A Note from Mary on Postpartum | My Scar is My Story

Motherhood
Friday, May 12th, 2023

I can still remember the first time. The lights in the OR, laying on the table, Madison holding my hand as I tried hard not to shake uncontrollably. In all my planning and preparation for giving birth, I had never once planned for a c-section. No one talks about it in the baby books, you rarely see anyone glowing about it online, and no one ever mentioned it in the classes. And maybe it’s because of this lack of awareness and education after my first c-section, I found myself plunged into grief while mourning my plan of a natural birth. I felt betrayed by my body, ashamed, like I had failed my baby somehow.

Fast forward a short three years and two more c-sections, I’ve now learned that 1 out of 3 women have c-sections in America. And yet there is little to no education or preparation for expecting mothers that a c-section is one of the very real possible outcomes. Combined with the emotional, and sometimes physical, trauma that sometimes occurs, especially during emergency c-sections, it can feel like a deeply isolating experience. I know it was for me. 

This time around with Knight, before I got to meet and hold him, I found my mind replaying my experiences giving birth to Navy and Indie. The rush of memories came crashing in as I prepared to meet our youngest. 

When Navy was born, it was fast. Everyone in the operating room moved with practiced speed and precision. The doctors and nurses were acting calm – it was anything but. I remember crying in panic when her little heart rate struggled to come up, and Madison holding lavender essential oils up to my nose as they began cauterizing. It was traumatic and emotional. But, then I got to meet her and the world stopped. My love for her was complete and constant. I was reborn— a mother for the first time. Three days later, once home, I bury my head in a pillow and revisit each frame – simultaneously trying to remember and forget the birth of my daughter and of my new self. Sadness rumbles through me and wetter than wet tears offload. Then, shame comes and I feel messy and disgusted with myself. I didn’t show up for my baby, I didn’t give her the right start. I hold back deep sobs trying to dodge the pain in my abdomen and boobs, which are leaking and the size of conventional watermelons. Months go by and we fall into a routine and fall in love with each new stage, swearing “THIS is the best.”

The second go around, with Indie, I remember coming into my surgery with a sense of joy and lightness because I knew the ropes. I was able to focus on the pure excitement of meeting my BOY for the first time and just feeling overwhelmed by wanting to know him, and how he was going to change our family. What will he look like? How much will he weigh? Will I love him as much as I do his sister, and will she love him? All of those questions were answered immediately as they laid him on my chest and I felt my heart expand to envelop all of his tiny being. 

This third and final time, Madison and I felt like pros walking in. We prepped for three nights away from our toddlers, packing our bags the night before, and chatting comfortably about work on the drive to the hospital. Honestly, it kind of felt like a mini getaway! Going into this c-section I felt a profound sense of peace. Meeting Knight felt like meeting someone I’ve known all my life. I was able to really relax and settle into the moment — maybe because it was our third rodeo, maybe it was peaceful, constant rain that day. I felt present, excited, and ready to meet our baby. After a mere 25 mins (and more tugging and pulling than I’d experienced with the other two) he was here. Blue (almost grey) and with arms and legs fully sprawled out, he let out his first cry and my heart said “Good job buddy, WE did it.” This is us. Our family is complete and it feels emotional knowing Knight will be my last. I’m in awe of how much love the human heart is capable of feeling. 

“With my first c-section I didn’t recognize myself. I felt like a failure. I’d lost a sense of home in my own body. I never talked about it. We need to talk about it. ” 

Navy’s birth was traumatic, and sometime between the twentieth and twenty-fourth hours of laboring, I abandoned the body that I felt had abandoned me. When I needed and wanted to come back to myself, I couldn’t find the way. Everything was different. I was different. While the whole world celebrated, I grieved. Nothing went the way I imagined it would. Motherhood felt more like an end than a beginning. Sometimes, that’s the way the beginnings work. In small steps to the bathroom, great big secret tears, and sleeplessness, I learned grace. I forgave myself, not for failing to meet my expectations, but for setting them in the first place. I learned to love the soft silvery stripes on my skin, the clothes covered in breastmilk, and the long pink incision between my hips. When I thought motherhood was breaking me, it was busy healing me, teaching me, and welcoming me. 

“When I catch my reflection stepping into the shower, or getting dressed, I’m reminded of my own strength, resilience, tenacity, and grit. It is my badge of honor.”

