This evening, I put on my sports kit and went for a run. I’m a size 12 in case you were wondering. A kind lady on Twitter pointed out to me that this is classed as plus size, so I guess I’m kind of overweight when it comes to the ideal figure.
Anyway, I dragged my lardy arse out of the door to get some exercise, as I do most days. Today, I ran 11 kilometres, there were some decent hills in there too.
You may be wondering why this is relevant to you. Well you see ironically, my running partner alerted me to your writing whilst I was running.
You see, I’m one of those awful parents that you wrote about in your delightful article last week.
Because ten months ago, I gave birth to my second baby. She is, as you so thoughtfully pointed out, classed as obese. She weighed 9lb 15 oz.
Here she is, nearly ten months old now, eating a croissant. I know, I know. I’m probably damaging her for life feeding her this, she got off to such a bad start with her weight problems anyway.
I must say, it was a very well researched article. You managed to wheel out various experts, such as Tam Fry from the National Obesity Forum. He helpfully noted that, “Although some mothers suffer from medical conditions, which increase the size of the baby, most just overeat.”
There is also the Royal College of Midwives Spokesman, who pointed out that women should have a balanced diet whilst pregnant and that, “Long walks and gentle jogs can also help.”
I don’t think your research extends as far as being a mother yourself though does it Lydia? Your comment about a 10 lb 3oz baby being, “Nearly just as big” as a 12lb 6 oz baby alerted me to that. Had you actually pushed out a baby, I suspect you’d realise that it isn’t, oh no, it really isn’t.
So, let me tell you about Lia. She was born naturally after I was induced at over 42 weeks pregnant. She was breastfed exclusively until she was ready for solids, and I still breastfeed her now, which is her only source of milk.
Lia has never been in a pushchair, but she gets out in the fresh air every day in her ring sling baby carrier. Yes, I carry her, even at the immense weight she is now.
And for the record, as soon as she can, she’ll be walking with me, just like her sister. Libby will be three in June and will happily walk a good few miles every day on our dog walks.
Lia goes swimming once a week, and in September, she’ll probably join Libby in ballet classes as well.
When she has been weighed and measured by midwives and health visitors, they have all reassured me that Lia is perfectly in proportion.
You see, you’re absolutely right, she is heavy. Actually, she was on the 98th percentile for weight. But she was also on the same percentile for length and even head circumference.
And not that you’d care, but I wanted to tell you a little bit about me as well.
I’m vegetarian and have a relatively healthy diet. I’ve never been above a size 12 in my life. In fact, I was still wearing my size 10 tracksuit bottoms until the day I gave birth to Lia.
A couple of months before I got pregnant with Lia, I did a half marathon. The following month I did a triathlon, and the month I fell pregnant with Lia, I did an aquathlon.
I played competitive water polo until I was four months pregnant with Lia, ran until I was eight months and swam until I was 9 1/2 months pregnant.
Now, I am back to running and swimming. You’d be more than welcome to join me for a run one day, I have a nice local route in which the first 5 kilometres is uphill. There’s a lovely view from the top.
So I am sorry that you and the “experts” believe that I am setting Lia up for a lifetime of obesity. I’m sorry that her healthy diet, her daily fresh air, her weekly swim and her healthy lifestyle don’t fit in with the pattern you’re going for in your article.
And I’m also sorry for all the women who, like me, have been left doubting themselves. Wondering whether they’ve done the wrong thing for their babies by being fit and healthy, eating well, exercising and providing the nutrients that their babies need to grow to be nice and big and healthy.
And for the record, I wrote about empowerment for International Women’s Day the other day. I genuinely believe that one of the things that can empower women in 2015 is a generation of strong, professional women sticking together to empower each other.
Thanks for your support Lydia, from myself and all the other “plus size” women out there with “obese” babies.