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Reality Check: On The Obsession With ‘Snapping Back’ After Pregnancy

Yesterday, I was getting ready to pick my son up from school. I turned on the TV and some celebrity new program was playing. I don’t remember or care to try to remember which one it was, but predictably, they were talking about the birth of Meghan Markle’s baby with Prince Harry.

They showed a clip of them walking out with Harry holding the baby, as Meghan, in a white dress clutched his arm and smiled. Tied at the waist, the dress hid none of Meghan’s still swollen belly, She looked exhausted and at least still six months pregnant.

Now I’ve delivered two babies, so I know that the swelling usually takes at least a couple of weeks to start going down significantly. And the exhaustion…well, that takes at least a couple of years to start subsiding. So was uninvested as I am in that damn royal wedding, remain in that damn marriage and the baby, I am thoroughly invested in stopping the harmful trend of new mothers being charged with proving how quickly they can physically bounce back from the most necessary and one of the most physically grueling processes known to humans.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry

From Teyana Taylor being lauded for having amazing abs less than a week after her baby was delivered at home on her bathroom floor to Meghan Markle walking out in a designer dress and full face of makeup with her hair done just 48 hours after having a baby to IG models showing their “snapback” days after they had whole human beings removed from their wombs, this shit is out of control. Besides the fact that it treats pregnancy as some easy process that women just go through and have no after effects or complications from, it also teaches women that their main focus shouldn’t be bonding with and caring for their babies, but worrying about whether they’re able to return their baby to pre-pregnancy form to prove they’re still attractive. It devalues women’s essential contribution to the world while reducing our value to our conformity to unrealistic physical ideals.

Never mind the fact that we’re being presented images of women who are naturally slim or whose bodies are naturally athletic to compare our own naturally chubbier or less athletic bodies to. Let’s ignore that most women are regular ass women without a team of servants to and staff to do our hair and makeup for our first look after delivery. Who cares that women are delivering babies and following up the life-threatening process of delivery with an immediate tummy tuck. Yes, the snapback is real and we should all aspire to it.

Fuck that! My son is nearly 11 and my daughter is almost 16 months. I ain’t snapped back yet, but I have been the mother I should be. I have made bonding, loving and caring for my children my priority. I have been able to adjust to life with a newborn, figure out a schedule that allowed me to get enough rest to be able to enjoy motherhood, and managed to to keep my children healthy and happy. I’ve managed to snapback from the postpartum depression that so many of us mothers endure.

I’m tired of this glamorous ass picture of new motherhood we’re being sold by privileged celebrities. The last thing on your mind after safely delivering a child should be whether you’re snatched. A big ass belly is normal. Showing the effects of not sleeping like you did pre-pregnancy is normal. Staying home with your child is normal. A raggedy pair of sweatpants with your hair in a bun or your fro pushed back is normal.

And to be completely honest, this thing where women flaunt them being in pre-pregnancy form and done up right after having a baby is all for men. It’s all to keep up men’s fantasy about how women should always look attractive and be sexually attractive to them. It’s nothing but internalized misogyny saying, “I did it. Why can’t your woman?”

The only snapback I want new mothers to be worried about is the one they wear on their head because taking care of a screaming newborn has left them no time to do their hair and cabin fever has set in so they still need to get out the house even if it’s just to run to the grocery store. Part of your self-care after having a baby, the most important part in fact, is being kind to yourself and appreciating your body including the bulge and stretch marks that are the battle scars of the war you fought to make a healthy human.

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Kinfolk Kollective avatar About the author: LaSha is a writer who’s obsessed with Black people. Find her work here of course, but also on Ebony, The Guardian, Essence, Salon, Everyday Feminism, Teen Vogue, HuffPo and For Harriett. She’s loves trap music & 90s R&B, watches Jeopardy faithfully and believes fried chicken is her soulmate. The clapback queen is loud and clear about loving her kids above all else and kinda digs her Yankee husband too. Anti-Blackness gives her hives. Get at her @lashawrites on Twitter.

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