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An open letter to Lydia Willgress

Dear Lydia, 

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.  

2015-03-01 10.06.54

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. 

2015-03-08 17.06.52

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. 




  1. March 12, 2015 / 12:10 am

    Bloody marvellous, well done and thank you x

    • March 12, 2015 / 12:18 am

      Aw thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed it.x

  2. March 12, 2015 / 7:02 am

    Fantastic, although I now feel extremely lazy in comparison haha

    • March 12, 2015 / 7:09 am

      Thank you. And you’re not lazy, we all enjoy different things when it comes to exercise, I’ve seen you post about going walking on days when I’ve been much too lazy to go anywhere 😉

  3. March 12, 2015 / 7:17 am

    Fantastic post. It still amazes me that a baby can be labelled obese!
    I envy you and all your exercise. I don’t know how you find the time!

    • March 12, 2015 / 7:21 am

      Thank you Sam. I’ve only recently managed to start fitting in the exercise again, I feel so much better for it.x

  4. March 12, 2015 / 7:56 am

    Don’t we all want those little rolls of fat on a baby’s legs, a little round tummy, chubby cheeks? How can a baby be obese? Not read the Daily Mail article and don’t plan to. Hateful rag.
    You sound amazingly healthy and now I feel shockingly lazy 🙂 Off to eat salad!
    Great article.

    • March 12, 2015 / 2:07 pm

      Thank you Helena, I don’t read the newspaper either, but one of my friends brought this to attention and I felt compelled to wade in and give my opinion 😉

  5. Joe Norris
    March 12, 2015 / 7:58 am

    Lovely article from a mami to an obvious extremely obese baby who even though I suffered from hg and lost 3 stone still managed to be born at 10lb 4oz. And who at 14 months old would rather have boob then food. But is currently the weight and height of the average 2.5yr old.

    • March 12, 2015 / 2:06 pm

      Thank you Joe. Your Harri is just the cutest little chubby baby ever, I love seeing your photos of him. And he was clearly meant to be that size, you suffered so badly during pregnancy and still managed to give him plenty of nutrients to be a big, healthy boy. You’re a supermum 🙂

  6. March 12, 2015 / 8:19 am

    I love big chubby healthy babies, my 2 were big despite neither getting to my due date, they are still big but not fat, running around has turned that chubbiness to muscle. Well done for writing this it needed to be said and great you are being a healthy role model to your daughter so she grows up not being afraid to eat and see’s the benefits of exercise and keeping active x x x

    • March 12, 2015 / 2:05 pm

      Thank you Sadie. I also love chubby babies, they’re wonderful and I look forward to seeing her growing up into a little girl but I will miss this gorgeous chubby phase!x

  7. March 12, 2015 / 8:26 am

    Blooming brilliant post. Well said. There is way too many people out there judging and bashing each other without thought. Hopefully she learns from this. Would be interesting to see her response!

    • March 12, 2015 / 2:04 pm

      Thank you Jules. I should imagine she is far too busy and important to respond to a fat mum with an obese baby and a blog that nobody reads 😉

  8. March 12, 2015 / 8:52 am

    Interesting read, and I am another who does not read the papers.
    I think a lot of it is in your genes. I have 5 kids, 4 like my parents are stick thin, eat a lot of the wrong things and smoke, and do little to no exercise. The 5th is like me “obese” despite the face we eat healthier, live healthier life styles, neither of us smoke, we do gym and swimming and walking and cycling and both do active jobs. I can do upwards of 16.000 steps a day at work with an hour of that hoovering, more time mopping, moving beds and lockers, pushing trolleys etc.
    My cholesterol levels are good, my sugar levels are excellent, and I will happily walk 5 miles, cycle 10, which includes hills as well round here. swim 35 lengths of the pool etc . Good grief at what you manage to fit in, impressive, well done, but then if that is your time it is a great use, I think to many of us spend to long on social media.
    They are beginning to realise unhealthy is not all about BMI.
    I have been watching a programme called WPC 56 this last few weeks, and it is full of women who are probably a nice healthy size 14/16 as was the norm back then, as you say nowadays you are made to feel big at a size 12.

