There’s a craze amongst us, I’m sure you’ve heard… post-baby “Snapback”. The new gen term meaning how quickly a woman’s body can snap back to its pre-baby form. Pressure on women to get back into shape soon after having a child has become enormous and I would love to spread the word amongst the mamas, mama’s-to-be and future mamas that the term is actually bullshit and we will no longer succumb to its negative connotations.
So, modern life…gone are the days when women delivered babies within a selective realm of peace and minimal self-exposure. Since social media, us women feel a pressure to lose our baby weight fast. Modern-day moms who share online are in the social spotlight, a sea of followers awaiting the much-anticipated baby photos and now, be damned… the post-baby physique. More and more new moms are posting their impressive, reality defying post-baby bodies online, usually captioning how many ‘months’, ‘weeks’ or even ‘days’ postpartum they are. So although the hard-working (or genetically gifted) mama taking the selfie captioned “snapback” has every right to be proud of her figure, it leaves a whole bunch of onlooking moms feeling glum who hadn’t joined in the ‘race’ to get back into shape.
I’ve struggled with maintaining a fixed weight myself over the years, I’m a renowned yo-yo dieter who is still learning to practice balance. When I fell pregnant with my first I was a manic gym bunny who dedicated my life to very little more. I gained just one stone after giving birth and I didn’t mind the change, it was totally normal to expect. When I fell pregnant with baby number 2 it was a completely different story. I weighed 9 stone 2 and after giving birth I weighed 11 stone 10… a significant gain. I ate what I wanted, when I wanted. I used the excuse of being pregnant to over-eat and I will admit, I felt really down about my post baby image this time around. I felt unattractive, inadequate and it wasn’t long before I started trying to lose the weight. The ‘snapback’ got me, the images online had warped my view of what a ‘normal’ postpartum body should be. I put a huge pressure on myself, not only to get back to the weight I felt most comfortable at, but how fast I was to lose it.
To aspire to be in shape after birth is a positive goal, I won’t dispute it…but why should we feel the rush? Having a baby takes a massive toll on our bodies both physically and mentally. We grow, birth and nurture and its certainly no walk in the park. Adjusting to motherhood requires so much energy and soul, to think that us moms are being stripped of our confidence until we look how society wants us to look is undermining of our amazing capabilities surely?. So, here it is… I’m way more inclined to talk about the real post baby-body .. weight gain, stretch marks, sore & leaky boobs, hair malts all over the place and the once renowned pregnancy glow becomes two dark circles and frankly, we couldn’t be any more proud of what our body is capable of. Most of us tuck our inevitable ‘pouch’ into the post-hospital bloomers and hopefully swerve online posts like these..
I’d imagine most moms like me can relate to feeling inadequate when reading these types of headlines and online posts, the mass coverage of ‘snapback’ bodies is giving us an imagery that new moms have no excuse to be out of shape anymore, even temporarily. The actual term ‘SnapBack’ I feel is totally demeaning on behalf of women and also demotivating. ‘Snapback’ implies fast and effortless, disregarding the life changing experience of having just birthed a baby. I truly believe that every new mom should feel empowered rather than uncertain about their body, and we must remember that most moms in the spotlight getting back into shape quickly felt the pressure too. I’d encourage any new mom feeling pressured or unhappy with body image to search online for ‘real postpartum body stories’ and the relatable honesty and untouched images should help relieve negativity and create rightful contentment.
Image really isn’t everything, we know this because our babies love us just the way we are. It’s time we stopped letting society influence us into believing whats best to aspire to, our well-being and our baby’s well-being is most important after birth. Social media influences people to constantly prove themselves to the world, so calling on new moms….. you don’t need to prove to anyone, you are inspiring already. We should be showing our bodies more love than we do hate, especially after pregnancy..it is truly amazing and it shouldn’t be constantly up for comparison. I write this post having felt the pressure myself, groaning in the mirror and self-loathing distracted me from self-loving at a time I needed it the most. Lose weight if you like, remain as you are if you like, whatever you decide is best for you..but don’t feel pressured by society..it is all a giant fad!.