By Tom Midlane @GoldenLatrine
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Videographer / Director: Adam Gray
Producer: Tom Midlane, Ruby Coote
Editor: Thom Johnson
Dining out on up to 10,000 calories a day, Monica Riley dreamed of being the fattest woman in the world.
In order to chase her goal of being “immobile”, morbidly obese Monica’s would binge on junk food, including the hyper-calorific milkshakes administered through a funnel by her feeder fiancé, Sid.
She ballooned to over 700lbs and set her sights on becoming so large that she would be bedbound, to the despair of her mum Terri.
But the 29-year-old decided to change her life – and her body – after discovering she was pregnant in March 2017.
Despite her supersized appearance, Monica, from Fort Worth, Texas, always wanted to start a family.
But after suffering two miscarriages and being diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal disorder that can cause weight gain and infertility, she assumed her chances of conceiving were non-existent.
Monica said: “When I first heard I was pregnant, I was shocked. Seeing a positive test wasn’t 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 so 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."
Determined to ensure a healthy pregnancy, Monica resolved to overhaul her diet and lifestyle in a bid to be a good mum.
Through gentle exercise and a healthy diet she managed to lose over 200lbs, dropping almost a third of her bodyweight to 465lbs.
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.
“At my heaviest I was around 700lbs, then before I had her I was 520lbs, and now I’m down to around 465lbs."
But despite the weight loss, Monica developed health complications and once again began to fear the worst.
She said: “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."
Baby Michelle was born premature at 33 weeks, weighing a tiny 4lbs 9oz - but had difficulty breathing at first, requiring the doctors to act fast.
Monica said: “She came out and I didn’t hear a cry and I was terrified. I was thinking ‘Is she okay? Is she alive?’
“They bundled her up and showed her to us for a split second, then rushed to put her on a ventilator to get her to start breathing.
“It was a day and a half before I got to see her, that was the longest wait of my life.
“When I first saw her, I just started crying. I sobbed uncontrollably. Sid made sure that no-one aside from the doctors had held her before me.
“Her face was all scrunched up and she looked like a little potato.
“She was hooked up to all these wires and oxygen and I didn’t know what was wrong with her, I just knew that when I saw her little cheeks and hands, I was so happy."
After two hours Michelle began to breath independently, but doctors also discovered that she had four tiny holes in her heart - three of which have since healed, while the remaining one is only the size of a pinhead.
She also experienced reflux after feeding, meaning the milk would come back through the oesophagus, causing her vitals to crash and heart rate to drop, and even start turning blue.
Michelle was kept in for observation for six weeks but is now back home with her besotted parents, and is no longer required to wear her special heart monitor.
Monica said: “According to her paediatrician, although she was born prematurely, she’s hitting all her developmental milestones and doing it with flying colours.”
And Monica says she does not blame herself or her weight for Michelle’s medical challenges.
She said: “I don’t feel like my weight was a factor in that at all. Babies are born premature all the time.
“My doctor was actually planning to induce me at 37 weeks, which is not far from 33, but the pre-eclampsia meant they had to get her out earlier."
Monica also set her heart on breastfeeding baby Michelle, but medical issues meant that it proved impossible.
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 had to 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."
And the new mum says she is determined to educate Michelle about food and make sure she doesn’t make the same dietary mistakes as Monica.
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.
“Maybe at Halloween if she goes trick-or-treating then we’ll let her have a candy or two, but we want to get her hooked on fruits and veggies while she’s young."
But while her past fast food binges caused her to swell, Monica says she does not regret her past.
“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 any more.
“The thought of being immobile just doesn’t appeal any more, 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.
“That is just something that couldn’t have been done before.”
While motherhood and her weight loss has given Monica a new lease of life, not everyone in the SSBBW (Super-Sized Big Beautiful Woman) community has supported her changes.
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 fulfil their fantasy any more."
And asked how she would react if her daughter decided to intentionally gain weight in the way her mother previously did, Monica is clear that she would never disown her daughter.
She said: “If Michelle wanted to gain weight, I wouldn’t look down on her for it.
“I am always going to support her, but we’d absolutely share our concerns about it, and tell her about the things that could go wrong."
Monica is now committed to losing even more weight and has recently got a referral for gastric bypass surgery to help her shed the pounds.
She said: “I’m just waiting to get an appointment. I want to get down to at least 300lbs, but 250lb 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 200lb lighter.
"The only thing that’s put me off getting surgery is that I don’t want to get too skinny, I still like being chubby. I just like feeling soft and squishy."
And while Sid has received criticism in the past from people who said he fetishise Monica for her weight, he says he adores her regardless of her size.
“I don’t care what size she is, I love her as a person and that’s never going to change,” he said.
“If she has a gastric bypass and gets down to 150lbs, I’ll still love her and we have this little baby together.
Monica added: "I can’t believe I’m finally a mum. Ditching funnel feeds for bottle feeds is the best thing I’ve ever done.”