Lucky Louise

Louise Thompson starred in reality TV show Made in Chelsea for eight years. Since appearing on the programme, she’s won more fans thanks to her honesty in documenting her experiences of birth trauma, living with ulcerative colitis, and having a stoma. She spoke to Enable’s editor, Melissa Holmes

Picture of Louise Thompson. Her black hair hangs in loose curls around her shoulders and she has some natural makeup on. She is wearing a cropped grey t-shirt and blue jeans. Her white stoma bag is also visible above the waist band of her jeans. She stands in front of a plain brown background.
Pics: © Will Chamberlain/Maddy Shipman

Q: Firstly, congratulations on the release of your book, Lucky. How does it feel to have a Sunday Times Bestseller?

A: It’s such a surreal time. It’s overwhelming, but it’s also brilliant, because it means I can close one chapter and open the next. Now that what happened to me is out in the open, I feel like I can drive forward in my mission to help people. It took me a long time to feel courageous enough to share my story.

Q: Your book focuses on the traumatic birth you experienced with your son, Leo, which led to PTSD. In the book and on social media, you write so eloquently. Does writing feel like therapy? 

A: When I was younger, I was terrible at writing. I was always told I wasn’t very creative, and English was my worst subject. 

After having my son, I had horrendous flashbacks and I was caught in the state of hypervigilance for long periods of time. I couldn’t communicate. In those really dark moments, I wrote. At the beginning, it was incredibly basic – just handwriting in journals – like ‘what did I achieve today?’ ‘I stayed alive’. 

It built up from there. It’s almost like I’d accessed a different part of my brain where I was truly authentic. Even sharing things through Instagram felt nice – I was connecting with people at a time when I couldn’t really accomplish anything. 

Picture of Louise, her fiancé and her son Leo sitting outside on bench. They stare happily at each other, with their arms around each other. The background is of what appears to be a rustic barn but it is not fully visible.
Louise, fiancé Ryan and Leo

Q: You were diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 2018, and had your stoma surgery in January 2024. The way you’ve documented your experience has really opened up a conversation. How do you feel, knowing you’ve helped normalise stomas for people? 

A: It’s very kind of you to say that I am helping normalise it. A couple of years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to handle the situation that I’m in currently. But given everything I’ve been through with the birth trauma and the resilience I’ve built up, it’s led me to this place where I’ve been able to handle the surgery so much better. Because now I really know the difference between life and death. I’ve come very close to dying, so I know how much I want life. I know what I’m willing to sacrifice – it feels like having a grey bag attached to my stomach is such a small price to pay for that. 

Q: The way you’ve shared your experiences of having the stoma is really making a difference to others… 

A: If I can destigmatise it so people see it through a new lens – just to come out the other side of surgery and be alive is pretty impressive. People get in touch all the time, like the stunning girl who’s lived with a stoma for many years, who messaged me to say she’d never worn a bikini before, and she’s now ordered four. It’s such a privilege to be in a place where I get to interact with these people. 

Q: Given your numerous health issues, do you view yourself as disabled? 

A: I see people that are so much more unwell than me and I feel like I wouldn’t be able to honour that label. When I was at my worst, when I couldn’t go anywhere without pooing my pants, I was really limited. Back then, I did feel like this was hugely impacting my life. 

Adapting to life with a stoma hasn’t stopped me from doing anything I want to be able to do. I’m very fortunate in that I can control a lot of areas in my life – I’ve created a life that works very well for me.

 

Louise sits on a brown couch holding her new book. The book is green. She is wearing a white blouse and blue jeans. Her hair is pulled back in. abut. She smiles at the camera.
Louise with her book

Q: What’s been the best thing about sharing your story? 

A: It’s nice to know I no longer need to explain what happened to me, because everybody just knows. Plus I’ve realised I’ve spent a lot of my life doing things that were expected of me, instead of doing the things I really want to do. I’m a much more serious person than I thought. I’ve never been able to harness that, and now it feels empowering to be able to talk about serious, interesting stuff. 

Q: What’s next for you? 

A: I had a meeting yesterday with a birth trauma charity. I’m really excited by the idea of making change so that trauma doesn’t happen to people in the first place. For the moment I’m continuing to raise awareness and work for different campaigns. Longer term, I would love to set up facilities, like a mother and baby unit, or a safe space for women who are suffering with really bad perinatal health. 

Q: How does it feel to get such amazing feedback from readers? 

A: I feel privileged. It’s nice to know I have turned something really negative into something positive. There really is no bettter feeling than helping others. People just want to feel seen and to know they’re not the only one. 

FOR MORE INFORMATION 

Follow Louise on Instagram at louise.thompson.

Louise is an ambassador for Crohn’s and Colitis UK.

Louise’s book ‘Lucky: Learning to Live Again’ is available from all good booksellers.

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