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Khadeen vs. the Snapback
by Khadeen Ellis
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August 31, 2018

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7 Minute Read

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Khadeen vs. the Snapback

Definition of a “Snapback”:  the immediate pulling together of a fresh– just gave birth to a WHOLE human being– body. Some may say, if done correctly, one would barely know you were ever pregnant to begin with. One mother decides to take it on. This is her story.


Photographer: Joshua Dwain

First comes love, then comes marriage. Then comes the baby in the baby carriage. And THEN, comes the “snapback”.

The “snapback” is the dreaded term used to reference the immediate pulling together of a fresh– just gave birth to a WHOLE human being– body.  Some may say, if done correctly, one would barely know you were ever pregnant to begin with.

I, for one, never really understood how this term became such a negative notion. To me, “snapping back” post-baby was always a desire –– not so much for the outward aesthetics, but more because of the yearning to feel like my old self again.

But I get it. It’s no secret that in the age of social media and the unyielding eagerness to capture the perfect selfie, many compare their road back to “self” to their favorite Instagram model or A-list celebrity. Then, often the issue lies in posing unrealistic time frames to achieve this. Let’s be real –– I’m sure most celebs have an entire team who, upon dropping of said baby, have a roundtable discussion to map out mom’s strategic reintegration to society post-baby looking like there never was a baby to begin with. But for the everyday mom, like myself, I was sitting around a table attached to a breast pump, strategically planning out survival.

With each pregnancy, it’s natural to have concerns or anxiety about how the body changes. I was guilty of standing in front of the mirror, poking and prodding at my rapidly transforming body while simultaneously seeking approval or affirmation that I “still looked good” from my husband, Devale. Blessed hubby’s heart, he said all the right things while pregnant, but brutal honesty kicked in around six weeks postpartum when I was cleared to work out again. 

You see, no one is really that vocal about the unchartered territory that is the “fourth trimester” of pregnancy. I’m referring to the three or so months after that sweet, bundle of joy makes his/her landing. I, for one, really think that pregnancy exists in quarters, because that “after baby” life is BRUTAL and requires just as much support, if not more, than the pregnancy itself. 

So, when it came to the Snapback, as much as I wanted to succeed, reality was not acting like it wanted to work in my favor. Whether a woman is healing from a vaginal birth or cesarean section, nursing or bottle feeding, first baby or third baby –– it is exhausting! For me, lack of sleep and delirium kick in after each baby, and that was enough to send me right to the front seat of an emotional rollercoaster.

The LAST thing on my mind was snapping my body back. I was just trying not to snap at my husband!

Yet, of course, then comes my personal trainer – disguised as my husband – “gently” encouraging me to start moving again “for my own good.” Some days I felt motivated; other days would end in me dishing out major attitude and telling him where to go and how to get there.

See, in the back of my mind, I knew I would have to be ready. No one can tell you when you are ready to make that step. Despite the push from Devale, my sister, and even my mom, I took my time. I ate brownies by the batch. Grandma came to town and whipped up my favorite Jamaican dishes night after night, and I indulged. I knew that this was what I needed now, and I knew that when it was time, I’d be ready to move on.    

Now, here I am, four months post baby number three, and I’ve begun to take care of me. I’ve started eating clean(er), getting cardio in, weight training, sleeping more (as long as baby boy is having a good night amidst moments of sleep regression), and taking multivitamins. But beyond this, I’ve taken this as the time to challenge myself to become the best version of ME with no comparison to anyone else. By this, I mean total wellness –– not just shedding fat and working on my six-pack for sheer vanity.

I came across a quote once by Gary Ryan Blair that says, “Self-discipline is the act of cultivation. It requires you to connect today’s actions with tomorrow’s results. There’s a season for sowing and a season for reaping.”  This is my season of sowing. This self-work is my time to see how far I can push myself, end my bad habit of procrastination, and prepare myself for future opportunities.

Yes, I want to look great, but what trumps the outward snapback is the internal health and wellness I’m seeking.

Moreover, coming from a long line of heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes, I’m working to live a healthier lifestyle for myself and my family.      

Now that I’m ready, I appreciate the “personal trainer” disguised as my husband.  Devale has been AMAZING at motivating and encouraging me –– whether it’s working out with me, holding me accountable, or being a huge cheerleader on days when I’m not feeling it. I mean, I do want to look good for hubby too and make him proud. He deserves it, my children deserve it and, most importantly, I owe it to myself.

So, for me, the “snapback” is a snap-forward into the life I want to live and the example I want to lead.  And if the side-effects are six-pack abs, I’m down with that, too.

Image Source: Khadeen Ellis

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