As Chloe Harris (Jessie Elland) gets to grips with being a mum following the birth of her baby Reuben in Emmerdale recently, the little boy may be only days old but already he’s surrounded by drama.

For one thing, his father, Mackenzie (Lawrence Robb), has recently got married to Charity (Emma Atkins), who has no idea that her new husband is Reuben’s dad.

In a recent episode, Charity took Mackenzie to visit Chloe and the baby and viewers later saw how overcome Mack was with emotion after seeing his son for the first time and the pressure that keeping the secret will have on him.

It’s Reuben himself who gives cause for concern in upcoming episodes, though as he becomes seriously ill. Jessie Elland told us how Chloe reacts as she realises something’s wrong with her little boy.

‘She knows something’s a little bit off but she’s so overwhelmed by the experience of motherhood that she can’t quite stand her ground and say something’s wrong because everyone is saying it’s normal, so that’s kind of the first main sign,’ she explained.

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‘As it progresses his temperature is the trigger point that makes them realise this is something more serious. Chloe realises Reuben’s temperature is really high.’

Reuben is rushed to hospital and Chloe is given the devastating news that he might have meningitis.

‘She’s completely overwhelmed,’ Jessie told us. ‘She almost numbs herself to everything else and has this laser focus on Reuben.

‘If she stood back and took it all in she’d be overwhelmed but she just has to have this laser focus.’

Chloe can’t help feeling an element of guilt, Jessie said. ‘She’s hard on herself. She questions if she could have caught it sooner, if there’s things that she’s missed, if she’s doing the right thing even now.’

There’s worse to come, as the baby’s condition deteriorates fast, and Jessie told us that this is absolutely horrific for Chloe as a new mum.

‘It escalates quite quickly and that exacerbates it for her because it escalates so fast she’s not allowed to be there with him. You can’t even imagine how awful that must be.

‘You have to wait by yourself or with family members for the doctors to come in and say what’s happening. The thought of not knowing, that’s just another element to the awful experience of it all.’

Jessie said that Chloe is ‘terrified’ of losing her son. ‘One of the reasons she wanted to go ahead with the pregnancy and have Reuben was that this is her chance to have her own family and someone who’s always going to be there for her, because she’s been through the wringer in terms of family and friends.

‘When he was born it’s now her whole world and to lose that would be horrendous for her so she is beyond terrified.’

Although she did some research for this storyline, Jessie said that as an actress she wanted to focus on the helplessness that Chloe feels in the moment, rather than researching too deeply into Reuben’s condition.

She cited watching ‘intense situations’ that are depicted in the series 24 Hours In A&E and a film called Pieces Of A Woman as being particularly helpful.

‘I wanted to focus more on the human aspect of it,’ she insisted, ‘because for a young mum in this situation she wouldn’t have that chance to have a processing of what it was and what the repercussions might be.

‘I just wanted to focus on the human side.’

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