I was a 23-stone 'beached whale' who was too big to give birth – but after shedding 10 stone I'm finally a yummy mummy

MELISSA Rosewall knew she needed to lose weight when she realised she was too big to give birth.

At 23 stone and a size 26, she needed stirrups when having her baby because she couldn't physically lift her legs high enough to push.

Putting her baby boy Kobie in danger was the kick she needed to take action.

She quit her diet of chocolate biscuits and takeaways and switched to healthy meals.

Now a size 10, she is the healthiest she has ever been.

Here Melissa, 30, from Plymouth, Devon, shares her story:

In front of the television and covered in crumbs, I couldn’t help but let out a groan as I stretched across the sofa to reach the packet of chocolate biscuits.

It was all too easy for me to overeat when pregnant, and every night was the same. We would order a huge takeaway, and afterwards I’d gorge on snacks until late at night.

But it left me feeling consumed with self-loathing and guilt.

I always told myself that the next day would be different, that I would try to be a little healthier.

But the very next evening, tired and low on willpower, I’d find myself ordering another takeaway. It was a vicious cycle, one I felt I could never escape.

I’ve struggled with my weight ever since I was a child and I come from a family where food was our main source of love and joy.

As I got older, I became reliant on food to cheer me up when I was low and used it to celebrate when I was happy. I even had a secret stash of chocolate bars in my bedroom.

By the time I was an adult, I tipped the scales at 23 stone.

Wearing a size 26, I felt like a giant compared to all my slimmer friends and although I always made an effort with my appearance, my confidence was at rock bottom.

I styled my bleached blonde hair carefully and always had a full face of make-up, applying lashes and nails – I even wore glam Barbie pyjamas to bed.

But inside, I was crippled with self-loathing.

Despite my insecurity, I painted on a smile and was always the first to poke fun at my size. But my bubbly personality was just a mask, and I couldn’t help but feel like a beast when I was out with all my glamorous friends.

I couldn’t believe I could’ve risked my baby’s life because I was morbidly obese.

I’d tried to lose weight in the past, but something always happened to make me fall off the wagon.

I was miserable, but the one thing that cheered me up no matter what was my family.

My boyfriend Kyle, now 32, and I had been together since we were 19 years old, and our daughter Kayla, now seven, was born in April 2012.

I absolutely loved being a mum, and when we found out I was pregnant for the second time, we were over the moon at the chance to complete our family.

But during the pregnancy, I took the term ‘eating for two’ to a whole new level.

The hunger was unreal, and it seemed like there was just no stopping me.

‘I’m starving,’ I would moan to Kyle. ‘What snacks are in the fridge?’

‘You’ve just had a Chinese!’ he replied in surprise.

I would eat huge chocolate bars in one sitting. But as a result of my constant overeating, my health was starting to suffer.

The weight put pressure on my joints, and I found it hard to walk far without getting out of breath. I developed asthma and I was borderline diabetic.

I lived in baggy, shapeless things like T-shirts and leggings, and shopping for clothes would often leave me in tears.

But the turning point came when I went into labour with my son Kobie, now two, in January 2017.

Instead of feeling excited to meet my son, I felt like a huge, beached whale

He was late, so doctors decided to induce me to kickstart my labour. But instead of feeling excited to meet my son, I felt like a huge, beached whale.

As the contractions started, I sweated and gasped for breath as I writhed in pain.

‘You can do this Melissa,’ a midwife told me supportively.

But as I looked up at her, all I could think about was how she was a tiny size 10.  How could she understand my struggle?

I couldn’t bear the thought of Kyle looking at me, compared to the slim midwife.

I was so big, I couldn’t even lift my leg to push the baby out.

‘Melissa, we need you to really try now,’ the midwife said urgently. ‘Baby needs to come out. Come on now, push.’

‘I’m trying!’ I gasped. ‘I’m pushing.’

But it was no good.

As midwives hoisted my huge legs into stirrups, I was riddled with guilt. I could barely move, let alone give birth. I was so big I was putting my baby in danger

Luckily Kobie was born safe and well. But I was so ashamed during my 10-hour labour. I couldn’t believe I could’ve risked my baby’s life because I was morbidly obese.

I felt like a total blob, and I knew then I had to change. I managed to lose a bit of weight on my own after Kobie was born, but my willpower was already starting to falter.

In February 2017, I saw a poster for a Slimming World group.

That’s when it hit me like a ton of bricks. I wanted to change my ways for good. To do that I needed some help, so I decided to sign up.

I felt so nervous when I walked into my local group. But everyone was so friendly, and my consultant Sarah was really kind and supportive.

I lost 8lb in my first week by overhauling my diet. I was thrilled. It gave me the motivation to stick at it and now, after shedding 10st, I’m a size 10.

My confidence is through the roof, I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been and I’ve even taken up dancing and spinning classes.

I’m far more active with the kids, too.

Gone are the days of leggings and stretchy tops. Now I flaunt my new body in figure-hugging outfits and I feel like my life is just beginning.

Meanwhile, this mum lost seven stone after realising she was fatter than her husband.

And a woman lost nine stone… only to put it on again.

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