    • March 12, 2015 / 2:03 pm

      Thank you Elaine. You sound incredibly active, that’s brilliant. That programme sounds really interesting too and I quite agree that it is a really strange societal norm these days that size 12 has become too big.

  9. Working mum Blog
    March 12, 2015 / 9:26 am

    Well said! Really enjoyed reading this. X

  10. Carla
    March 12, 2015 / 9:54 am

    Awesome. I too am a size12 and 3 kids later feel like I’m letting society down by not being stick thin. I am healthy and so are my kids. We are all sporty-I even do an adults gymnastic class once a week..yes, at almost 40 I do somersaults and hand springs! Your letter was refreshingly motivating and affirming. Thank you! from one size 12 to another..keep it up!

    • March 12, 2015 / 2:01 pm

      Thank you Carla. Wow, I would love to do an adult gymnastics class, you must be super fit and flexible, that’s fabulous!

  11. March 12, 2015 / 10:02 am

    Well said!!!! I’m lazy by nature and I have to force myself to exercise a few times a week (when not under doctors advise not to) and my little one is probably the opposite, on the lighter slimmer end of normal, hes 2.5 And I can still put him in some of his 6-9mth shorts…. but he’s healthy, he eats healthy and he’s happy. I wish people would stop making blanket comments about babies and actually start educating those who need it on food nutrition. Example; I read an article about a lady with triplets who was obsese, had no intention of dieting or giving up her disability allowanc, ate a daily amount of crap and the sentence that stays with me is that I feed the 9 month old triplets fish and chips but it’s healthy because I take some of the batter off….. on top of McDonalds makes them happy……..

    • March 12, 2015 / 2:00 pm

      Definitely Laura, there is a huge difference between someone who is feeding children like that and babies who are just a nice healthy size. And The blanket comments are exactly the problem aren’t they? I hate people making derogatory, sweeping generalisations.

  12. March 12, 2015 / 10:52 am

    Well, you told her! Actually, I’ve given up listening to most people. I just try to be the best Mum I can, like most Mum’s do!

    • March 12, 2015 / 1:59 pm

      Thank you Mel, I totally agree, we’re all just trying to do our best for our children aren’t we?

  13. March 12, 2015 / 1:00 pm

    FFS – size 12 is normal and so are chubby, healthy babies. My two had rolls of fat on the rolls of fat on their legs and are now so skinny. Younger son plays rugby and older son competes at regional level athletics. When my Mum was a baby she was huge and guess what sort of an adult she became? Yup, SKINNY!

    I read somewhere that fat babies often have what is called Brown Adipose Fat which they use for creating warmth. As they grow and, assuming they lead a normal healthy lifestyle, they will shed the fat and invariably become skinny adults.

    The difference, as far as I can see, is where fat babies become fat through eating the “wrong” things all the time and not getting enough physical activity.

    Looking forward to seeing pictures of your lovely daughter as she grows into what I am sure will be a beautiful and well proportioned, athletic young lady.

    • March 12, 2015 / 1:58 pm

      Thank you Rosie. That’s interesting about the brown adipose fat, Lia definitely stays warm longer than Libby when we go swimming and things like that. And I love chubby babies, I think they’re cute, but not necessarily unhealthy in my humble opinion 😉

  14. March 12, 2015 / 1:52 pm

    Brilliant – as a new Mum I was told to stop feeding my 8 week old baby and replace some of her feeds with water as she was SO heavy – she was 9lb 6oz when born and followed the 97th percentile perfectly for everything. And we wonder why people become obsessed with their weight?

    • March 12, 2015 / 1:57 pm

      Oh my goodness Andrea that is such poor advice, you’re absolutely right, you can totally see why we all have issues with our weight.x

  15. Natalie / UEM
    March 12, 2015 / 2:09 pm

    Funny, my LO is quite small and everyone seemed to think he needed fattening up. I don’t understand why people can’t just accept that babies, like adults, can be different shapes and sizes and there is no ‘one size fits all’. If we were all the same, the world would be a very boring place!

