In this episode of Fat and Fertile, we explore how finding a supportive community can have a positive impact on mental and physical health, especially for folks in bigger bodies who want to get pregnant.
I chat about the challenges of finding supportive communities, strategies for finding the right community, and some really great communities that already exist.
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Hey folks, and welcome back to Fat and Fertile the podcast. I hope you’re doing all right. Apologies for the slight stop and start as we get into a groove with podcast, hopefully you’ll see a bit of an upgrade in the quality. Today I have invested in a podcast mic and some better editing software. So I’m really hopeful that buying a new mic is going to give me the incentive to make this a little bit more of a regular occurrence. So I am going a little bit off peace today and thinking about different things that I would love to share with you through this podcast. And so today we’re going to be talking about finding a supportive fat fertility community is such a big piece of the work that I do and I find it so important for folks who are going through this.
Once you find a community where you feel safe, where you feel listened to, it can make a really big difference, both in terms of helping you feel better as you navigate this, but also in a really physiological way as well. Because what happens is when you find a community where you feel heard and you feel understood, then you are able to just reduce some of that stress that can go along with navigating getting pregnant. And being able to do that means your body can take a little bit more of a rest, do the things that it needs to do in an easier way without so much of the constant worrying. And yeah, just being able to share this journey can feel really helpful in so many different ways. So today we’re going to have a little look at maybe some of the challenges that you might come across finding a supportive community, especially as a fat person. We’re going to look also at things that might hold you back from joining in that community once you found one. And then we’re going to look at some strategies so how you can find a community for you that are going to work really well for you, and also some of the benefits of having that community. If you have a wonderful community that you are already a part of that you would love to share with other listeners, then please do come over to my instagram at Fat Positive Fertility and send me your ideas, your suggestions.
I would love, love to know where you found some really helpful fat positive community. So let’s dive in. As a fat person, I am sure you understand it can be challenging to find a community that is supportive when you want to get pregnant. Many, many of the fertility resources out there are geared towards people who fit into a particular bracket and that is normally people who are in straight sized bodies. So people who don’t experience difficulties accessing care when they want to get pregnant, they don’t come up against BMI barriers, their weight isn’t mentioned as appointments and it can be really discouraging when people don’t understand what you’ve been through, when you share your experience or you don’t even feel comfortable to share that experience. So you might have a fear of being judged whether that is because you’re worried about what people are going to say when you tell them that you’re in a bigger body and you want to get pregnant. Like I’m sure you’ve had comments from friends and family or your doctor already to say that, saying judgmental things, saying things that make you feel great about yourself. And also these places can be filled with talk about dieting, talking about weight loss.
They can be quite activating places for people who have experienced dieting in the past and don’t want to go down that path anymore. So it can be really challenging to find a place where that normalised diet talk that we see within our culture all the time isn’t present, and that you feel safe to be able to talk about your lived experiences and to be able to share what’s going on for you. Also, when you’re in a space where there aren’t other people who’ve experienced what you’ve experienced, it can be really difficult to find strategies for the things that you’re going through if nobody else has experienced what you have. It can be really disheartening to comment or to share something in a community. I needed to get nothing back or just to get responses of people saying, oh, I hear you, I understand that must be hard, but nobody being able to give you some of their own lived experience of what worked for them. So it can be really challenging to find a community that’s going to work for you. And also it might be really challenging for you to allow yourself to participate in that community. Because often we feel like we are the only one navigating this.
We are the only person who’s in a bigger body who really wants to get pregnant and it isn’t happening as quickly as we’d like because of this fear of judgement and this shame that has been put upon us by society. We don’t talk about it in the same way. We don’t share those experiences we have because we don’t want other people commenting and we don’t want other people we don’t want that judgement from others, so we don’t talk about it. And then therefore, it totally makes sense that you feel like you’re the only one navigating this, because it feels so private. It feels like we have to keep it a cigarette, a secret, because we are worried about what others are going to say. If we don’t meet other people who are going through this, who are sharing their experiences, then we assume that everybody else is going to judge us. We assume that there aren’t other people out there who are going to be able to support us in the right way because it feels like everybody is judging us. And because of this, because we don’t talk about it, we don’t meet other people going through it, because there is so much information out there that just talks about weight loss and dieting.
We don’t even know what that community or that support could look like because it feels like some kind of unicorn, like we’re never there’s nothing out there that can help us. So I’ve got some good news. There are some incredible, incredible support communities and resources out there, which I’m absolutely going to share with you. So let’s get on to some of those strategies. How to find a supportive community. So here are some of my favourite ways to find other people who might be navigating this. The first is obviously online. Looking at forums and other social media groups, I’ve got a couple of favourites that I really love and that I often direct people to.
There’s a great Facebook group that is run by some incredible volunteers called Fat Fertility. And of course, I will share the links in the show notes. So if you want to come and cheque out these specific ones that I mentioned, definitely come and look for those links in the show notes. So it’s called fat fertility. It’s a really amazing Facebook group, completely free of diet culture, completely free of that shaming and judgement talk, and it’s specifically for fat folks, so you know that you’re going to find other people who’ve experienced what you’ve experienced, who’ve had a similar experience of you and find community within that. There is also a really great subreddit infertility, I think it’s called on Reddit, who have some incredible guidelines around being weight neutral, not talking about diets, not talking about weight loss. I don’t spend a lot of time on Reddit myself, but it looks like a phenomenal community. So, again, I’ll share the link to that in the show notes.
