I cut my finger on
a broken glass 11 years ago, doing the washing up. The cut went deep, bled
so much I had to hold it over the toilet, and left a scar and numbness that has
never completely gone away. I’ve also got a small scar from even longer ago on
my butt, from accidentally sitting on a pair of curved nail scissors. So I was
expecting my C-section scar to be a big deal, perhaps to lose sensation in that
area, maybe for it to be unsightly.
I’d fought for the
right to have a C-section as the best choice for me and my baby, though, so I accepted the
inevitable scar. I didn’t expect it to fade so quickly. I also
never thought the faint pink line—darker on one side than the other—would
evoke such fond memories when I catch sight of it in the mirror.
Scars tell our body's stories and I realized that just as other women's birth stories are all unique, so are their feelings about their C-section scars. The stories mothers shared with me ran the gamut from indifference to celebration to a reminder of trauma.
Here are some of the stories I collected:
"My scar is an
affirmation of my right to decide what happens to my body—a right that was denied
during the pregnancy and birth of my daughter. My scar is where my son entered
the world, and where I started to heal from the trauma of my daughter's birth.
It reminds me not to take for granted my rights, and to help others in their
journeys to have their rights respected. Gratitude and resilience in a fine
- Janice W., 4.5 years post birth
"I get a lot of compliments on
my scar from medical professionals. Apparently, it’s exquisite, nearly
invisible and thin and shiny, but I can feel it. I’m sad that it’s all that
remains of my son’s emergency exit door into the world. It also reminds me of
two things that my doctor said to me. While I was pushing, she looked up at me,
sighed and said, 'You’re not gonna be happy when I tell you this.' And when it
was over, after some trauma, she came up to me in OR and said, 'He did you a
favor. He really did you a favor.' As if to say that my squishy 10-pound baby
made himself posterior on purpose just so I didn’t have to push him out. I used
to feel really mad and powerless when I saw the scar. Now, I just laugh at how
my C-section was just another Saturday afternoon for her, and how she really
did do excellent work stitching me up."
- Apryl L.,6 years post-birth
"As a person who has gone
through major surgery before, I know the importance of scars—they’re vivid
evidence of significant turning points in life, and in my case, always for
good. And funnily enough, they actually end up having their own personality. I
know that in time, it will take a discreet role and be nearly invisible. But now, when I look at my C-section scar, I feel
grateful. My lovely baby boy was born five weeks ago with no distress, pain or
struggling—and that's something I won't forget. Thank you, scar!"
- Laura F., 5 weeks post birth
"I endured 14 hours of
labor before talking my doctor into a cesarean. My first daughter was 11 days
overdue and estimated at 9 pounds. I asked for a cesarean but my insurance
wouldn’t cover the cost unless I either labored for 36 hours without birthing
the baby, or I or the baby was under duress. I yelled at him through a
contraction, 'You said she’s 9 pounds! I AM under duress!' I was
taken to the OR within an hour. I scarred horribly, though. It was as jagged as
if I’d been bitten by a shark. My second cesarean birthed my rainbow baby twins
following two miscarriages. I told my doctor how I didn't like my scar from my
first, so he stitched me up himself. My scar looked great! It was straight and
healed quickly. My third birth was a scheduled repeat
cesarean with the same doctor. I’m proud of it and my toddlers love knowing
they came out of the hole in my tummy."
- Barbie T., 2.5 years post-birth
had two caesareans—an emergency and a scheduled one. My second scar hasn’t
healed as well as the first and draws in a bit, leaving me a little
self-conscious. However, I pushed for a C-section second time round and I’m
proud of it. That's where my daughter came from and it reminds me of the
amazing and calm birth that I had and my beautiful two children. I’m so lucky
to have had the operations to save my life first time, and my sanity the
- Vix H., 3.5 months post-birth
"I don't mind my scar now.
With my first, an emergency C-section, it keloided and I was pretty
self-conscious. I think the fact that I felt like a failure for not being able
to give birth vaginally factored into it. With my second, a scheduled surgery, the OB did a fantastic job and I barely knew it was there. I felt
better about the birth and a little less like a failure. And I didn't die. The
third was this year. The scar is still healing but looks great. I’m proud of
it. I've carried three of my babies to term and it's a battle scar."