“You Still Look Pregnant!” – The Truth About Postpartum ‘Snapbacks’

“You Still Look Pregnant!”

Childbirth and motherhood are experiences that words really can’t describe well enough. It’s something you have to be apart of and see to really grasp how monumental it is. Housing a human is one of the most craziest things to go through from the moment conception happens. The changes a woman goes through emotionally, mentally, and physically are life changing.

Some pregnancies are harder and easier than others and I’m not just talking physically. I think we forget that many things impact experiences like support, current life circumstances, and so much more. My pregnancy was in the middle. not too bad, not all good. My ‘morning sickness’ was any time of the day sickness up until about 13 weeks, I was working retail in my early pregnancy and standing on my feet all day did not mix well with growing a baby. The back pain was unmatched, my hormones had me emotional 90% of the time, and things were taking place in my life that added on to the physical and mental pressures I was already feeling.

Pre-pregnancy

I had never been big in regards to weight throughout my life, it was always hard to gain and keep weight. The biggest I weighed pre-pregnancy was 108-110lbs but it never stayed around long. I was excited to be gaining weight, especially in all the ‘right places’ you know, when the booty and boobs start growing you can’t tell a woman much. As I progressed throughout my pregnancy I always had this fear and underlying thought of “what if my stomach doesn’t go down?” Or “what if my stomach is wrinkled and has tons of stretch marks afterwards?” Amongst other thoughts and questions I had about postpartum and the new life I was embarking on. In the grand scheme of things and looking back now it was shallow to think about, but in those moments I felt that I would be less beautiful not only to myself but to others as well. That’s how society works though and those are the cycles that need to be broken because these standards of what beauty are, is not beauty at all.

 

37 weeks pregnant.

By the end of my pregnancy I weighed 152-159lbs. The biggest I had ever been. I was mostly all belly but I had spread all over. My arms were bigger, my face was chubbier, my legs, butt, everything had grew in weight and size. The end was the most difficult, I had to come out of work early because my lower legs down to my feet were so swollen to the point that it hurt to walk and the only shoes I could wear were slides, nothing else. Nothing was comfortable anymore, it wasn’t even comfortable to sleep. I wanted my baby OUT!

I went into labor at 38 weeks and 6 days on May 13th, Mother’s Day 2018, the best day ever. After 18 hours of labor I cried tears of joy and relief to hear the sounds of my son crying. When everything began to die down and those who supported me through labor started to leave for the night I was left with my newborn, my child’s father, and my thoughts. Even through all the excitement I was experiencing I couldn’t help but to notice my stomach as I stood for the first time. I’m a fairly positive person who practices self-love and care daily but the many changes my body went through still threw me off and caused me to observe myself under a microscope. It looked like this foreign object that just drooped away from my body. It was darker than any other part of my body, wrinkled, and reminded me of free form jello just hanging out on my midsection. I tried not to think about it much but it was just there, I felt it, I could see it. When I showered for the first time in the hospital and got to look at my body naked for the first time it was strange. I now had this flabby little pouch that I could hold in my hands. I wasn’t used to having extra skin or extra weight in my stomach area without a baby taking residence. It didn’t help that people around me were going “mine didn’t look like that” and then the dreadful, “You still look pregnant.” So now not only was I effected physically, but mentally.

1 month postpartum

Postpartum depression can stem from the slightest things and that is one of the worst thing you can say to a mother who just went through not only carrying a baby for 9+ months but just went through a long difficult labor and who’s also adjusting to her new self, her new life, and her new baby. Not only that but after giving birth a woman’s hormones and emotions go haywire trying to regulate and figure out wtf just happened. It was like a slap in the face. Instead of saying ‘Hey, good job. You just housed and birthed a human, you look great!” You hear “You still look pregnant”. It took me a while to lose my extra baby fat and afterwards I was left with the leftover weight I had gained and kept. I was happy with my new booty, new thighs, and overall weight gain but it took me a very long time to become comfortable with my stomach and some days I still struggle with the fact that it’s not how I would like it to be but I’m working on it. It was a battlefield and it showed but I wear my war wounds proudly because I fought to bring life into this world. The stretch marks and wrinkles may never go away as I shed my weight and that’s okay, I’ve accepted it. I love my postpartum body either way.

1 month postpartum

It takes time for women to fall back in love with their selves after giving birth. We enter a whole new dimension of life. Our bodies are different, we move different, and some things never ‘snap back’ or revert to how it was. Our bodies go through a traumatic experience and this era of ‘snapping back’ post-pregnancy doesn’t make it easier. You can’t look at these celebrities or Instagram models who snap back almost immediately after giving birth because that’s unrealistic. It depends on your body individually and your birthing experience. We can beat ourselves up and criticize ourselves for how we look or we can be thankful and confident in what our bodies are able to do. You should feel like a bad ass no matter what you look like afterwards. Your stretch marks are merely roots that stem from the tree of life, and your wrinkles are waves of nourishment. You earned them.

Some women also experience ‘diastasis recti’ which isn’t talked about as often as it should be. Women don’t know that it can be an outcome of childbirth, there’s no warning sign to prepare yourself for the possibility. In short, it’s a gap in between your right and left abdominal wall muscles that can result in a rounded, protruding belly. There are slight and severe cases where some can be fixed by exercising and some not at all. You can read more about it here.

