Dear C-Section Scar,
I hate the thought of you. I worked so hard to prepare for a natural birth. BOTH times. I hate that you are what I have to show for all my toil and hard work. I hate who you made me postpartum–an injured, grieving, and angry mess who no one seemed to understand because “c-sections are so routine.” I hate that I have two children but don’t feel like I’ve “birthed” anyone.
You hurt me. Physically, you hurt my body in ways I never could have imagined. Prior pain pales in comparison to yours when you were new–even the pain of labor. I would welcome the intensity of contractions rather than deal with you again. Emotionally, you wrecked me. Do you know that it took me a full year to feel “recovered” in body and spirit the first time? Do you know how it feels to be told by doctors and nurses that my body and mind handle natural labor better than most anyone they’ve seen, and how it feels for me to make it all the way to the final strides of the marathon just to end up with YOU? You hurt me every time I feel a shameful pang of jealousy about someone else’s vaginal birth.
You remind me. Every time I move or stretch a certain way, or even touch the skin above you where the sensitive tissue still lies, I am reminded. Reminded of the vicious months of recovery after the first time. The pain and multiplied scar tissue from infection. I am reminded of being asleep during my second son’s birth, after 48 hours of laboring to see his face. Reminded of his daddy getting skin to skin with him while I laid on a cold operating table, oblivious, for the first precious hour of his life.
You scare me. I have often pictured myself with more than two children. Now I realize my two boys would be “enough.” But what if we are blessed with more? You scare me to death. What if I try again for the birth of my dreams, and I fail? What if I am not allowed to try, because you make me a “risk?” Opening you up again would mean not being able to take care of my (very active) boys, and having to humble myself by asking others to bear the burden of taking care of my family. And bearing the excruciating, indescribable pain. Again.
You teach me. You have taught me to seek the Lord more desperately than I ever have before. You brought me to the breaking point; reduced me to my knees in prayer. You have brought me to places of humility to which I never would have willingly subjected myself. Having others hand me my newborn child every time he cried in the hospital. Having others care for my toddler because I physically could not do it myself. Having to spend two weeks living in my in-laws’ house four hours away from home so that they could help me take care of my family when my husband had to go back to work. I am thankful for these hard lessons, as they have brought me to a sweet new place in my communion with God and increased my appreciation for family members who were his hands and feet to me during that time.
I love you. Despite all of this, I can’t help but love you in a strange and heartbreaking way. I am thankful for modern medicine, and for the fact that my perfect, healthy, beautiful sons were able to come safely into this world at the end of the day. Had my labors been 100 years ago, who knows how it might have played out. I am grateful that I don’t have to wonder. My boys are here. And they came through you. I can’t NOT love you for allowing two of my greatest earthly treasures to pass through you. They are worth the pain, for certain.
You are my story. You are a part of me forever. You may fade slightly, but you will never be gone. You are there when I catch a glimpse of my body in the mirror before a shower, and when my husband looks at me. You are there when I’m in a yoga position that puts pressure on you uncomfortably, so I have to adjust. You will always be a sensitive spot I reach to cover during tickle fights with my toddlers, lest someone accidentally kick it again and take my breath away. You make wearing low rise button up jeans a thing of the past. You’re ever present. You are beautiful, ugly, powerful, and painful.
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