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41 responses to “A Note from Mary on Postpartum | My Scar is My Story

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  1. Mary’s heartfelt note on postpartum and embracing her scar as her story is truly inspiring. Her vulnerability and strength shine through, reminding us of the power of embracing our unique experiences and finding beauty in our personal journeys.

  2. Thank you, Mary, for sharing your deeply personal and heartfelt journey through motherhood and your experiences with c-section births. Your vulnerability and honesty in discussing the emotional and physical aspects of your childbirth experiences are truly inspiring.

    The lack of awareness and education surrounding c-sections is a significant issue that many women face. Your story sheds light on the isolation and feelings of betrayal that can accompany this unexpected turn of events. By sharing your own journey, you provide comfort and validation to others who may have experienced similar emotions.

    It’s remarkable how you’ve navigated the complexities of your childbirth experiences and found strength and healing in the midst of it all. Your resilience, self-forgiveness, and acceptance of your body’s transformation are beautiful reflections of the power and beauty of motherhood.

    Your message of embracing the physical reminders of your journey, such as the scars and stretch marks, as badges of honor is a powerful testament to the strength and resilience that motherhood brings. It’s through these visible marks that you carry your story and the profound love for your children.

    Thank you for sharing your story and encouraging open dialogue about the realities of c-section births and the transformative journey of motherhood. Your words will undoubtedly resonate with many, offering solace and empowerment to those who may have struggled with similar feelings.

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  4. It’s essential for society to be more inclusive in discussing different childbirth experiences, as each journey is unique, and every birthing choice should be respected and celebrated. No parent should feel ashamed or like they have failed because their birth plan did not go as expected.

    Thank you to the author for sharing her story and highlighting the importance of creating a more supportive and compassionate environment for all parents, regardless of their birthing experiences. Such narratives remind us of the strength and resilience it takes to navigate the unpredictable journey of parenthood, and they offer solace to those who may be going through similar challenges.

  5. I extend my sincere gratitude to the author for graciously sharing her narrative and underscoring the significance of cultivating an environment imbued with support and empathy for all parents, irrespective of their unique birthing encounters. These chronicles serve as poignant reminders of the unwavering fortitude and tenacity required to traverse the capricious odyssey of parenthood, while also extending solace to those who find themselves grappling with akin tribulations.

  6. It is clear that the author has devoted significant time and effort to research and develop their arguments, resulting in a work that is both informative and engaging.

  7. It’s important to remember that you did not fail your baby and that having a c-section is a common occurrence. It’s understandable to feel isolated and traumatized by the experience.

  8. I am very aware of Mary’s experience in all of this, having incubated, delivered, and cared for three little, vulnerable beings myself. For me, the Christmas season is inextricably linked to the Drift Boss experiences of late pregnancy (Advent), labor and delivery (Christmas Day), and postpartum parenthood.

  9. This heartfelt post resonates with the profound and often unspoken experiences of mothers who have gone through the challenges of C-sections. It highlights the emotional journey of motherhood, including the initial shock and feelings of inadequacy, but ultimately, the resilience and strength that emerge. The author’s reflection on their own transformation and self-acceptance is a beautiful reminder of the power of motherhood. Your story is an inspiring testimony to the journey of many women, and it’s essential to share these experiences to support and empower others on their motherhood journey. Thank you for sharing your story.

  10. Embracing postpartum journeys, just like appreciating the perfect baby remote teether, Mary’s words echo resilience. Much like a teether provides comfort, her story showcases strength, reminding us of the power of embracing our scars and stories alike.

  11. Each birth presented its unique set of challenges and emotions, yet the love I experienced for each of my children remained steadfast and limitless. doodle baseball

  12. Creating a supportive environment where women feel empowered to share their birth experiences, regardless of how they unfold, can help combat feelings of isolation and foster a sense of community and understanding among mothers.

  13. Who knew my scar would become my superhero badge, marking the births of my incredible children! C-section, natural, or whatever, every birth is a warrior’s journey. Here’s to all the moms, embracing our scars, and rocking motherhood like the fierce, unstoppable forces of nature we are!

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  15. Your experience with childbirth, especially navigating unexpected c-sections, resonates with many women who often find themselves unprepared for such outcomes. The emotional journey of mourning the loss of a planned birth experience is often overlooked, yet it’s a significant part of the childbirth narrative for many. The lack of education and awareness surrounding c-sections can indeed leave mothers feeling isolated and struggling to cope with feelings of failure and trauma. Sharing stories like yours helps shed light on the complexities of childbirth and offers support to others who may be going through similar experiences.

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