Big Momma

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I am a size 24/26, my BMI classifies me as morbidly obese – that means I am so overweight that my weight poses a significant risk to my health.
Size matters – everywhere… anywhere… in our society, size is far too ofen more significant than skills or character. That is a fact.

I have been overweight my entire life.
My mother keeps telling me the story of how the doctor who delivered me came in to see her the next day.
He exclaimed that he just HAD to see the mother of the newborn that looked like a 3 month old…

I was a chubby kid – not fat as such.
But with puberty I started to pile on the weight … slowly … more and more …

Weight has been an issue for me my whole life – and yes it has made me unhappy, but not because I didn’t like the way I looked or because I had no friends…
On the contrary – I have always had very good friends and rarely got bullied or teased, I actually considdered myself alright looking… I was no prom queen but I was no ugly duckling either …

The reason I have always been unhappy about my weight was because I was told that I had to be …
“You need to see if you can lose some weight or you’ll get bullied”
“You really ought to eat less sugar or you’ll never have a boyfriend”
“You might want to think about exercising – you can’t be happy the size you are”

you know what:

I have some of the best friends anyone could ever ask for!
I met the most incredible man when I was 18 and married him at the age of 21
In fact I believe I was the first of my year to get married – go figure … and I have been very happily married for 5 years now …

But despite the fact that my husband loves me unconditionally – including all my wobbly bits – I have very low self esteem …

I have always wanted to be a mother, I have always known that I would want children, and this is where the weight really affected me for the first time…

A few months before we got married we stopped contraception and were keen as biscuits to start a family 😉
Our wedding came and went, the months passed and nothing happened…
I started researching and discovered I had all the symptoms of a condition called PCOS – polycystic ovary syndrome

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polycystic_ovary_syndrome
That basically meant it was not impossible but a lot more difficult to conceive a child without medical assistance.
I mentioned this to my doctor who advised that he could not perform any tests until we had been trying for at least a year and that in any case I would probably be better off trying to just lose some weight …
I tried not to take it too hard and just carried on until we had been trying for a year without any success…
When I went back, the doctor was not very forthcoming to say the least , but I’m kind of persistent when I want something so he gave in and ordered some tests…
And well wha’d you know … I had PCOS …

I was not eligible for any fertility treatment on the NHS since my BMI was too high so the only thing I could do was try to lose some weight
(which is considderably harder with PCOS since it affects how your body processes sugar – talk about vicious cycle…) and take a medication called Metformin.
This is actually a medication used to treat diabetes but it has been known to be of help to patients with PCOS trying to conceive.

Fast forward one year. February 5th 2011. Craig and me were walking by what was known then as Pals – right across the street from a fish and chip shop… I caught one whiff and felt thoroughly sick…
As we carried on shopping I had this nagging feeling that maybe this was a pregnancy symptom and as soon as we returned home I started googling… yes my boobs had been a little sore actually…
and I had been feeling unusually tired also … did I dare hope that I was actually pregnant …

Now the past couple of years I had done so many pregnancy test that I bought them in packs of 10 from Amazon – since I had extremely irregular periods I would just do a test every 2 weeks to be sure not to miss anything…
I had actually given up hope not too long before and stopped testing in december… (you know how they sometimes say it’ll happen when you least expect it 😉 )
Anyway – I slept on it, but Sunday morning I could wait no longer and I went to pee on a stick …
I put it on the side to brush my teeth while I waited and then looked … two lines …
I’d had this whole thing planned of how I would tell Craig when it finally happened but that went totally out of the window – I just went to the bedroom in a sort of haze…
“There’s two lines”…
Now, craig takes a while to wake up and come to his senses – well not this time – he sat up straight as a pole with the hugest grin and said “Really ?”
The test I used was actually the last in my current stash so we went straight to the supermarket and bought some more – when they all turned out positive as well we were happier than words can describe!
We were actually going to be parents …
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One of the first things I worried about was not the morning sickness but wether or not I would have a cute baby bump … was I maybee too fat to have a beautiful pregnant belly ?
Everytime I saw a skinny woman looking like she’d swallowed a watermelon my heart would sink a little…
when I attended antenatal appointments I would be told I was at risk of everything a pregnant woman worries about …
I wanted to shop for maternity clothes but apparently overweight women dont get pregnant… or so it seems when you’re looking for plus size maternity wear …
Don’t even get me started on the difficulties I had trying to find a nursing bra or disposable hospital knickers in my size – it was near on impossible…
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Apart from that I tried to enjoy my pregnancy – I was actually really healthy, had no complications and felt generally really well.
All my tests were great – blood preassure, blood sugars, scans – everything was textbook.
I took antenatal vitamins, strictly stuck to the do and don’t eats – had no caffeine or alcohol or anything that could harm my baby.
I felt as though I had to be extra vigilent because my weight was already putting my baby at risk…

