09 February 2024

Paloma Faith: Becoming a mum left me ‘irreversibly changed’

09 February 2024

Paloma Faith has revealed that the level of resentment she felt during the relationship with her children’s father was “stifling”.

The 42-year-old said: ” I just felt like I did not have the capacity to be a mother to anyone other than my children.”

The singer announced her separation from French artist, Leyman Lahcine – with whom she shares two daughters, aged seven and nearly three – in August last year. And the How You Leave A Man hitmaker has been vocal about the impact having children can have on relationships.

“You lose your entire identity, and not only have you got to adapt and get used to this new person [the baby], you have to learn and get used to yourself again – because you’re irreversibly changed,” Faith explained.

“Your entire existence is completely dismantled [when you have a child] and then you’re told to put it back together, but there’s no manual and you don’t remember where the bits are.

“And you have two choices: you either try and cobble it together to look a bit like a version of what it was before, or you go, I reject that, I’m making a completely new thing out of it. And I think that’s what I did – and I think that’s what killed my relationship. I was like, that’s not me anymore.”

Since becoming a single mum, she said: “I feel like the lack of resentment is so tangible. I found it really stifling – and I don’t resent anything anymore.”

Faith’s new album, The Glorification of Sadness, is “a manifestation of [the] break down” she had after the split from Lahcine. From her latest empowering single Bad Woman, to album track Eat S*** And Die, it’s a raw and vulnerable account of the rollor-coaster of emotions during a break-up.One thing she struggled with post-children was having to act as ‘a mother’ to other people as well – “and not just my boyfriend but lots of friends, my own mother, family members…”She added: “I just can’t do those things anymore. I think a lot of women who don’t say ‘I can’t’ are sort of pretending that they can, and then suffering from burnout.

“I’ve never really understood the word boundaries because I came from a crazy, traumatic childhood” (her parents separated when she was two). “But after having kids, I became very boundaried and I think people didn’t really recognise me. I didn’t even recognise me, because [it’s in] my nature to feel guilty.”

Ultimately, the decision to leave was hers – but, she added, “it takes two to end it, so whoever says it, it’s sort of irrelevant”.

Plus, there’s extra guilt attached to ending a relationship with someone you have children with, she agreed. “You feel like you’ve gone against your maternal duty or something.”

Making the decision was complex, she acknowledged.

“I just think certainty is an unattainable idea… I don’t know if anyone ever really knows what they want. They might know for a split second, and go, I’m just gonna do it – and then you live with the consequences.

“It would have been just as difficult to stay as it was to leave. I would have written just as emotional an album if I had stayed with him, that was all about the suffering of being in a long-term relationship.”

Faith’s children now spend two nights a week at their dad’s house. “So I get two very set days off and I get a break – quite a lot of married women don’t get a break,” she added.

“If they want to go out, they have to say, ‘Is it OK if I do this?’ sheepishly. Which I know, because I’ve been in that situation as well…. ‘Sorry, if you don’t mind, I’m going to have a night to myself’ – and usually it’s once in a blue moon.”

Their new co-parenting arrangement feels “very modern – Gwyneth Paltrow-y”, said the singer. And with “no one to resent”, the pair are on good terms.

“I think with the distance, my kids’ dad really appreciates me in ways that maybe he didn’t say before. We take time out to say ‘you’re brilliant’ to each other, which we didn’t do before. I’ll say, ‘I’m so lucky that my kids are your kids’.”

Mentally, Faith, whose UK tour starts in April, is in a better place now after “the most dramatic period” of her life.

“When I first ended it, I felt I had to sort of perpetuate this idea that I could power through and continue to kind of do everything, and I think that I burned out, I do think that I had a kind of breakdown when I broke up with my kids’ dad,” she said.

“Now I feel better in the sense that [I’m] a bit more kind to myself in knowing what I have capacity for. My priorities are clearer and less blurry to me than they have been for several years.”

And although she’s “on route” to a period of happiness, she can’t quite yet see the decision to split as choosing a happier path for herself.

“I think to feel that way, I’d need to have forgiven myself, and I’m not there yet.”

Forgiven herself for what exactly? “For him not being enough for me.”

The Glorification Of Sadness is released on February 16.

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