On this episode of Fat and Fertile, we’re going to look at why being unsupported has such a huge impact on fat folks and getting pregnant.

I’ll share the 4 ways you might be unsupported right now and some ideas to create the support you need.

Mentioned in this episode:

Free resource – Fertility Research for Fat Folks


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Hello, my love, and welcome back to Fat and Fertile, the podcast. Apologies for the very long, unintended holiday which I took from the podcast. I got so up my own ass around how I was doing the podcast, the research that was going into it, and it’s taken me a few months to realise that I don’t need to research in depth every single podcast. And it does not need to be Harvard referenced and it does not need to be this glorious, magical audio with no UMS and r’s and likes, which is how I normally talk. So I am coming at you today as the imperfect human that I am with a podcast episode that is not going to be research based. It is not going to be what I think I should be doing. Bunny ear air quotes on the should.

I’m just going to be coming at you with some really hopefully useful information that I believe will be really helpful for you, not for the experts who are trying to persuade to help you get care. They can have all the research up the wazoo. But I am speaking to you, my lovely listener, who is in a bigger body and wants to get pregnant. That is who I am here for. That is who I am speaking to with this podcast. So, hi. Hello there. Hopefully I will be able to now resume semi regular podcast episodes with the caveat that I am human.

These are I’m not scripted, I’m just bringing all my ideas, sharing all the information, tools, resources that I have in the hope that it helps you. So, hi again. So today I want to talk about the number one reason that I think that fat folks find it harder to get pregnant. And it’s not because you’re fat, spoiler alert there, it is not because of the fat cells that you have on your body. And this isn’t to say that every fat person finds it hard to get pregnant, because I did not. One of the reasons that I am in the job that I am in and I do the work that I do, is because my pregnancies were really easy. Easy in the terms of we got pregnant very quickly. And they were totally boring.

Nothing happened. I was very anxious because I was told everything bad was going to happen, but nothing happened. If you want to know more a bit about my story, it’s in the first episode where I talk a little bit about how I got to doing what I do now. But that’s to say that not all fat people find it harder to get pregnant. But the number one reason that fat people often do find it harder is not because of the fat on their body. It is because you’re on royal. Please. We are unsupported.

And what I mean by that is we are unsupported in society in so many different ways. And all of these ways can impact not only our physical health, but our mental and emotional health as well. And I’m going to talk a little bit about the specifics of what that looks like in different circumstances. And I’m hoping that maybe that you can relate to some or all of these not hoping. I don’t want you to feel unsupported. I want you to be 100% supported. But I know most folks will be able to relate to one or several of these different scenarios or places when you’re being unsupported. And that is not acceptable.

It is not acceptable that you are unsupported in growing your family in the way that you want to grow it. So let’s dive into a little more about what those things might look like. And what I mean when I say being unsupported is the number one reason why fat folks find it harder to get pregnant. So first of all, we’re going big. We’re zooming out and we’re talking about society. Now, in our western culture, society is very focused on this thin ideal, this idea that our bodies should be this thin, generally white, generally blonde, big boobs, big bums, big lips, long hair. You can imagine the aesthetic that we’re going for there. That is what we are told our body should look like.

And every piece of marketing, every thing that we are shown on social media, through the television, movies, all of it just kind of confirms that ideal, right? Like, you’re going to be happy when you look like this. You’re going to be rich when you look like this. You’ll find your perfect partner when you look like this. That is the message that we are given over and over again from really, really young. I don’t know the statistics, but I am sure I’ve read something relatively recently that says that children from a really young age can pick out that they prefer characters who are in smaller bodies because so often, even within our children’s books and children’s films and all of that. Like, fat people are depicted as unworthy in some way, whether that’s greedy or lazy or evil. There are so many ways that we are demonised by culture starting from a super early age. And of course, that then feeds into our ideas around fat people and our ideas around what fat people deserve and what we’re going to allow fat people to do within our society.

And then that again feeds into this idea that we shouldn’t be supported in growing our families. And in reality that looks like public campaigns around making people want to lose weight. So recently in the UK, relatively recently there was Cancer Research UK talking about fatness being the leading cause of one of the leading causes of cancer. There’s so many ways in which we are demonised not only by our characters but by our health. And that kind of feeds into everybody’s beliefs around fat people in our society to believe that we aren’t worthy of growing our families and getting pregnant and all of that then philtres down within to our health care system. So the excessive second example I have is that when we go and see the doctor, whether that’s our GP, whether that is another healthcare professional on our team, our primary care physician, our Obgym, often doctors will refuse to support us with tests that we might need to explore our fertility. So that might be that they won’t offer us hormone testing or they won’t look at root causes of irregular cycles or heavy or painful periods. We just don’t get the support that we need to explore what might be going on.

And that doesn’t just impact our fertility, but that impacts our health as well. People who are having irregular periods, heavy and painful periods, those things need to be explored. We should not have to put up with those things impacting our life and they can impact our lives in a huge way. We shouldn’t have to put up with that. It is just as much about our health and our well being as about our fertility to have these things explored and for there to be a way of fixing what’s going on or supporting you with medication to reduce pain, reduce bleeding, we need that support. And often when we go and access and try and get those tests from a doctor, we’ll be turned away and said you need to go away and lose weight before I can offer you this test. And that is not acceptable. It is not okay that we are refused health care based on the BMI.

