My Son’s Traumatic Birth Saved My Life
“Despite having survived what I can only describe as torture, I did want another child.”
Last week I shared the story of my son’s traumatic birth. What I neglected to mention was I weighed a whopping 170 kg when I was pregnant with him, which is why giving birth as ‘Gigantor’ was no easy feat.
Directly after our son was born, my now ex-husband stated, “I bet you don’t ever want to go through that again!” He’d witnessed my struggle to get our precious boy safely into this world, and quite rightfully feared he might be the only one we’d ever have.
In some ways he was right, but not about never having another child. Despite having survived what I can only describe as torture, I did want another child. I knew it within minutes of hearing my son’s first cry. I also knew I never wanted to relive that particular experience, or put another baby through a difficult birth without some serious overhauling.
From that moment, my life changed.
The guilt of almost losing my son in childbirth because of my weight was a turning point. I didn’t become just a mother that day; I became a woman hell-bent on being the best mother she could be. If it included making things easier for my second child to enter this world, I was absolutely determined to do everything in my power to make it happen.
A few month later I joined Weight Watchers. When I stepped on the scales they had to add not one, but two 10 kg boxes to the maximum their scales could hold, which was 150 kg. I had no idea just how enormous I’d become.
At first it was embarrassing to get on those scales every week, especially after people who were there to lose just a few kilos. After all; I was almost triple their size. Plus, I wondered how on earth I’d ever be able to reach my goal weight. It terrified me. Losing more than half of myself seemed like an impossible goal and so far reaching goals hadn’t exactly been my thing.
So I came up with a plan. At first I was desperate to get rid of one of those extra 10 kg weights. Being so big and sticking rigidly to the diet plan I knocked that first one off in a matter of weeks. Next came getting rid of those embarrassing 10 kg boxes altogether, and sure enough the second one was soon put away as well.
After that I broke my miraculous transformation down into 10 kg lots, and pretty soon I’d lost my first 30 kg. Not that anyone really noticed or said much about it. I was still 140 kg but I could feel the difference. I knew for the very first time I’d be able to do this.
During the first few months, contemplating any physical activity besides caring for my baby really wasn’t an option. He seldom slept, and to be totally honest being a new mother who was the size of two people was absolutely exhausting. Contemplating the pain exercise inevitably causes was intimidating, especially for someone of my weight.
When I first attempted to walk around the block, everything rubbed. The skin between my legs and under my breasts was red raw. The excruciating friction was too much to bear so I bypassed the exercise for a while.
As the weather got cooler and my weight continued to plummet, I began to walk. And boy did I walk. Not working was a godsend because I had all day to focus on my goal. Each morning I’d set up my son’s pusher, complete with everything we’d need for a few hours and off we’d go. Sometimes I’d return six hours later, having walked for most of the time.
Within 18 months I was feeling invisible. I looked incredible and I never felt better in my life. I was 27 years old and thought it was time to get pregnant again. Being so fit and healthy I fell pregnant within a month, and this time cruised through it.
Unfortunately giving birth was still a bit of a drama, but nothing like the first experience. Plus, my body was so used to losing weight, I somehow managed to slide back into my pre-pregnancy jeans within a week of the delivery.
It’s been almost 20 years since I gave birth to my first son. I’m sure had his birth been easy I’d probably have died from diabetes, heart disease, or something else equally nasty associated with being chronically obese. Instead I’ve had an active life with my boys and continue to love being their mother. Thanks to them I’m alive. I’ve watched them grow into amazing young men and I can’t imagine, not even for a second, what my life would have been like without them.