and went through a really public relationship.
"I felt totally helpless and beat myself up for it. I’ve forgiven myself for not coping now. It was a really tough few years of my life, it really was.”
Steph, who is now loved up with boyfriend Joeseph McKalroy, added: “Caben was my reason to live. He is my reason – if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be here. I’d have been dead and buried a long time ago.
"That’s why I can’t wait to do it again now I’m in a caring and loving relationship. I can’t wait to enjoy every single second of it. At least this time I’ll have someone to hold my hand.”
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