When you're fat and trying to get pregnant, the very first thing anyone will tell you is to lose some weight. It'll solve all your problems, apparently. The doctor will tell you to lose weight if you go in asking for help about your fertility. The IVF specialist will tell you to lose weight before they will treat you. In the UK, you have to have a BMI under 30 in most areas before you will get funding. There's a huge bias around anyone who wants to get pregnant and is fat, and no-one is talking about it.
They make it sound so simple don’t they? Just lose a few pounds and you’ll get pregnant easily. But I've spent most of the last 20 years trying and failing to lose weight. I’ve done pretty much every diet you can think of, and whilst the weight came off sometimes, you can guarantee more came back once I started eating 'normally' again.
I was diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome, a metabolic condition where your hormones are all screwed up) at 16, and was told I’d never have kids. But I got pregnant with both my boys easily, even though I was morbidly obese according to the BMI scale.
Was I putting my health at risk? Was I setting up my kids to be prone to all kinds of diseases? The media would like you to think so! But that’s just not the reality. I went on to have two healthy pregnancies, two healthy births and two very healthy, and very active boys.
It doesn’t make sense right? Was I just really lucky? I don’t believe I was.
It’s plain and simple fat bias rearing its ugly head. Fat people eat crap. Fat people don’t exercise. Fat people have high cholesterol. Fat people don’t take care of their bodies. This all leads to the simple conclusion that fat people can’t get pregnant because they are fat.
If you are taking good care of your body, if you are taking good care of your mental health, if you are giving your body all the nutrition it needs, and if you are creating the right environment for a baby, the fat won’t make a difference.
It’s just fat.
We create the stories around what being fat means and what having fat does. Do you believe that being fat is stopping you from getting pregnant? Even that thought alone can be a barrier. So every time you think it, I want you do to this exercise:
Stop what you’re doing.
In you head, or out loud, say:
”Stop. Not helpful. I can get pregnant when I’m fat.”
When you become aware of these thoughts, you’ll notice just how often you think them. It’s okay if you don’t catch them every time, but when you do, make sure you flip them on their head.
You can get pregnant when you’re fat, and it won’t harm you, or your baby.
If you’re struggling or need support, find a fertility coach or counsellor to help you through this, because you certainly don’t have to do it alone.