Stuff that catches my eye … and leaves an imprint on my brain

I saw this image recently — and it made my breath catch in my throat.

Both because it is so _ _ _ _ _ _ (insert your own word) as it is lovely and delicate and vulnerable and … I don’t know, gruesome and frightening, all at the same time.

It conjures up a whole lot of emotions in me when I see it.  (clearly the child standing is not the newborn, and there might be a newborn or sibling who is not featured in this image)

It just thought it left an imprint on me … and not in a negative way.

My eyes kept wanting to relook at this image, and stare at it.  My brain kept processing this image and seeing different things.

I recall how mutilated I felt after my c-section (the third one).

I was really sore and it was winter.

I felt like I had gone ten rounds with someone large and powerful, and I had lost. I really was sore – but it was also because I was older, had two other kids to run after, and could not take the time to lie in bed and recover as you should from major surgery.

I recall being very anxious on the day that Isabelle was born.

I was sure something very bad was going to happen  – and I coped with it my ignoring I was about to have a baby.  Even on the way to the hospital I stalled and got Kennith to go to the mall so I could pick out breastfeeding bras.

I was so far into denial that a baby was about to come out of my body that it was rather disturbing.  But I compartementalise very well.  I have neat boxes for most things in my head (most days, this by the way is not one of those days.)

I am sure having my body all stiff from being panicked and anxious probably did not help, and only added to the discomfort.

This image this may or may not have been that – and as said, odds are it is photo-shopped quite heavily — but I recall how “ugly” I felt and how ugly the scar was/is.

But it isn’t is it?

I still have my scar – I have keloids so I scar quite badly and it looks pretty grim for about a year before it settles down and does not look all red and angry. (My c-section scar always looks like it is ‘infected’ for the first year as it really looks red and is sore and it just not a happy little line.)

It is a white indent now – I do prefer not to look at it though. I am not sure why.  I seldom look at it directly or in the mirror.  I never touch it.

But it really is a bit of a war wound — and I won.

Maybe one day I will not look at it in such a negative light.

I am curious how other moms view their scars from child-birth – which ever route you chose/or had to go through in the end, and what ever the outcome was and whether these scars affect the way we view our bodies.

 

Please note:  I apologise I cannot credit the image to the source.  It is not mine – I had it on my hard drive and have no idea where it originally was sources from.  I am not sure of the context of where this original image was used and whether it is heavily photoshopped. 

I apologise not being able to credit it back to the source or the photographer.

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29 Comments

  1. Wonderful sensitive post Celeste.To be honest I can hardly see my scar – mostly because it hides under a roll of skin (twin skint hat is), but also my doc is famed to make the tiniest of incisions. Kid you not – they could nto find the previous one at the second Csection But on an emotional level, I see it as a triumph – if it was not for that I would not have had a single one of my kids .

    Reply
  2. Charne

     /  August 19, 2011

    At first when I looked at this pic, I had to click away really fast. Then I went back and stared for a while. Thought about it again driving to work this morning and here is what I think it is:

    The “scar” is not real. It represents what the mother sees or feels has been done to her body by pregnancy and childbirth. It’s not really that bad, it’s just the way she perceives it, that is that bad. The way the child lovingly strokes it and looks up at it with that softness in her eyes, is as if she is saying: “thank you for doing what you done”.

    That’s my take.

    Reply
  3. Annelene

     /  August 18, 2011

    I’ve had two c sections in a matter of 20 months. I look at my scar proudly. It reminds me of the two most important days of my life. At this point I’ve gotten over the fear I felt and the pnd . But my scar reminds me of how far I’ve come as a mother and woman. Its just such a visual reminder of what our bodies hearts and minds when thro on that particular day.

    Reply
  4. Random question… how did you find my post/blog, Celeste?

    Reply
    • reluctantmom

       /  August 19, 2011

      Jess from Miss Preggy sent it to me, and so did Julz who stumbled on it. It was funny as I had written yesterday’s post already – and it was odd how they were about the same thing, sort of, but I liked your take on it. My head had not got there yet.

      Reply
  5. And I totally think it was a tummy tuck from her pregnancy with ‘that’ child.

    Reply
    • josie

       /  August 21, 2011

      Natasha – MY husband is a surgeon, he says this is a scar from plastic surgery…. puts an interesting spin on the whole thing dont you think?

