Life After 25

Why I Chose Not To “Snap Back”: A Journey to Loving Myself Postpartum…

By: Stephanie Humphrey

I remember my exact thoughts after finding out I was pregnant. I was of course extremely happy to find out that after months of trying my husband and I were going to now be parents. I was curious as to when exactly we conceived, for future references of course. My last thought was thinking of what I planned on doing in order to snapback postpartum. Snapping back is essentially the process of getting one’s pre-pregancy body back after having a child.

At this point who hasn’t read a tweet or a status, seen an Instagram post, or heard someone talk about the aforementioned snapback? If I had a nickel for every time I did before and after I had our child, I would probably be able to afford Jillian Michaels to be my personal trainer and G. Gavin to cook me healthy meals 24/7. I would most certainly be able pay for a tummy tuck too.

I struggled gravely with my post pregnancy body, and a previous history of struggling with my body image didn’t help me one bit either. When I look back on where I was compared with where I am today, facing those inner demons was probably the best thing I could have gone through. Major life changes have a unique way of changing our a particular prospectives or our entire lives all together.

I was a day past my due date when I went into the hospital to have a fetal stress test preformed because I had not felt our son move as much as he normal did since the time I woke up. It was a blessing from God that I was so in tune with my body and our son, because I ended up having an emergency c-section due to his heart rate repeatedly dropping.

The surgery went extremely well, I was blessed with an amazing medical staff, who made what should have been a traumatic experience, less traumatic. I was fortunate enough to heal with out any complications. I remember looking at my body about 4 weeks postpartum and feeling complete disgust. My abdominal region looked like a sack of old laundry and I felt like I still looked 6 months pregnant.

Admittedly I was being ridiculously hard on myself, I had just had an entire little human. However, it was kind of hard not to be when I was seeing pictures of women that were “snapping back” in the same time frame. I once heard someone say that comparison was the thief of joy and I was allowing it to do just that.

Comparing myself to others was just flat out unfair. I had no idea what any of these women had done to get to that point, or the simple fact that everyone’s body is so different. The entire pregnancy experience was different for everyone, postpartum included. My husband, God bless his heart, tried his best to reassure me I was just as beautiful to him now than I ever was before, but that wasn’t enough.

Coupled with me foolishly comparing myself to others, I was also dealing with years of struggling with my body image as well. The amount of negativity I felt towards myself was the straw that broke the proverbial camels back. That’s when I realized that snapping back was the last of my concerns, I had some internal things to work on first.

The health of my mental state was far more important than trying to fit back into pre-pregnancy jeans. I had a child to take care of, and how would I be able to adequately be the best mother I could be operating from an empty vessel. So I decided to take a social media hiatus and work on getting myself in order. Something that was long overdue.

Looking back at myself during that time I should have been doing my best to focus on the glorious fact that I had brought life into the world. I should have been praising my body for everything it had endured over the last nine months. However there isn’t much to gain from shoulda, coulda, and wouldas, but a headache. It was imperative for me to be proactive and start a serious journey to self care.

Motherhood is a life changing event and it’s very possible to feel like you have lost yourself in the neglect that often takes place in your efforts to take care of the life that you have brought into the world. Once again driving home for myself that snapping back needed to be the last of my concerns, what good would be fitting into those old clothes if I was walking around a shell of a woman.

So eventually I began to seek inner peace with myself. I did whatever it took to find time, even if it were only mere moments to tell myself encouraging affirmations. I also began trying to stay in the present moments as they came. I quickly learned that I was at my inner most peace when I focused on the here and now instead of the past or future.

There was no good reason to focus my attention on things that were not in my control. It took much repetition and is something that I am still practicing to this day but it has made a world of difference. After a few months of working towards a healthy view of myself as a whole, it became pretty clear that I was no longer the woman I once was.

I had developed new mental tools and a much better perspective of myself and life in general. I have the book, Maturity: The Responsibility of Being One’s Self to thank for setting me on this new path. A book that centers on the importance of taking ownership of who you are and regaining ability to okay with who you are.

With this catalyst to my evolution came the realization that there really was no way for me to snap back because of where my focus was now centered. I was no longer dealing with my previous body insecurities thanks in part to the positive affirmations I was telling myself, therefore my thoughts were no longer clouded by negativity when it came to how I saw myself and my body. This led to me no longer feeling the pressure to put my focus on snapping back, and to be honest I no longer wanted too. In fact I wanted to snap beyond, to continue my growth and evolution as this new found confident woman. This became my goal.

With this new found love for myself, naturally followed the desire to want my outside to reflect how great I felt on the inside. I started practicing yoga a couple of weeks ago. It seemed like the best physical activity to pick up given my efforts to become more centered mind, soul, and now body. Along with a drastically improved self confidence, the absence of the pressure to snap back is such a liberating feeling and maybe that’s why I can enjoy yoga and any other workout I find myself doing.

My improved self confidence is also why I am able to focus on motherhood and all of the beautiful little moments with my son. I know its difficult to not be concerned with fitting into those pre-pregnancy jeans again right away but I would like to encourage you to be easy on yourself, don’t fall victim to comparisons, and give yourself some time. I encourage any woman to try and snap beyond.

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