As her disabled son reaches his teenage years, the mother of five opens up about the daily fears and challenges she faces
Behind her headline-grabbing Pricey persona, it’s easy to forget the incredible challenges Katie Price faces day in, day out with her eldest son Harvey.
The 37-year-old has had plenty of mud thrown at her, but one thing’s for sure – she’s a devoted mum of five children, along with Harvey, she has 10-year-old Junior and Princess, eight, with ex Peter Andre, and Jett, two, and one-year-old Bunny with husband Kieran Hayler.
Harvey faces the added pressure of becoming a teenager on top of his existing challenges. An emotional Katie admits her biggest fear is letting her eldest boy down…
How difficult is it day-to-day?
I’m used to it. I don’t know any different. Take everything else out of the equation – take out my job, the men, my other kids – just me and Harvey on his own is a challenge, but I’m very laid-back and that makes a difference. I just love him and wouldn’t change anything about him.
How did you feel when you first discovered Harvey had medical problems?
When he was born he was normal – nothing wrong with him. Only when we did his six-week tests, [the doctor] said: ‘I’m afraid it’s not good news. Your son is blind.’ We sat there like: ‘Oh, what happens now? What do we do now?’ They said there was nothing to do. You’ve got to get on with it.
He has quite a list of conditions, but Prader-Willi syndrome must be particularly hard to deal with?
He’s on the autistic spectrum – he’s got communication and behavioural issues. He’s compulsive about routines. Nothing must disturb Harvey’s ordered world or there’s hell to pay. But with the Prader-Willi, he wants to eat, eat, eat and if you’re not looking he’ll steal food. And obviously he’s a big boy anyway because of his thyroid, but the Prader-Willi affects his behaviour because everything’s about food. Everything. He’s on medication six times a day. If he doesn’t take it he could die.
How is it getting harder as he gets older?
He’s hitting that teenage stage so he’s a bit Kevin & Perry. He’ll have the hormones on top of his behaviour. He’s just getting a bit moody, but he’s on new medication. He rules the house – but I like the fact he’s naughty because he has character.
What’s it like being a mother of five?
I love the chaos, madness and stress. I love the responsibility of all of my kids. They love me, I love them – the unconditional love of having children. It’s hard work and it’s for ever. But I don’t ask for sympathy or anything.
Do the other kids sometimes have to sacrifice your attention because Harvey’s your priority? How do they feel about that?
Sometimes Junior wants me to watch him play football on a Sunday but I can’t because Harvey doesn’t want to go. Junior understands that I can’t make Harvey go – he’ll smash the car up when I’m driving. But then I don’t want to leave Harvey with someone because I don’t want to be a failure.
Does it ever feel like it’s too much for you to handle?
I won’t do respite care with him yet – I just don’t want to feel like I’m letting him down while I go and have fun with the others. People tell me that so many parents use respite to have a break with their kids and it’s normal. But I won’t do it because I don’t want to leave him [starts crying]. He wouldn’t like it.