      Reply
  6. “I have a scar on my stomach where my heart came out”. Just saying.

    Reply
    • reluctantmom

       /  August 18, 2011

      It is such a lovely phrase, and totally switches the thought of your scar as ugly.

      Reply
      • Mine is curved up, and kind of looks like a smiley face. The doctor removed my previous scar so I got like a free little tummy tuck in the process. Genius.

        Reply
  7. Ok, this totally freaked me out! I had a caesar (my son was stuck) but my scar is tiny, maybe 10-15cm long and covered completely by my panty line. I can wear a bikini and you don’t see a thing. I know the scars were much bigger in past times, but this looks like a modern photograph, so why on earth is the scar so big? What happened to this poor woman?

    Or maybe the photo is just a comment on the mom’s vanity… like how she has this beautiful child, with possibly a small caesar scar, and then she goes and does this to herself all in search of a flatter tummy?

    I don’t know. Yikes!

    (@Colleen, I also don’t think of my scar as the place they took my son out of me, actually, now that you mention it. Huh.)

    Reply
  8. Ros

     /  August 18, 2011

    I have had seven abdominal surgeries in the past few years, including 2 c-sections, gall bladder, hernia x2, gastric bypass, cystitus. (6 of these in the last 6 yrs) And my c-sections are the nicest looking scars of the lot. Neatly done one on top of the other, and perfectly hidden under my, ahem, lower michelin. Fine line – had 22 staples, but also took a while to heal – and funny how for ages after each, i could not feel my lower tummy’s skin – almost like that dead man’s finger thinger that kids do when they rub their fingers together? – OK – a whole other topic. I used to lie in the bath and pull the one or to hairs under my belly out with my fingers and not feel a thing? – OK, another another topic! I would have to agree that this is possibly also a tummy tuck – done by a dr of perhaps shady repute? Who know, maybe not a dr at all – we had a poser in a small dorp across the mountains from us – doing all sorts of Frankensteiny procedures on the locals at the state hospital. And he was a very naughty and busy hacker – took a few years before people began to question his credentials? This said quack also sported a full head of braids of the rasta variety and did some low flying on the stuff he smoked between patients!

    Reply
    • reluctantmom

       /  August 18, 2011

      This is clearly one of the strangest comments I have ever had. t might well be spam, but Ros, we are going to keep you for “I used to lie in the bath and pull the one or to hairs under my belly out with my fingers and not feel a thing? – ” and because you made my right eyebrow sort of shoot up in a questioning sort of way ……

      Reply
  9. Spirited Mama

     /  August 18, 2011

    I had natural child birth and I do miss my flat unstretched tummy. Okay, most days…. But I remind myself that my stretch marks are my mommy tattoos and it’s a constant reminder of my precious Joshua! Some days it takes a lot of convincing that I’m ok with my tattoos.

    It’s difficult to comprehend how DH can look past those stretch marks and love me and lust after me just like before. I heart him for it ‘cos it helps me to think that I’m still beautiful.

    P.S. Joshua now loves to examine my tummy and trace my stretch marks

    Reply
  10. IMOAN

     /  August 18, 2011

    Beautiful! I’ve also shared this with all my friends. I gave birth naturally, no scars bt the ugly stretchmarks and the extra rolls have been such a frustration for me until a moment ago. I’ve been starving myself, taking all sorts of things and spending lots of money on creams to make them all go away. I’m now very proud to be wearing my heart on my stomach. Lovely read, thank you!!

    Reply
  11. Julz

     /  August 18, 2011

    This post really tugs at my heart. I see my scar as such a bitter sweet time of my life. Everytime I look at it I recall my son’s birth the unplanned c section and then the emergency hysterectomy two hours later. It’s just so hard to look at it and be happy and proud. I feel sick to my stomach when I see it. I just posted on Moomie after seeing your response to http://clayjarpeople.co.za/2011/08/18/ugly-beautiful/ oddly I called it “Wear your heart on your stomach” . I intend to take a photo of my scar and post it and hope other mommies will too.

    Reply
    • reluctantmom

       /  August 18, 2011

      Julz, I love love the idea of “wear your heart on your stomach” I really am thinking about a great studio day and get 6 – 10 scar moms in and do a photo shoot, individually in a studio one Saturday morning, I think it would be lovely to have a record, that you can look at.

      I’d like one of my own, and really never look at it. What a cool idea. I am going to roll it around in my head and see if I can think of how to do this.

