Stretch marks are beautiful and so is this body that goes with them. The marks and scars are all a part of who we are. If you’re like me, you have never been able to jump on the bandwagon that demands that we immediately return to that pre-baby body. It’s true that some celebrities do “snap back.” But it’s heartening to see that Tia Mowry is speaking out to challenge the post-baby snapback culture. It’s great to see!
What Is Tia Mowry Saying?
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Tia recently posted to Instagram: “Pregnancy was such a special time in my life and I loved it and my bump! I also loved my body before pregnancy.” She adds, “We’re led to believe we should love one over the other. But it was important for me to be super proud of BOTH bodies instead of feeling pressured to be a part of the snapback culture.”
Tia says, “I think instead we can look at our bodies and love and acknowledge them for keeping us alive and keeping our babies alive! Mamas, we can allow our bodies to just BE while we nourish them (and our little ones!) with good things, instead of buying into the snapback culture.”
Tia shares two kids with her husband, Cory Hardrict: Cree (10) and Cairo (3). She’s been open about her postpartum struggles. After giving birth to her second child, she thought something was wrong with her when her stomach just wasn’t going down. Here doctor’s reply: “Tia, it takes a minute for your uterus to shrink.”
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Tia famously appeared on Sister, Sister with her sister, Tamera, from 1994-1999. They played twins who were separated at birth and reunited 14 years later. The revival never really took off, so it was fun to see the reruns hit Netflix last year. The storylines were taken from the lives and experiences of Tia and Tamera; as Tia said, “A lot of people might not know this, but every year at the beginning of the season, me and my sister would sit down with the producers and tell them what’s going on with our lives in real life, and they would turn those into stories.”
Now, her experience and the realities of the post-partum experience for women inspired her to speak out about the “authentic aftermath” after we give birth. She asks, “Why is it that people aren’t sharing this? Why is it that people aren’t sharing the authentic aftermath of what happens when we give birth?” While she calls for more authenticity in discussions, Tia is not knocking those women who are able to snap back.
What Is Snapback Culture?
“Snapback” is the perfect way to describe what we see when a woman (often a celebrity) loses all that pregnancy weight immediately after birth. While some women are able to accomplish that “bounce back,” it puts incredible pressure on new moms who have just had a baby. Beyond the stress of being a new mom, I remember the hormonal roller coaster. As I functioned on little sleep, it felt like I was moving forward under the force of pure tenacity, as I learned to survive and thrive on my new haphazard schedule.
I’m not saying it’s impossible. I also know some women who exercised and maintained a healthy diet throughout their pregnancy. So, for those women, it’s possible to manage a more expedited timeline to snap back. The fact that it’s possible is also where the whole snapback culture comes from. It’s not as easy as it may look on Instagram, and it’s not healthy or safe for every woman to “snap back” right away.
The changes to the body after pregnancy are overwhelming. Hormone imbalances, fat storage, appetite, etc (add in a postpartum cholecystectomy). It’s one thing I grieve every day and wonder if the work I’m doing will ever make a difference. Not all are so lucky to “bounce back”. pic.twitter.com/EVeuPQCmp9
— Lauren Hoyt (@Lauren_HoytATC) July 24, 2021
Snapback culture fails to consider the myriad of physical and emotional challenges that women face during and after pregnancy. Sometimes it’s just not advisable to exercise, and your doctor will be the best person to advise you on that. But even if you haven’t been put on bed rest or restriction, it’s STILL ok to work toward healthier and more realistic expectations for yourself and your body. That might mean that you won’t be running a marathon tomorrow. (Did you ever really want to run the marathon anyway?) But it also might mean that you’ll get out of the house and take the stroller to the park.
That’s the part that I love the most about Tia’s rebuke on snapback culture. She says: “Mamas, we can allow our bodies to just BE while we nourish them (and our little ones!) with good things, instead of buying into the snapback culture.” So how do you cope with just being in the moment when there are so many “snapback” messages?
There’s no such thing as a bounce back after giving birth. The surreal images we see online of mothers who just gave birth a few days before, are not giving anyone a real image of how it actually IS.
Your body changes postpartum in a beautiful way. LOVE IT with all your heart 💜 pic.twitter.com/XDcnQFBEJg
— Planet Prudence (@planetprudence) March 30, 2021
Allison Deutch, MD, site director of women’s mental health at NYU Langone Health, says, “Be compassionate with not only yourself, but with your body and what it went through for nine months and the life it helped create.”
What are your thoughts on snapback culture? Do you feel the pressure to bounce back? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Please post in the comments below.
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