    • March 12, 2015 / 2:11 pm

      I totally agree Natalie, in babies as in life in general, why can’t we all just be allowed to be ourselves and be happy with who we are?

  16. March 12, 2015 / 4:59 pm

    Oh my god, you’re a big fat chubbalub and you’re raising two chubs as well!
    Cripes, I’m a size 14-16 so that woman probably utterly detests me right about now! My daughter was prem and tracked along the lower percentiles, so I guess that’s ideal for this mad woman. What a load of old bollocks!

    Also – how the chuffing hell did you manage to do all that exercise in your first few months of pregnancy?! It was all I could do to get out of bed and into work! Then again, I was a chubbalub even then!

    Fantastic post! I hope the silly bag reads it!

    • March 12, 2015 / 5:07 pm

      Haha your comment made me giggle, thank you, I’m so glad you enjoyed the post about me and my little fatty 😉

  17. March 12, 2015 / 6:25 pm

    Great post, people like her really annoy me. My son was wait for it….10lb 13oz when he was born so obviously morbidly obese!! He has always been on the 98th percentile and is a very healthy little boy, we’ve never had any negative comments from health visitors or Doctors. But I’ve had a few comments from strangers, and even friends who have said how big he is…er no he’s not!
    She’d hate me, I’m a fatty but that’s because I like cake too much 😉

    • March 12, 2015 / 6:29 pm

      Thank you Elaine. And well done for producing such a lovely, big, healthy boy! I love cake too, nobody can criticise us for that surely?? 😉

  18. Hannah
    March 12, 2015 / 7:46 pm

    If I’m anywhere near a size 12 after having two kids I will be over the moon! Well said Nat, people need to focus more on health than weight and BMI, and considering both of your kids could probably out walk, run, swim and dance me, I think you’re doing alright! (I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Lia yet, but Libby is a gorgeous little angel) don’t change anything, you could not give your kids a better start than you have. Lots of love and hugs XxX

    • March 12, 2015 / 7:48 pm

      Aw thank you so much Hannah. I hope you had a fabulous time with your folks, you’ll be pleased to know we made sure your bro got a good meal while his personal chef was away! We all have our fingers crossed that we will be seeing you next year!xx

  19. March 12, 2015 / 8:14 pm


    That’s the kind of crap I’d expect from a mysogynistic pig of a man, not a woman.

    Clearly the Daily Heil have sh*t out another perfectly honed, brainwashed Aryan reporter.

    • March 12, 2015 / 8:20 pm

      Thank you. I have to admit I was a little bit surprised that it was written by a woman. I’ll be stunned if she has got children herself.

  20. March 14, 2015 / 11:39 pm

    My son, my second child, was born a very small 6lb 4oz -even newborn clothes were to big for him. Within a month or two he looked like Winston Churchill -many chins and very chubby. My very sensible health visitor told me that as he was solely breast fed I couldn’t possibly be over feeding him, so not to worry and to keep up the good work. 13 years on he is now very skinny but the tallest of everyone in the family. Is he healthier now than he was then? No, I don’t think so. He’s just the shape he’s meant to be at this stage in his life. He eats a health diet most of the time -and that’s what’s important. You enjoy your little chubber -they don’t stay that way for long!

    • March 14, 2015 / 11:54 pm

      Thank you Lucy. I completely agree, it really upsets me that people end up doubting themselves and possibly even under feeding their babies as a result of a news article that fails to take into account the fact that babies might just be naturally large, just the same as the rest of us. It sounds like your son has always been exactly as he should be.x

  21. Mama
    March 15, 2015 / 10:46 am

    Hear hear! You tell ’em. (Fellow ‘overeater’ who pushed an ‘obese’ baby out of her vay-jay-jay)

    • March 15, 2015 / 11:09 am

      Aw thank you, always good to know I’m not the only one 😉

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