Present – Almost 9 months postpartum

You can be grateful for what your body has done and still want to make changes, that doesn’t make you any less grateful for the experience. I personally plan to lose and tone the bit of stomach and back fat I still have. Instead of normlizing snap backs and perfect figures post-pregnancy we need to be real with ourselves. It saddens me when I see people posting their experiences and postpartum bodies and people are commenting saying things like “cover up” or “why don’t you get surgery?” These continuous cycles of body shaming need to stop because they effect people mentally. Be mindful of what you say and how you say it. Learn to talk positively about not only yourself but those around you, those you encounter, and communicate with. Normalize normal. And if a woman, still “looks pregnant” after giving birth then so be it, it’s normal.

There aren’t any set rules on how to lose baby weight or postpartum stomachs, yes, breastfeeding helps but not everyone can or chooses to breastfeed. Working out sounds great but you can’t jump right into working out after giving birth. There are tons of products geared towards helping you lose weight but ultimately what works for you may not work for someone else. Don’t compare, do your research and see what works best for you.

Loving and accepting your body is a process even when you aren’t pregnant or have gone through the experience of childbirth. If you’re dealing with accepting your postpartum body or body in general, and scrolling through social media comparing how you look to others, stop right now. A lot of people only show the good, or their body after they’ve gotten work done or put the work in to change it. No one wants to show themselves at a vulnerable state but the real, and the normal should be talked about. Give your body time, space, and extra love and care to heal. Stomach muscles need time to recover, your body needs time to recover, regain strength, and restore energy. Try looking at the reality of things and not your emotions so much. You housed a human you bad ass. Erase those negative thoughts and turn them positive. Find beauty in your ugly, even if means you only find beauty in the experience. Give your body and yourself credit where credit is due. Focus on your transition into motherhood and not the number on the scale or your outer appearance those things can be worked on, comparison is a thief of happiness and joy.


Ways To Fall in Love With Your Postpartum Body:
  • Give it time.
  • Don’t hold yourself to your pre-pregnancy weight and physical appearance.
  • Get active and set new goals.
  • Do not compare your postpartum body with any other moms’ postpartum bodies (especially celebrities). Do – not measure the speed at which other moms are losing their “baby weight” against your progression and timeline.
  • Talk about the feelings you have about your body with your partner or a trusted friend/family member who will remind you to be kind and gentle with yourself, and remind you of your inner and outer beauty.
  • Accept that your body may never be the same after giving birth as it was before you gave birth, just like your outlook on life and the love you have in your heart.
  • Journal and self-reflect.
  • Admire your body for its strength, power, and grace.
  • Before you think about talking down on yourself look at your baby and how amazing you are for sheltering, nurturing, and paving the way for them.

My son has been the best thing to ever happen to me but I will admit that some days are hard, some days are frustrating, some days I want to complain, and some days are smooth sailing. Some days I’m on the verge of tears and some days I wear the biggest smile. Motherhood has tested my patience but most importantly allowed me to experience a new level of love, and a new level of strength. You will learn sacrifice in parenthood; you will learn many things about yourself but you get to do those things alongside a person who admires everything about you and who is learning many things with you. You know what the biggest reward of all is even on my worst days? Seeing his face light up when I enter a room. Or when he’s sleeping and he does the most just to lay on me and cuddle. All he knows is how happy I make him and that’s what matters the most throughout anything I’m faced with ✨ No matter what I’ve done in life, being his mother has been the best. When things get tough just look at your kid because 9/10 they’re looking at you. Be a mirror of strength, happiness, and love. Via Instagram @breyanaijae_
Multifaceted ✨ – Apart of self-love is learning to enjoy and accept my least favorite angles. The least favorite parts of myself. You know it’s so easy to criticize, critique, and find every flaw within yourself but you choose to love all the good parts of someone else and pay less attention to their flaws don’t you? Can you give yourself the same amount of love plus more? Because even on my less appealing days physically, mentally, and emotionally, I still look in the mirror and say “damn you’re a bad b*tch 💁🏽‍♀️” and I don’t just mean my outer appearance 😌. Via instagram @breyanaijae_

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What’s New? 
Aside from the latest blog post that are waiting to be read, I have published my third book! If you’ve kept up with the blog then you’ve probably read the snippets.  The Key To My Brother’s Heart – Kennedy’s Reign is now available in electronic and paperback editions. It’s available electronically on Barnes & Noble and Amazon Kindle as well as paperback on Amazon. All 3 of my books and $elf products and apparel are available on my website. For easier access, simply click “Shop” on the blog’s homepage.

Be on the look out for The Key To My Brother’s Heart 2 and my newest book The Girl Next Door – the stories that bind us.

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Thanks for reading, Be Blessed & Stay Humble. As always Choose You Always!

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If given the chance, everyone has a story to tell. My name is Breyana I'jae, I am a 25 year old Temple University Psychology graduate, blogger, visionary, artist, creator, self published author, mama, jack of all trades, and lover of many things. 
When I first started this blog in 2013 my goal was to share My Story in hopes of inspiring someone else, I didn't know where it would go, how people would perceive it or what to really do, I just know I lived by the motto, Uplift, Empower, & Inspire.

While those goals still remain my blog will now be a place to promote self-love and self-care but that's not all. Come take a look to see what it offers.

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