According to whattoexpect.com, one-third of babies in the U.S. are born via C-section. If you’re a c-section mom, you know first-hand what it’s like to be rendered immobile because your c-section scar is healing with just some staples or stitches keeping it in tact. The fear of tearing a stitch or a bubbling scar is just half the battle, adjusting to walking, bending and caring for a baby in the immediate weeks after a c-section feels like a super human feat. But we do it, with grace, putting baby first and mommy second; until you look up and realize your new body takes some getting used to.
We spoke to a handful of c-section moms about how they learned to embrace their post c-section bodies. Here’s their story:
Miriam Dixon-Davis, 34
During my first pregnancy I expected to have a natural birth, however it didn’t play out the way that I’d planned. My first born Tre was born during an emergency c-section due to his heart rate dropping while I was in labor. My 2-year old Landon, and my one week old, Liam were also born by c-section. My c-section scar is a reminder for me that life can be brought into the world more than one way. As a mom, I’m reminded that we hold that power of not only carrying life but growing a baby and bringing that baby into the world.
I’m more focused at the moment on fully recovering, exercising and re-developing healthy eating habits that will contribute to my healing internally and externally. A c-section is a serious surgery, so it’s important to focus on eating healing foods. After being pregnant and having multiple babies you learn how to be more patient with the process because every pregnancy is different. I also learned during my latest pregnancy that you should continue to pamper and indulge in self-care habits you had prior to being pregnant up till the end. One of my greatest blessings is becoming a mother and knowing that the procedure not only changed my life but saved two of my babies lives. I’m forever grateful and proud to be a c-section mom.
Mariah Claudio, 26
During the time I went into premature labor, my mind and body went directly into autopilot despite trying to recover from a caesarean. All my energy was spent spending time with my babies at the hospital. Recovery was brutal, in my experience! As a former athlete, I was used to pushing my body beyond uncomfortable levels of pain but THIS was extremely different.
Everyday my body had to be able to travel and navigate through hospitals for NICU visits all while healing from an invasive procedure.
Throughout this time, I learned truly how strong my body was and how it was able to sustain life, recover, and still be strong enough to allow me to do my motherly duties.
After the healing process, my body was left with a keloid scar across my lower abdomen. It was only briefly I felt the feeling of insecurity. I say only briefly because after I sat back and reminisced about my birth experience, I remember how strong my mind, my body, and my babies were during such a traumatic time. Now every time I look down at my scar, all I see is the strength and wonder that came from my birth experience. My husband and I were truly blessed with two beautiful strong baby girls. They got it from their mama!
Shamika Sanders, 32
Leading up to birth, I knew there was a chance I would have to undergo a c-section. I was sent immediately to the hospital after my regular weekly OB/GYN appointment revealed my amniotic fluid was low. And my baby’s heart beat showed signs of distress, I was rushed in to the operating room to have an emergency c-section. Within 10 minutes, my world changed. I didn’t get to witness the birth of my child, but I was OK with doctors taking extra precautions to safely bring my baby into the world.
Two days later, my fiancé and I would find out our baby girl was born with a rare heart defect and she was transferred to Mt. Sinai Hospital. Two days after having a c-section I had to find the physical and mental strength to commute miles away from home to see my baby in the NICU.
Who knew your core did so much?! I learned the hard way traversing the long hospital corridors and waking up to pump in the middle of the night. I gained a new appreciation for my body and it’s God-given capabilities. Pumping breast milk and being in constant commute helped me burn fat and “snap back.” I started packing on pounds after I quit pumping so I have a pouch (and stretch marks) that contribute to my insecurities, but having a supportive partner, who still finds me sexy as ever, helps. I’ve also seen such low days, I feel silly stressing over weight, but I’m human. I’ve ultimately learned to be kind to myself and be grateful because life is so delicate.
Allison McGevna, 30s
For much of my life, I have been extremely critical of my body, especially my midsection. Even as I was confident about myself overall, I was often focused on my midsection not looking the way I wanted it to in clothing or in swimwear. Before I got pregnant, I had converted to a vegan lifestyle and had done the emotional work to finally be in a place where
I had come to embrace my shape. I was thrilled to become a mom, but after my emergency c-section, which I was never expecting to be part of my birth plan, I had to completely re-learn my body once again. It was hard to believe that it could change things so much, but it did.
There was as much mental recovery ahead of me then as there was physical.But every time I look at my son, I remind myself of how incredible my body is. I marvel that it was able to nurture and grow him, heal from delivery and still provide him nourishment for him for the first year of his life. All while still carrying me through each day (not to mention during a pandemic). I am hardly in a place where I view my body as perfect, and I definitely have mental and physical work to do, but I have so much respect for my body and the wonder that it is. I’ve learned to focus on the amazing things about it rather than sending negative energy toward it. It’s brought me to a much healthier place and allowed me to have a better relationship with my body.