Friday, 11 August 2017

The Scars That Make Us Who We Are

I will never forget the day I sat down at the doctor's office and the doctor told me I would need to deliver my son via c-section. Safety was what mattered most to me, but a sudden rush of fear pulsated through my body as I thought of the idea of intensive surgery. All I wanted was a healthy baby, but my hopes were that obviously surgery wouldn't be an option. I left the appointment more scared and nervous than anything.

I had never had surgery. I actually had never broken a bone and had only had stitches once in my life while barely conscious. Visions of "House" and "Grey's Anatomy" flooded my brain and I feared everything about the procedure. 
For weeks I worked through my feeling pretty much on a daily basis. I told myself daily, my mom had done, my friends had done it, I could do it. Finally, that Sunday arrived, and I remember the panic as we walked into the hospital. I couldn't stop shaking.

In the OR, they move fast, almost too fast. A part of you wants everything to slow down but it doesn't. You follow behind as they lead, they ask you more than a few questions and sign papers in what feels like a matter of seconds. They lead you into the room alone, have you lean over for the needle and with a quick pinch you are laying down, sheet up and the whole thing begins. I didn't even have time to think it all through and honestly a part of me is grateful for that. If it had slowed down, I would have panicked but there just wasn't time for it. Within 15 minutes my son was out, and although my fear of everything happening to my body was not over, what I was there to do was and I knew without a shadow of a doubt I was in the best hands possible. 

The following hours after surgery were some of the best in my entire life. Holding my first born and connecting with him like no one else. Within a couple days we went home, although the basics of new parenting were hard, it was all so memorable in a good way. Within a few days of arriving home, I received a call from the Health Unit. I was struggling with breastfeeding and due to my c-section, I struggled to leave the house. The nurse kindly offered to come to our house for our first apt. She sat down with me when she arrived and went through a few basics. How I was feeling, how breastfeeding was going, just basic self and baby care. I think she had possibly read on my file that at some point I had struggled with an eating disorder in my early 20's because her next question were, "how are you feeling about your new body?" I was a little caught off guard. I had just had a baby days ago and was for sure not thinking about my "new body", nor my scar. She asked me if I had taken a good look at my new scar because it was going to be there forever, and this was my new body, scar and all. Right away, I thought hard on the question. Was I bothered by my scar? Was I going to be bothered by it as month go on? This is my new body, am I ok with this? 

I thought hard.... and thankfully, nothing. I felt nothing but in a good way. I didn't love it but I didn't hate that day.

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As months went on though, I reminded myself of that question as I looked in the mirror. As my body slowly changed over the months and my scar slowly healed looking more and more like the scar I would have forever. I told myself often, how do you feel about your new body? 
During this time my mind kept slipping back to that one other scar I had from my mid-teens. I have a scar that stretches about two inches and that scar comes loaded with unhappy memories, memories of one of the most difficult times of my life. A time full of anger, confusion, sadness, and hate. I despised that time of my life and that tiny scar was packed with a whole lot of those emotions. I always wanted to tattoo over it and would have done anything to have it disappear.
For whatever reason, I feared I would feel the same way about this one and ultimately maybe not love my post-mom body that I before children had worked so hard to love.
But no, this time was different. Although I didn't love my scar in that moment, I sure as hell didn't hate it.

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As my son grew, and we bonded more and more over the years something happened. My love for my scar grew. I always felt as if I was supposed to hate it, that it was some ugly thing on my body no body wants. Why is it we feel ashamed? As much as I was not capable of changing the outcome of my son's birth, my scar somehow communicated at times on those hard days of comparison and envy, that I didn't try hard enough. The silliest thought one could ever have about going through massive surgery to bring a human into this world that most of the time is what would save their lives. For most this is their only option when it comes to saving the lives of their children, how does that say you didn't try hard enough? Damn, I think that is the definition. Ladies, we all sacrifice our bodies through the act of 9 months of pregnancy and childbirth whether born naturally or via c-section and with that, we should be proud of our bodies. And over the months this is what happened when I looked in the mirror. Instead of hate for my scar, a reminder of how some stupid messages of me not trying hard enough, not having some bond with my child someone who had a natural birth would have that so many articles I read would say, a hate for my "new body" scar and all, and some lifelong ugly scar that would need to hide away from the world or maybe even my husband... no.. that scar became a symbol of so much more. Of strength and sacrifice. Of love and importantly life. It became a beautiful reminder of the best day of my life and the birth of my child who otherwise may have died during birth. That day I would do over and over again and wouldn't change a thing. There was no room for dislike for the scar, whatever that healthy unit lady was referring too I wasn't feeling it, I knew that scar came with so much more than just what it looks like. I am so excited to live my life with this reminder beautifully carved into my skin. I truly fell in love with that sweet spot just above my pelvic bone that reminds me daily of that special day and the incredible person I brought into this world. 

1 comment so far

  1. Having a love for our body is something we all need, but its also something so many struggle with. I cannot thank you enough for being open and honest about these things. <3 It means a lot to me.

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