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Dear Rosanna: 'I'm worried my pregnant partner is putting on too much weight...'


Rosanna Davison

Rosanna Davison

Rosanna Davison

A pregnant partner who is putting on a lot of weight, a friend whose support seems to wane and a clingy younger sister

My girlfriend of five years is pregnant and we're over the moon as having a family has long been part of our plan. However, I am starting to get worried about her eating. I know the women of Ireland will be shouting at the paper as they read this, but she has gone from someone who was an 'everything in moderation' type person and keeping nice and fit to stuffing her face with absolute junk and never even walking anywhere.

Nothing I have read on the matter advises that this is good for pregnant women and I think I should say something to her because I know she cares about her health and her figure. And I do too, and yes, I do not want her to get seriously overweight. I like her just as she has always been and I envisaged a normal pregnancy with normal body changes but not someone who takes pregnancy as a green light to lose any sense of self control.

I want to be clear that my primary concerns are not aesthetic in nature but, yes of course, I do not want my partner to be obese.

It can be difficult to predict how raging pregnancy hormones will affect each individual woman, and even the most health-conscious person may find themselves reaching for foods that they wouldn't normally eat.

You need to show empathy and understanding towards your girlfriend, as she's probably not finding it all that easy, despite you both being overjoyed at the news. However, it's not seen as a good idea to gain too much weight during pregnancy as it may bring about health risks. Rather than you getting involved and risk causing big offence to her, it would be a better idea for her doctor to advise her on healthy weight gain during pregnancy. You may want to suggest that you both go to the doctor together to discuss the safest ways to stay fit and active when pregnant.

Then, support her by helping to prepare healthy meals, being mindful about what you buy in the supermarket and making the effort to get out and be physically active each day. You may want to encourage her to start going for walks each evening, and gently explain that the stronger and healthier she is during pregnancy, the easier she will find it to get back into shape after the baby is born. But make sure you're kind and supportive at all times.

I've been doing a mindfulness course and I'm really getting a lot of insight and peace from it, but it has made me question my life purpose. My mother, who I am very close to, has taken against my practice of meditation as she thinks it's having a bad influence on me. We used to go shopping a lot and out to eat in new restaurants, but lately, I've just become less inclined to do these things.

I am starting to love long walks and, to be honest, I've no idea why I went shopping so much as I really don't need all this stuff. However, my mother's reaction has kind of shocked me. I assumed she would be supportive of something that has opened up a new way of thinking for me and brought some new friends too.

One of my new pals said that she may feel threatened by the changes she sees in me and that she may have even had a bit of control over me without either of us acknowledging or even realising it.

I think that change can be scary, so how can I help her see this is right for me and that it can help us be closer if she will just let me free to explore?

I'm 27 so I don't need any permissions. I just hate that her support is conditional on me not changing.

I'm delighted to hear that you've become so much more interested in exploring your inner world and examining your purpose in life. It's important to feel comfortable with yourself and to have quiet time alone, and I'm also a big fan of meditation and mindfulness.

It does sound to me that your mum doesn't like the fact that your priorities are shifting, and the activities that you once enjoyed together aren't as appealing now. It certainly might be a control thing, but also a lack of understanding about your new interests. She may be panicking that she's losing you and that's making her act like this.

My advice is to speak to her and tell her exactly how you feel. I would invite her to learn more about mindfulness and explain why it's become so important to you. Appeal for her to support something that means a great deal to you and enable her to learn more about it too. You could make it into a journey that you both share together, and one that replaces shopping and lunching.

My little sister begs my parents to let her go everywhere with me and it's really annoying - shopping centres, cinema and gym classes, she tags along. I do get that, as I'm 17 and she's 14, she looks up to me and wants to do what I am doing, but I think my parents are totally taking the mickey and are just making me responsible for her when they should be.

Once in a while, tagging along is fine, but surely I should get to be with my pals too without her there reminding me that I'll be in trouble if anything happens to her?

There definitely needs to be a balance struck here. It's great that you're at an age where your parents trust you to look after you little sister, plus she must really look up to you and admire you, but you do also deserve to spend time alone with your friends and not always feel that you should be keeping an eye on your younger sibling in case she gets herself into trouble.

If I were you, I would speak to my parents about this. You could let them know that you're happy to bring your sister along if they're not able to watch her, but you feel that you're being made responsible for watching her far too often and it really should be their responsibility. You should explain to them that you're feeling under pressure and you need to have time with others of your own age without your sister tagging along. Try to reach a compromise that suits the whole family.