3 Alternatives to “Bouncing Back”
We are told “Bounce back” after …loss, breakup, giving birth, anything and everything just make sure you bounce back! And if your body has grown a human inside of it and you’ve entered that unknown cave called “postpartum” as a mom. And while this space is mostly dark with glimpses of light as you find your bearings, it’s amazing how this phrase “bounce back” seems to find you around every corner, nook, and cranny. At least it seemed to for me. When I had my twin girls, I received mailers to my home, emails, book recommendations, online targeted ads, and yes unsolicited advice all claiming to help me “bounce back” (to what my body and life were before growing and birthing babies). Can you relate?
But you know what? It turns out I DON’T bounce, and I don’t want to bounce. I don’t want to be dribbled, thrown, or tossed this way or that way like a ball with no real power over its direction. Nope, I’d like to claim my own power and have some control over the direction this postpartum mind, body, and spirit of mine chooses to go.
In this post I’m going to share the dangers of this mentality, no matter if you are postpartum, dealing with loss, a breakup, a mental, physical, or emotional health need, and three things you CAN do instead of bouncing back – stay tuned – they may surprise you!
What’s wrong with this phrase (postpartum/any time).
“Bounce back” actually gave me a visceral reaction when I would see it. After the birth of my twins, I had severe diastasis recti (separation of the abdominal muscles) and I was desperate for some help. I researched, started physical therapy, and downloaded a couple of freebies off the web one of which I ended up never using because on the cover, in big bold letters, and with a perfectly sculpted abdominal photo it said: “BOUNCE BACK POSTPARTUM AND GET YOUR BODY BACK.”
Seeing that phrase just made me feel sick and defeated before even beginning, and I see it all the time with my woman coaching clients when they agonize over being told to “snap out of it” or “bounce back” after a major change in their life. Why place these expectations on our bodies and minds that we need to look, feel, and act the same as before we birthed a baby and or had this major change in our lives? This phrase “bounce back” poses as innocent and helpful, as if it’s saying “come here, I’ll make it all better and help you feel like nothing ever happened” but something DID happen! Whether you place this expectation after a breakup, loss, postpartum, whatever, it’s harmful and something DID happen! Major life changes were experienced. However, this phrase, this expectation, inherently treats what happened, and anything that was lost or gained as unworthy and therefore we must go back.
This phrase “bounce back” poses as innocent and helpful, as if it’s saying “come here, I’ll make it all better and help you feel like nothing ever happened” but something DID happen!
By saying “bounce back” it sends the message that anything that was lost or gained (since the change) is unworthy, and therefore we must go back.
3 Alternatives to “bouncing back”.
We may not bounce but I’m going to tell you what we CAN do instead! As a mama and Women’s Life+Wellness Coach who is deeply passionate about a woman’s journey to discovering her power and creating her truest desires, I posted about this on my Instagram and it got a lot of attention, clearly a hot topic. I said how “I’m not buying it. ✋🏽 It’s anything but cute. I want to pounce on that phrase like a lioness attacks the cute bunny and I want to take it D O W N.” And you know what? You can too.
So if you are experiencing the “bounce back” expectation creeping into your life here’s what you can do…
1. Raise your awareness. Notice it, and acknowledge its harmful effects on your mental and physical being. Noticing is the first step to being able to see it, and let it float on by. How do you notice? Tune into your body’s sensations – do you notice any tension or other feelings when you see/hear/place that expectation? What are the sensations telling you? Get curious. Look at your feelings, what are they? Defeat, sadness? Ask yourself how this expectation makes you feel and then ask what thought is causing that feeling. The thought(s) are the sentences we replay in our heads over and over again — what is your tape telling you?
2. Give yourself permission to evolve (not bounce backward). Can we all just stop for a minute and laugh at the stupidity of the expectation? I mean when we really think about it, is it not silly? Bounce BACK. Act as if nothing happened, and oh yeah, make sure your body and mind reflect that as well — nothing happened here. We are just BACK to our old selves. Ummmm I don’t know about you but my intention of self-discovery and growth never included thoughts of me staying in one place. Evolving and self-discovery will never keep you in the same place and thank goodness for that!
3. Work to understand the changes AND mourn the loss of what was so that you may work to authentically feel you are enough. Something happened. In the case of postpartum, we became mothers, fathers, parents now responsible for these little humans, and with that our life AND our body changed and I’m convinced that if we don’t acknowledge it, work to understand it, even mourn the loss of the old self/life/body then we will be in a constant up and down struggle to just feel like we are enough. This can involve a number of things from journaling, ritual, working with a coach/therapist/group, a movement experience that strengthens your mind and body connection (yoga, running, walking, etc), something where you carve out time and space to recognize and honor the crossing of a threshold and consider ways you can move forward while connecting your mind and body (because when these major life events happen – those are all shook up).
See, there are alternatives to “bouncing back” and I think they’re pretty dang great. The list is not exhaustive by any means, but it’s a start and it’s my big hand to the face to that “bounce back” culture and expectation.
So let me say it again.
My dear, fellow human beings – we don’t bounce.
Say it with me. We. Don’t. Bounce. (with a big bold period!)
We FEEL our way forward and have opportunities to EVOLVE inwardly & outwardly – creating and embracing a very new, real, and raw reality.
So, here’s to growing, changing (the only constant), and evolving.
Who is in my lion pack? Share with a friend who might need this reminder and let them know, something did happen — and there’s no need to go back, only forward.
Want some help on your journey of motherhood? Feeling like you want to bring some fresh perspective to your evolution? Check out my Offerings and or schedule a free discovery chat and we can figure if we are a right fit for one another! If you’re curious about my evolution (which is ever-going) check this out for more on that story.
And for more perspective on this topic of life postpartum check out this post with guest blogger Dr. Alex Courts, where we talked about the unhealthy expectations we place on ourselves and some immediate things you can do for your body.
Something did happen, and there’s no need to go back, only forward.
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