It’s also really interesting to go through some of the Instagram hashtags and although it isn’t like, technically a community, it can be really useful to see other folks of what they’re posting to comment on each other’s journeys and experiences. So a few hashtags that you might want to cheque out that are going to be a bit more fat positive and not talk about diet or weight loss could be fat positive fertility. It could be fat and fertile, which is obviously the name of this podcast and the name of my book. A few people use those hashtags. You could also cheque out a few bigger ones, but that might contain some diet and weight loss talk and they are plus size TTC or plus size fertility. So just a few ideas there of where you might find that community on Instagram. And also, there are so many other fat communities out there. There could be some local fat communities depending on where you live.
There could be fat communities based around other fat podcasts that you listen to, or magazines anywhere where you find awesome fat folks doing things, there is normally incredible community around it. So have a think about where you find other fat folks in your life and think about whether that could be a good space to ask for recommendations or to find other people who are navigating. This community is also a huge part of my work. So I have a free community space for folks who’ve done any of my workshops and courses or worked with me in any way. And it’s also a massive part of my twelve month programme which is called Supported. And again, I’ll pop the links in the show notes if you want to cheque those out. It’s also worth looking at any local support groups or meetups that could be useful. And finally, if you have the benefit of working with a healthcare provider who is fat, positive or size friendly, they may also have some recommendations of other people in the area who are either doing this work or who they work with, who are looking for ways of connecting with other folks.
So it’s definitely worth asking any healthcare providers that you have already that are supportive in that way. And then finally we’re going to look at the benefits of having that supportive community. So I’ve touched on these already, but they are so important and it can really make a huge difference both to your mental and your physical health. So a couple of the benefits are feeling validated and understood. Now this is a huge one, especially when there is no one in your life maybe that understands what you’re going through. There’s nobody else that is also in a bigger body and navigating fertility. If you have no one else who gets it that you can talk to in your life, then there is so much benefit to being able to share that lived experience with someone else and for them to then say yes, me too, that happened to me. And for you to really know that they have understood that feeling or that thought that you’ve experienced and have really got it and have really sharing that kind of experience together is a really powerful thing.
It also means that you can get access to resources and information. So people who’ve lived through this, people who’ve also experienced some of the similar things that you’ve gone through, whether that is finding someone who’s had a great experience with a doctor in your local area or read a good book that’s not been activating and talked about weight loss or dieting or maybe they’ve done a workshop or found this resource or this guidance or advice. Like having people who’ve lived what you’re going through and have walked that same path. Those are the folks that are able to provide advice, resources, guidance, all of the things that could be helpful for you. There’s also such an importance of that emotional support during the ups and downs of this journey. It can be incredible highs, but also incredible lows. And just knowing that you have a safe space to land and be able to talk about anything and everything that you’re going through is hugely valuable. And knowing that there is someone else on the other side of the world or the other side of the computer or your phone that is really listening and really understands what you’re going through is super powerful.
And finally, it’s just that opportunity to connect with others who have had a similar experience to you, who know what you’re going through, who’ve lived it, and just knowing that you are not alone, that honestly is such a powerful, powerful thing. And I’ve mentioned as well that not only are these like mental health benefits, but they are physical, physical benefits from this as well. So we know that our bodies, when we are experiencing difficult times, then it can make our body feel stressed. We can live in this kind of chronic stressed state. But when we find a community, when we’re able to share these experiences, to talk about them, to really feel heard and understood, we can see that that has a very real impact on those stress levels, and it can actually bring us out of that stressed state and allow our body return to a more calm, more relaxed state. Even if the external stresses are still going on, being able to talk about that, processing what’s going on, feeling safe, feeling supported, can give our body that time to get out of that chronic stress state. And it means that we can focus our energy resources on keeping our body well, making sure we process our food so we get all the energy that we need from it. And yeah, just feeling better through the process.
So brief Summary we’ve touched on the challenges that could come up when you’re trying to find a supportive community, especially as a fat person who ends navigating fertility. We’ve looked at some things that might be holding you back from joining in that community and participating in that community and also strategies for finding it and the benefits of having it. So I hope that’s been really, really helpful. Like I said earlier, I’m going to pop a few of those links that I mentioned in the show notes. I would love, love to hear your suggestions of where you find supportive community through this and I will happily, happily share those in my stories over on Instagram. So please, please share what you have found has worked for you. I would love to hear that and I’d love just to hear from you. If you are enjoying this podcast, if you’re finding it helpful, please get in touch with me.
You can send me a message on Instagram or on Facebook. My handle is @fatpositivefertility. I would love to know how you get on, what you would love to hear on the podcast. And also, yeah, what the benefits you find from finding a supportive community. All right, my loves. Take care and I’ll see you next time.