And that goes for the clinics as well, right? Like if you want to access treatment, if you go to a fertility clinic, again, often there will be this BMI barrier and it is completely arbitrary. This number is literally picked out of thin air. There’s no research that says when you hit this magic BMI of 30 or 40 or 50 that anything different is going to happen. We have some research that explores the efficacy and safety at different BMI levels. Again, completely picked arbitrarily, but that in itself is quite mixed. It’s not black and white and I did an episode earlier about IVF and IUI and fertility treatment. So definitely listen to that if you are navigating fertility treatment. But again, we are personally blamed and said it’s not my fault, I can support you, it’s your fault, you need to go away and lose weight.

And again, that is not acceptable. It is not acceptable that we are not supported by fertility clinics in accessing fertility care and well being and finally our friends and our family. Now, these are the people who are our support network, who are around us, who we seek that care and support from. And this one can be the most heartbreaking of all when you feel unsupported within that group of people because it’s totally understandable that they have their own antifat bias. We all have anti fat bias to some degree. We can’t not have that in the culture and society we live in where we are brainwashed to believe that fat people are bad. Like it is just inevitable that everyone will hold some degree of anti fat bias. But when it stops you from talking to your friends and your family about what’s going on for you right now, that can be really hard.

These are the people we need. Social relationships as human beings, it really helps us regulate our stress cycles, our nervous system, our hormones. As folks who identify as women, we get oxytocin from our relationships with other people within our lives, from our family, from our friends. We benefit so much from having those relationships where we can talk about what’s going on for us. We can share the things that we are worried about or that we’re afraid of or excited about. Having those relationships can have a really positive impact on your mental and physiological health. So if the people around you feel unsafe to talk to about this stuff, if you are so worried about feeling judged or feeling shamed because you want to grow your family based on the conditioning that people have been through, that is hard. And it’s so difficult to navigate because of course you want to share this with the people closest to you.

But if that feels unsafe to do so, then often that can lead to feelings of isolation, feelings of being alone and of not having anybody around you that understands what you’re going through and that is hard. So that’s really why creating community. Want more information on this topic alongside a complete powerful then I recommend calling IVF and IUI. There are so many other folks who are now share the link in the show notes trying to access care, trying to get respectful care, figuring out how to support your fertility and your health and well being without having to lose weight without having to go on diets and really rebuilding that relationship with your body and its capacity to get pregnant in a way that you’re not afraid of being shamed or judged and in a way where you can feel really seen. And I just want to acknowledge that you absolutely deserve all of the support that you need in order to grow your family. No matter what you need, no matter what that looks like. You absolutely deserve to have all of those needs met. And there is no caveat on that statement.

I know you might be thinking, well, that’s all well and good for someone who’s a smaller fat than me, but what about me? I’m in a bigger body. There is no weight limit to this deserving. There is no body number that you can tell me where I’ll change my mind about that. You absolutely deserve to be able to grow your family and you absolutely deserve support from your doctor, from the clinic, from your friends and family, and from our society as a whole. And I know it can feel really challenging when that support isn’t available. So I encourage you to seek it where you can. Maybe you can find a doctor in your area that will support you in accessing those tests. I have a whole list on my website of clinics that other folks have recommended to me where they’ve received acceptable care as a fat person.

And of course that varies depending on the size of their body and depending on their geographical area and the doctor’s mood that day. But it should give you a starting point to be able to find a clinic that will support you in a way that you deserve. And I do my best to create community so that you can find other people who are also navigating this, people you can talk to, people you can share these experiences with, and there’s so many ways that you can do that. So you can find folks here on Instagram that are following me and find their journeys that they’re sharing on Instagram. There’s a really amazing Facebook group called Fat Fertility. So if you Google that, search for it on Facebook, it is a really awesome free community run by some incredible people who are really creating a wonderful community for fat folks who are navigating getting pregnant. And finally, I would love to share with you and invite you to learn more about a twelve month programme that will be launching in May, may 2023. If you’re listening to this later, it will absolutely be open long term.

This is something that I want folks to be able to find and join when the time is right for them, for you. And I’ve made it as low a cost as possible while still being able to create a relatively small container for folks to be able to access care and support. So it is a community programme with all of the tools and resources that I’ve designed based on my unique fat positive framework, which is specifically designed for fat folks who want to get pregnant. And it is going to be phenomenal. So you join for twelve months, you have all of the resources and tools that you’ll need to navigate that that you can use, you can follow, you can look at when you need them in your unique journey. You will have a community of incredible folks who are also actively navigating this and actively want to find other folks within community. And you will have a couple of opportunities every month to ask me questions whether that’s live or whether you want to submit them anonymously. You will have so much opportunity to be able to ask all the things that you need to ask in a really nurturing and supportive way so that you can feel totally empowered and able to do whatever you need to do in order to access the support you need.

Find the tools and the research that are going to help you influence the care that you need. Figure out what’s going to work for your health and your well being that doesn’t involve dieting and weight loss and really rebuild a relationship with your body where you trust it so much to be able to get pregnant and maintain that pregnancy so that you can bring your baby home. I would love to invite you to come and join the waitlist if that’s something that feels really helpful or could be useful for you in the near future. I will pop the link in the Show Notes so you can come explore that or just send me a message I am Fat Positive Fertility on Instagram. You can just send me a little message in there and I can share all the details. I would absolutely love to see you there. I hope this episode has been really helpful in really exploring why fat people don’t always get pregnant as quickly as other folks might. And it’s absolutely nothing to do with you.

It is absolutely not your fault and it’s not your responsibility to fix, but the more support that we can bring into your life that you absolutely deserve, the better. I hope this is helpful and I look forward to seeing you soon. Take care.