My journey to becoming a parent is no doubt very different to yours but the one thing we have in common is that desperate desire to get there at all costs.
This desire plagued me my whole adult life.
After suffering with irregular periods and bad acne since I was 13, I was finally diagnosed with PCOS (PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome) at 16. The doctor casually mentioned, I wouldn’t be able to have kids, put me on the pill to “regulate” my cycle and sent me on my merry way.
If you’d have asked me then how this had affected me, I would have had no clue.
Life went on as normal but looking back now I can see that young woman struggling with her confidence, grades getting worse at school, pressured to lose weight and making poor decisions about her health and wellbeing.
I did what I was supposed to do
I moved out of home, went to uni, got a job but it took a huge trauma to shake me out of this humdrum life and finally get on the right path.
It was halloween night and I was living on my own in a basement flat in a less than desirable part of London. I was fast asleep when I was woken up by some huge bangs. I assumed they were just kids playing with fireworks, but as I groggily awoke, I heard screaming, saw silhouettes running and then silence.
The normally busy road was completely still.
I can’t really remember what I did the rest of that night. Sirens soon followed but I stayed huddled up at the back of my flat. When I ventured out the following morning, my gate was cordoned off and I saw bullet holes a few inches above my window. A young man had been shot right on my doorstep.
After that night, I was afraid to go outside.
I struggled to carry on going to work and in the end went on extended sick leave. I had nightmares often. I tried anti-depressants and therapy but nothing seemed to help. It wasn’t until I was randomly walking past a therapy centre that I went in and signed up for something that they thought might help.
That was my first taste of acupuncture
After about 6 sessions, I was able to leave the house and get back to work. It only took me a couple of months to decide to train as an acupuncturist and I haven’t looked back.
During my training I started to take better care of myself, I came off the pill and my cycle started to become a little more regular. I made small tweaks and changes to how I looked at food and looked after my body.
It wasn’t a health revolution but things slowly shifted.
As I was still fat and having irregular cycles, I completely expected to struggle to get pregnant. I was ready (as much as you can be) for a battle. I’d armed myself with knowledge as more and more women were coming to see me for acupuncture as they were trying to get pregnant.
But it was easy for me to conceive both my boys.
And this is why I have dedicated my whole life to helping women who are trying to start their families. Not because it was difficult for me, but because it was easy.
If it could be easy for me, a fat woman with irregular periods, why can’t it be easy for you?
As fat people, we are told that we have to lose weight for every health concern. We are made to believe that every problem we suffer from is down to our size but it’s not that simple.
Diets have failed me my whole life so I made the decision to stop dieting and begin living.
I want to support you in doing the same.
Your body is capable of incredible things (including getting pregnant!) right now, not when you lose weight.
Nicola Salmon is a fat-positive and feminist fertility coach and the author of “Fat and Fertile”.
She advocates for change in how fat women are treated on their fertility journey.
She supports fat women who are struggling to get pregnant to find peace with their body, find their own version of health and finally escape the yo-yo dieting cycle.
Nicola has spoken on several podcasts, online summits and events. Contact her if you’d like her to speak at your event.