Supporting Fat Birth

Well, this is exciting! Usual human gestation is 9 months, give or take. But this particular baby has been growing and taking shape for over two years now! At least, it’s two years since I was approached to be involved in Supporting Fat Birth. It turns out book babies take significantly longer than human babies to be brought into being!

Photo collage of the contents of the Fat Birth Book Launch pack, including signed book, button badge, bookmark, postcard and stickers.
Supporting Fat Birth Launch Pack – use code BigBirthas24 at checkout to get an author signed copy with 20% off!

I can’t think of anyone better to take a deep dive into the murky waters of fatphobia, stigma, and evidence based research than AJ Silver. And I can’t wait to read the rest of the book, which includes interviews with Nicola Salmon, Vanisha Virgo, and Caprice Fox, as well as yours truly! If their conversations were as fun as ours, a LOT of swearing may have been edited out…

But rather than me talk about it… Who better to talk to you about Supporting Fat Birth than the author – AJ Silver.

How my gallbladder convinced me to write a book.

I remember the look on her face when I said I wanted a water birth. The shape of her face and how it changed with her posture and tone. Her stifled chuckle and gaged disgust.

“No, Mrs Silver, we would have to have a winch to lift you, and we can’t take that risk”.

That was the end of my desire for a waterbirth. Until I had my second child that is. That time I had plumped to have a water birth at home, where it was only up to me whether I got in the pool or not.

AJ is looking fierce in a black one-piece swimsuit in an indoor swimming pool, topped by a great glass roof and surrounded by palm trees and a small waterfall. Their tattooed arms are raised in a strong, defiant pose, with short blonde, punky hair and a face that says "bring it on!".
AJ Silver looking defiant (not in the birth pool)

After my first I had viewed birth as something that happened to me, rather than something I achieved. I set about changing that narrative with my second child. And although, older, fatter and even more stubborn than before, I roared her earthside in my living room with my Husband, Doula and one midwife on the other side of the room. Not touching me. Bliss.

I had used my lived experience to inform my area of expertise when I trained to become a Doula. Often supporting second + time parents who wanted, needed, and deserved something different the next time round. This usually (not exclusively) included being told that they were too fat to give birth at home, or without an epidural fitted ‘just in case’, or in the birthing suite, or in the pool and on and on it goes. I plodded along sharing my lived and professional experience with anyone that would listen and those who I recognised as my first baby self.  Until 2020 that is.

Like most people this was a transformational time for me. My father passed away, I had two young disabled kids to parent, I was barely a year sober and recovering from abuse and addiction when this blinding, disabling pain would come and sweep me from my feet.

Not to spoil the book too much but my experience in seeking diagnosis, treatment, and surgery for something as common and frankly, fucking boring as gallstones dragged up a lot.

Every time I had been told that my body was weak, or not as strong as others because it was bigger.

Unknown to me at the time, throwing up and wishing for breezy labour pains again rather than the pain of a gallbladder flare up. Experiencing Fatphobia again, as an older, wiser, more informed, less shit taking, fatter and gobbier person set Supporting Fat Birth in motion.

I won’t go as far as to say that I am grateful for the experience (not least as when you compare it to my older sister, it took 2 years longer to treat) but I am extremely grateful that I was afforded a platform to  speak about my experiences and to share this journey with absolute powerhouses in their fields like Amber Marshall, Vanisha Virgo, Nicola Salmon, Caprice Fox and more…

Supporting Fat Birth is Published on Thursday 21st March by JKP.

You can order you limited edition launch pack direct from AJ Silver here:

Big Birthas readers get an exclusive 20% discount. Use code BigBirthas24 at the checkout.

Thanks AJ!

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