29-year-old Monica Riley harbored dreams that were slightly different from the rest. She didn’t want fancy cars, or watches, or jewelry or any kind of excessive riches; instead, she wanted to achieve her ambition of becoming the world’s fattest woman, putting on so much weight that she would be practically immobile, as reported by The Sun. She was well on her way too, consuming over 10,000 calories day – including 3,5000 calorie milkshakes which she’d be funnel fed by her husband, Sid – but had to change her plans when she fell pregnant with her daughter.
Hailing from Fort Worth, Texas, Riley had all but given up on her dreams of becoming a mother. She is one of the millions of women worldwide who suffer from a condition known as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal disorder which results in menstrual irregularity, weight gain, and infertility, which cannot be cured. The condition had led Riley to have two miscarriages and she had never thought in her wildest dreams that she would fall pregnant once again.
However, it seems that fate had different plans and in March 2017, she was given the news that she was with child, prompting her to ditch her dreams and take on a more healthy diet so her daughter would survive the pregnancy. She was 700lbs when she was given the news, but would drop to 520lbs over the course of the next nine months with gentle exercise and healthy eating to prevent yet another miscarriage.
She spoke about why she wanted to become immobile: “Looking back, I think the reason I did want to get fatter was I guess I felt like I was missing something in my life and I guess that was one of the ways to kind of fill that void. But then I realized I want to have a family. That’s what I want to do with my life.”
Speaking of her unexpected pregnancy and the sudden change in lifestyle that followed, she said: “When I first heard I was pregnant, I was shocked. Seeing a positive test was not that big a deal as it’d happened a couple of times before, and I’d always miscarried. But when I went to get a sonogram for the first time and I got to see her on the screen, it was magical.”
“After the miscarriages though, I was scared that something would go wrong and she wouldn’t make it. I was terrified to be fully happy and accept the fact that I was pregnant and had a baby in me and she was still growing.”
She would lose another 56lbs in the process of welcoming her daughter, Michelle, into the world, but as she attests, doing so was not easy by any means. She said: “The jumpstart to losing weight was falling pregnant. I knew I wanted to have a family with Sid and I knew I had to take drastic steps in order for that to happen.”
“I had ligament pain in my pelvis and developed pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes, but those are pretty common, regardless of your size. But I was having to take triple the amount of blood pressure medication, and it still wasn’t going down.”
“I said to Sid ‘I think we should go to the hospital because something is not right.’ I was terrified to tell him because I knew that if we went to the hospital I was going to end up having the baby, I just knew it. My entire body was retaining so much water that I started swelling up, so they decided to do an emergency C-section.”
Her daughter would be born prematurely through a C-section at 33 weeks and weighing 4lbs 9oz. While relatively healthy, she initially had difficulty breathing and had four holes in her heart. But those problems would soon sort themselves out. Michelle began breathing on her own two hours after birth and three of the holes healed up; the last one remains but is the size of a pinhead. After six weeks under observation, she was allowed to go home.
But Riley’s size meant that she was still not in the clear. Explaining the obstacles she had to overcome, she said: “Because she was so premature, my body just wasn’t ready for it. I got gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia and my body wasn’t producing enough milk, so they put her on a special formula. I did feel disappointed, because everyone says ‘breast is best, breast is best’ but it wasn’t anybody’s fault.”
While she did harbor dreams of becoming the world’s fattest woman, she wants her daughter to eat healthily and stay away from the junk. She said, “We will definitely not be funnel-feeding her, that’s for sure! When she’s eating solid food, we are only going to give her healthy things.”
She plans on losing more weight in the future and aims to weigh below 300lbs. She says she has no regrets about her past choices: “When I look back at eating junk food every day, I don’t regret it at all, it tastes amazing! But I know what it did to me, and I’m not about that lifestyle anymore.”
“The thought of being immobile just doesn’t appeal anymore, now that I’ve got a gorgeous little baby, I want to be able to keep up with her. I want Sid and me to be able to walk around the park with her, go to the mall together, go shopping and take her to the playground.”
She says she has recently gotten a referral for gastric bypass surgery as well: “I’m just waiting to get an appointment. I want to get down to at least 300lbs, but 250lbs would be even better. I’m hoping I can get the surgery this year, so hopefully, by this time next year, I’ll be at least 200lbs lighter.”
The weight loss has meant that she has lost quite a few friends in the SSBBW (Super-Sized Big Beautiful Woman) community. She said: “When I started to lose weight I did lose a lot of so-called friends in the fat community. Their ultimate goal was to see me immobile and now they couldn’t fulfill their fantasy anymore,” but added: “I can’t believe I’m finally a mum. Ditching funnel feeds for bottle feeds is the best thing I’ve ever done.”