Kate Ferdinand has opened up about life as a step mum, revealing she suffered from imposter syndrome when first taking on the role.
The former The Only Way Is Essex star, who is married to former professional footballer Rio Ferdinand, was discussing her own experience of the subject having become step mother to her husband's three children: Lorenz, 15, Tate, 13, and 10-year-old Tia when the couple wed in 2019.
The couple also have a one-year-old biological son, Cree.
The former England captain's first wife Rebecca died in 2015, aged 34, after a battle with breast cancer and Ferdinand has often talked about her journey to step parenthood.
In a new interview with ITV News she revealed she struggled with imposter syndrome after "stepping into a readymade family".
"It's taken me quite a while to feel comfortable in my role, but I think that's something that a lot of step parents do go through," she said.
She also revealed that in the beginning of her step mum journey she "didn't know where to turn", adding that though there were lots of resources for first-time mums, the same support didn't seem to exist for blended families.
"I just didn't know where to turn or where to go to, and I just felt really alone."
Thankfully she was able to draw on her experiences of being a step daughter to help in her new role.
"I'm really clear in that I'm not replacing mummy," she explained. "You've only got one mum, mummy's mummy, and I'm here, just doing what mummy would be doing if she was here," she said.
"Rebecca was part of their life, so she's part of my life."
Ferdinand has also recently opened up about her role as a step mum on an episode of the podcast Made By Mammas, in which she said that being a step parent is a "huge role" and one that involves quite a bit of pressure.
"I find it sometimes it's a lot more pressure - I don't know if I put the pressure on myself - than a biological parent because I'm so desperate to make it work," she said.
Later in a discussion about the perception of the role of step parents, she said she believed that "society makes us feel a step parent isn't enough, or isn't good enough."
The star also admitted that she has a tendency to "over-analyse" and "overthink everything" when it comes to her raising her three step children.
Watch: Kate Ferdinand's stepchildren poke fun at her 'The Only Way is Essex' stint
Last month, the star was praised for speaking so openly about the struggles she encounters on Mother's Day.
She explained that while it is usually a time for celebration, Mother's Day can also be a difficult time for many.
"Mother's Day for most people is usually a day that we celebrate the women that shaped us," she says in the clip. "But unfortunately that is just not the case for everyone.
"For me personally Mother's Day is a day that I struggle with."
Since sharing her own experiences of being part of a blended family and coping with the various feelings that can instigate, Ferdinand was praised in the comments section by fans grateful for her honesty on the subject.
"Amazing Kate I’ve just listened to the podcast it was really moving this will help so many people this is so needed," one user wrote.
"Truly inspirational and needed, thank you," another agreed.
Ferdinand has previously opened up about how becoming a stepmother and mum has impacted her emotions.
After giving birth to her son Cree, she shared a sweet note from her stepchildren who were attempting to console her as she navigated new motherhood in lockdown.
"Pls stop crying I love u", the note read, which the star shared to Instagram.
Ferdinand also penned a lengthy post about how she'd been feeling, explaining that her anxiety has been “at an all time high”.
The star has now channelled her experiences into a new podcast, Blended, which aims to raise awareness of the issues and provide support to a community of blended families.