The postpartum movement that insists 'bounce back' is a myth
Love your post-baby bod in all its glory, and be empowered!
This movement is about mothers coming together to embrace our bodies. It’s about standing together and saying, “F*** bouncing back!” Here we are dancing together in celebration of what our bodies have done:
Despite our parenting styles.
Despite our birth stories.
Despite our size.
Despite our background.
We are all mothers.
We are all beautiful.
We are all worthy.
Let’s build tribes.
Let’s build each other up.
Forming a sisterhood that is motherhood.
Our souls connected there on the beach.
We stood in the freezing cold and danced on the sand.
The waves crashing in the background.
With the cold wind upon our skin.
Reminding us that we are alive.
Some of us had never met before,
We all touched each other’s hearts forever.
We celebrated each other.
We were never meant to ‘bounce back’ – instead we bounce forward. Together. These words are the anthem of a movement close to my heart. It’s something I’ve envisioned for quite a long time and I’m forever grateful to Zep from Chenzian Photography for bringing my vision to life and creating this beautiful movement with me.
Our vision is to empower mothers by taking back postpartum. The term postpartum usually refers to the first six weeks after birth. Society expects us to magically bounce back after having a baby – not only physically, but also mentally and spiritually. At just six weeks after birth! I was still in granny pants and waddling from a third-degree tear at six weeks postpartum. It’s simply not logical and we shouldn’t be making new mothers believe that they are meant to just bounce back. The postpartum period can actually be six weeks or six years. Birth changes us forever. We’re reborn physically, spiritually and emotionally. We are mothers. We are magic.
Every stretch mark, every curve, every bump and every bit of loose skin. All are absolute magic.
Our bodies housed another life for nine months. We literally gave up our own bodies to grow another human being. We grew an extra organ (the placenta) to sustain that life, then gave up everything again to ensure that life survived on the outside.
We surrendered ourselves to our babies. That’s the ultimate sacrifice. We deserve to feel like absolute goddesses, not to feel like we must bounce back to our pre-pregnancy selves. No. There is no bouncing back because we are no longer pre-pregnancy and we never will be again.
My motivation for creating this movement is my belief that a), no one should ever feel alone, and that b), no one should ever feel as if they don’t fit in. I’m not talking about fitting into society, I mean not fitting in your own skin. I know what it’s like to feel like a visitor in my own skin. It’s taken me a long time to learn to love myself; to fall in love with my body, my soul and my mind. I was bullied throughout my school life and I was also sexually abused – not once but twice. Stripped of my self-worth, I was made to hate every inch of myself. Made to feel like a prisoner in a body I didn’t know or care about.
The journey to becoming a mother led me to fall in love with myself again; to find my pride, my worth, my magic. I found my voice. I found love deep within me. My body has done something so magical so how could I ever say a bad thing about her? How could I ever look at myself with anything but love? Every curve and every single mark tell a story. My story.
The postpartum movement is here to share my love and encourage others to also see their worth. Their beauty! I hope to spread this movement further, not just throughout motherhood, but to all womanhood. All humans! We are all beyond beautiful, we just need to learn to love ourselves in order to see it. Love opens our eyes to the beauty of the whole world and everyone in it.
Mother of two boys and recently relocated to the UK, Sharnnah Larvin is the passionate force behind the Bouncing Forward movement. For more of her raw mothering goodness, follow her on @thepeacefulhomemaker.
Photography: Zep, Chenzian Photography
Words: Shannon Larvin
AS FEATURED IN ISSUE 49 OF OHbaby! MAGAZINE. CHECK OUT OTHER ARTICLES IN THIS ISSUE BELOW