WARNING: CONTAINS CORONATION STREET SPOILERS.
If you thought you were busy, try coping with four newborn quads
This is the highly stressful situation that Gemma Winter (Dolly-Rose Campbell) is facing in Coronation Street at the moment.
Campbell opens by outlining how Winter has been dealing with the strain of bringing up four babies since she unexpectedly started giving birth to them in a cable car on a day out. “It has all been really overwhelming.
“She has got so much going on. It is like she is stuck in a revolving door. It is non-stop and she is really struggling.”
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To make matters worse for Winter, Aled, one of the quads, is poorly. The 32-year-old Campbell, who has played Winter since 2014, illuminates how her character has been feeling since she found out about Aled’s condition. “He was the one they were most concerned about.
“He is smaller than the others and he was the one who was born in the cable car. They had noticed that he didn’t react when Ed accidentally set the alarm off – and he doesn’t wake up when the others cry.
“They thought he was the calm one,” she adds. “When they found out that he has permanent profound hearing loss in both ears, they realised that he had never heard anything since birth.
“That makes Gemma feel like she has failed him and that she is not capable of providing for him and his extra special needs.”
All of which makes Winter feel guilty that she didn’t notice Aled’s problem earlier. Campbell reflects that, “She doesn’t know how to communicate with him. She was treating him the same as the others.
“She feels guilty about that and also feels guilty because she thinks that it was something she did wrong during the pregnancy and during the delivery because they were on the day out.”
The actress continues that, “She feels she should have been sensible and not gone on the day out. Obviously, none of it is her fault, but you can understand why she feels this way.
“It would be overwhelming if you had one child and you were getting this diagnosis, but she has three other children and Joseph to care for, too.”
Quite understandably, this is all causing Winter a great deal of anxiety. According to Campbell, “She is scared about how they are going to cope and how it will change their lives and what the future will hold for him. She is scared about him being left behind.
“She is struggling generally. She knows, deep down, she has the capability of caring for the others, but to care for Aled going forward is different, and she is worried she won’t have the skills to care for a deaf child.”
Winter comes across as very brash and confident, but Campbell reveals that is not how she is really. “She is not massively confident. It is all a front – and now she feels more vulnerable than ever.
“She does have people offering to help her, but she hates asking for help. She doesn’t want to admit that she is struggling to get everything done – and her mum is not around any more.”
At least she can lean on her partner, Chesney Brown (Sam Aston). Campbell observes that, “He is a tower of strength for her, but there is only so much he can do.
“He does recognise that she is struggling, so he suggests that she goes along to the baby sensory session. Cathy [Matthews, played by Melanie Hill] and Emma [Brooker, Alexandra Mardell] go along with her, as getting four babies out of the house is so difficult.”
The group proves to be a positive experience for Winter. Campbell comments that, “Gemma finds it quite comforting to meet other mums who seem to be supportive of her and meet other mums who are going through similar struggles to her and that is just with one baby. She had felt very isolated, as she doesn’t have friends who have babies.”
One thing would help improve Winter’s position: the return of her mum, Bernie (Jane Hazlegrove).
Campbell believes that is “exactly what she needs”. “Bernie knows her better than anyone – and it is going to take someone close to her to recognise what she is going through and that this is more than just struggling with the babies.
“Gemma does need real help to get through this.”