      Reply
      • Julz

         /  August 18, 2011

        That sounds awesome. I would love to take part. It has been something I have wanted to do for a long time. As part of my healing. Tried to do it myself but wasn’t easy.

        Reply
        • reluctantmom

           /  August 18, 2011

          I need to just get my head around it – as it has to be something you want to look at – but I think a studio, basic lighting, nice black and white, standing and just crossing your arms over would be really cool – or something.

          I need to just run it through my mind and get a few volunteers. Nice to know you are in.

          Reply
  12. Katherine

     /  August 18, 2011

    Not sure if I’m right but my husband is a plastic surgeon and that looks very much like a tummy tuck scar, not a c-section one as I know tummy tuck scars are much longer than c-section one’s are. Thankfully I had my girls naturally so have no scar. Not that I’m a pro-natural birth psycho, I was just lucky that I was able to without any problems whatsoever with the kind help of an epidural each time.

    Reply
    • reluctantmom

       /  August 18, 2011

      When I looked at it – and based on my experience I thought the scar was very “tummy tuck” as well.
      But it might have been a c-section with some other issues.
      Katherine “but my husbnad is a plastic surgeon” is of real interest to me ……. nice, very nice!!!

      Reply
      • Katherine

         /  August 19, 2011

        Believe me, it’s like having a builder, plumber, electrician, etc. for a husband, of almost no use to me whatsoever. I commented the other day about how nice some girls b@@bs were and how I fancied a pair like that (not big but just back to how mine were pre-2 kids and breastfeeding) and was told he would recommend someone!!!! I gave up asking for liposuction and took up running again which at least sorted out any need for lipo but resulted in my b@@bs shrinking. I tried telling him that I’d do a great PR job amongst all my 30-something post-baby/breastfeeding friends but so far no luck.

        Back to the scar – I know if it’s a real emergency c-section then they do have to make a much wider incision if they are in big hurry to get the baby out. I once treated a lady in the UK the day after she’d lost her baby – they cut her horizontally, then vertically trying to get the baby out and the baby still died so she was left with 2 scars and no baby. I didn’t have children yet and it was heartbreaking for me then, can only now vaguely imagine the depth of her devastation and to be left with such huge reminders of her loss.

        Reply
  13. Colleen

     /  August 18, 2011

    You know, I dont ever really think of my scar as the place they took Evan out of me? I was very dissasociative in the ceasar, I actually asked my husband if we could come back and do it another day! I have several scars from operations so to me it is just another operational scar. I do touch it and look at it. But really not in any special way… This has got me thinking about it though 🙂

    Reply
  14. I need to read your post again to see what your gist is, but it did bring to mind the extra second stomach that I NOW have due to the c-sections. It is NOT from the slab of chocolate that I average daily or the cakes, bread, gravy’s and sauces that I can’t resist. To me the child shows naive acceptance of the scar and wound as children do. Truth be told my stomach was/is so big, my scar/wound was almost covered by my fat roll/s. I’m am morbidly fascinated by how flat her stomach is after birth. (again……is that shallow of me?)

    However, it does bring back up how frightened I was and how insecure I was with the first child and how much easier it was with the second child.

    A c-section scar and the pain attached is piss all to what comes afterwards. It’s just a little taster.

    Reply
  15. I sent this to all the mothers i know this morning xxx

    http://clayjarpeople.co.za/2011/08/18/ugly-beautiful/

    Reply
    • reluctantmom

       /  August 18, 2011

      That was kind of freaky that we are talking about the same thing but differenty — I like the “wear your heart on your stomach” what a super great idea … I am trying to think what I can do with that.

      Reply
      • Coco

         /  August 18, 2011

        Love your blog! Thank God I found it, now to find my sanity! I had a laparotomy and the scar is horrible, from just below my belly to the neither regions. My C-sec was cut on top of it. It will always remind me of my journey to become a mommy, my battle scars.

        Reply
        • reluctantmom

           /  August 19, 2011

          I think the idea that it is “where they took your heart out of your stomach” is such a lovely way to think about it. I know for me it might adjust my way I look at my scar.

          Reply
    • Thanks Jess – I’m so honored that my post is so popular with moms… I must say I find it kind of funny… I tend to write for myself and when i get comments or link-backs I am so humbled! Thanks to Celeste and all others who read my post!

      Reply

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