I used to hate my Caesarean section scar with its puffy, jagged line. It looked like an impassive, straight-faced smile, not knowing how to feel about motherhood.
At first I was scared to touch it, let alone look at it. It smarted, itching like crazy for over a year. I kept a tube of hydrocortisone cream in my nightstand and would begrudgingly apply a liberal dab every night, but the itch was too deep to penetrate. I would hold my breath, grimacing every time I had to touch the wound.
I showed my scar to my OB/GYN, dermatologist, esthetician – family, friends, even my cat, haha. As C-section scars go, this isn’t too bad, is it? My providers and loved ones assured me my incision not only looked normal, but better than most scars they’d seen. Still I was convinced I could headline a circus sideshow.
Why did I find the scar so ugly? At a subconscious level, was I ashamed that I had a C-section and not a natural, “vaginal birth”? Maybe so.
Many women feel having a C-section means you took the “easy way out” or somehow your birth experience was less than another woman’s who had a natural birth. In the U.S., over thirty percent of women have C-sections. It’s an essential and life-saving surgery. So why did I feel like I had to explain it to family, friends, and strangers? (I had a breech baby, in case you’re wondering.) No one should have to explain or justify her birth plan whether premeditated or impromptu.
Why else did I find the scar so disfiguring? Did I feel societal pressure to look like I hadn’t had a baby? Most definitely.
The much-talked about and celebrated goal of many new moms is losing the baby weight as soon as possible. It’s as if there’s some kind of race to lose the fifteen, twenty, thirty-five, fifty, (etc.) pounds you gained. I’m not going to lie, I too am in the “lose the baby weight” competition. It’s been three years since I had my first baby. While I’ve lost forty pounds, I can’t seem to shed the last ten pounds. I wish society focused more on a woman’s overall health, particularly her emotional wellbeing.
My C-section scar isn’t a blemish, it’s a beauty mark – a tattoo I’ve grown to love. In fact, if I was able to remove the scar, free of charge, I wouldn’t do it. My C-section marks a moment in time (where and when) a human being entered the world.
Sometimes when I miss my son, the baby he once was, I touch the scar. But I don’t cringe anymore. I whisper, “he was here.”
A Final Thought – From the Pillow
Motherhood doesn’t just change your body, it transforms it!
So look in the mirror with pride, you beautiful fertility goddess. Your body is lovely. You don’t need to change a thing.
Do you or your partner have any C-section or other birth scars? How do you feel about birth by C-sections? Do you love or hate your C-section scar? Tell us why.