While I was pregnant I envisioned my soon to be natural birth. I learnt everything I could about how to give birth naturally. I had a fear of going under the knife if anything were to go wrong during birth, in my head having a cesarean section was not an option for me. I was given information about how to prepare in the event of a c-section and I choose not to read it. I glossed over the hospital guidelines for c-section.
The reason for the aversion towards a c-section was the scar. For me it wouldn’t just be little faint line but a large raised red zipper of keloid or hypertrophic scarring. I have a few keloid scars from previous surgeries, minor injuries and burns. Keloid scarring is when a wound over-heals , an overgrowth of collagen tissue. Keloid is not contagious, and is not harmful to your health, the most damage keloid does is to your vanity and self-love of your body.
My birth did not end up the way I had envisioned, as births never do follow the birth plan you painstakingly detail with every last wish and whim. After my waters broke on my due date I waited four days of stagnated contractions. My doctor worked with me as I tried to get things moving to allow me to give birth naturally. As each day passed I became increasingly tired and nervous that my labour was not progressing. If nothing happened after the fourth day we would need to plan for either an induction or c-section. My baby intervened, by the morning of the fourth day he went into distress and I was rushed in for an emergency c-section. It was such a blur as I was wheeled into the operating theatre within 10 minutes.
My beautiful son was delivered into the world safely and the only sign of his distress was being covered in merconium. I was so thankful for the delivery of my son but I now have a permanent reminder of how my son came into the world. I was worried how the scar would turn out despite my husband reassuring me that the doctor had done an exceptional job with the stitching, my scar did not look like the rest of keloid scars. There are so many images in the media of women bouncing back to a fabulous body after birth, I felt I had no chance to look good again after being stretched as well as scarred.
Every now and then I would think about my scar, my imperfection, my mark of being out of control. Now I have lost the baby weight and more my scar is more visible to me. The feeling of inadequacy of not being able to have a natural birth the way I wanted to simmered to the surface of my thoughts. Reading Wellness Mama I realised that I need to make peace with my scar. Reading Peppermint Magazine (Summer 2014) I discovered the beautiful bodies of mothers through the eyes of Jade Beall.
Through photography Jade uses portraiture as a powerful tool for healing and empowerment. Jade uses her camera to explore the physical aspects of motherhood from the pressure of looking a certain way the media portrays, to breastfeeding to c-sections. The camera reveals the truth and beauty in mothers, shows the self-love and self-acceptance as inspiration to others who may have a distorted body image or self-loathing and trying to be someone else.
Seeing these beautiful bodies of other mothers made me realise that I too am a beautiful mother. My scar is a testament to what I have been through and I now am learning make peace with my scar and be more accepting of my amazing body.
“Little by little, we can all relearn to see ourselves as utterly magnificent. Just as we are, right now” – Jade Beall
(quoted from Peppermint Magazine Summer 2014)