But despite all the worries and fears everything went smoothly.
Winry was born after 8 1/2 hours of labour. It was a natural delivery with only gas and air and I only needed two stitches afterwards.
Most importantly – Winry was the picture of health with perfect proportions and measurements and utterly utterly gorgeous!!!
I went to a post natal class when winry was about 8 weeks or so – there were 9 other woman, all smaller than me, every single one of them had a more complicated and traumatic pregnancy and birth than me…
Please don’t get me wrong I am really not being smug and I understand why BMIs and stats and generalisations are used as guidelines, but it does sadden me that an individual can be written off and shoved in a drawer by a mere look at a number on a piece of paper…

With everything having gone so well the first time round I had hoped for a homebirth when I was pregnant with our second baby but due to my size I was denied this opportunity… Sam was born after a 50 minute labour, again with gas and air – no stitches… I went into the hospital at 9 am and left at 10 pm with a healthy, beautiful baby boy …

 

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Being a plus size mum does often make me feel judged. The few times I breastfed Winry and Sam in Public I have felt very uncomfortable due to my size.
When I was 7 months pregnant with Sam one of my work colleagues came up to me and said ” aaaw congradulations – i just heard you are pregnant – when are you due?”
when I told her my due date was only 7 weeks away she looked very embarassed…

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I put on 12 kg when pregnant with Winry and 14kg with Sam – that’s in the normal range for a healthy woman. I was back to my pre pregnancy weight when Winry was 3 weeks old, with Sam it took me about 4 months…
My children eat healthy nutritious food. I cook from scratch nearly every day. I play with my kids on the floor, climb with them when out and about at soft play centers or adventure playgrounds,
I have no problem taking them swimming and I really don’t feel that my weight impairs me in any way from being an active, fun parent.
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But that niggle of self doubt remains and is ever present…

Will my child be embarassed of me at the schoolgates, will they count calories because they don’t want to end up looking like their mum?
I have tried on numerous occassions to lose weight and never succeeded… and I think I know why…
I don’t really want to change myself, I actually like myself the way I am…
My size has never prevented me from doing or achieving anything I wanted.
Everytime I tried to loose weight it was because I felt like I ought to… because thats what I had been taught to believe all my life …
Being the size I am will no doubt cut some time off my life. I am well aware of the facts that tell me in no uncertain terms about the impact my weight has on my joints and internal organs…
Everyone has a crutch – be that cigarettes, alcohol, caffeine, make up … well mine is food … not junk food … delicious healthy food and home made baked treats … I just eat too much of it …

Does that affect my ability to be a good parent? Some might argue that it does …
I hope that I can teach my children that every person is beautiful in their own right, no matter their size, class, ethnicity or abilities…
I hope that when people look at me as a mother they don’t imagine a fat person in a tracksuit eating crisps out of a family sized packet watching daytime telly…
I hope they imagine more of an italian mamma stirring a pot of delicious pasta sauce with an apron round her belly, an apetite for life and a big fat smile on her face…
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until next time…
ta da

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2 thoughts on “Big Momma

  1. What an awesome post Rebecca!!!!!! I loved taking your photos when you were pregnant. My sister has PCOS and she is pregnant. She was once told she wouldn’t have children so it’s super exciting. So lovely to know more of your story!!!

  2. Thank you so very much – you can tell your sister that with our second baby we fell pregnant within one week of trying (much to my husbands dismay 😉 ) without any medication … all the best !! XX

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