Is there a wrong or right way to bring another life into the world? People somehow still seem to think so. Women who give birth to their babies via cesarean section are sometimes chastised for not giving birth vaginally, often viewed as the "natural" way. And some outspoken critics have publically declared c-sections "not actual birth." But despite the attempts to shame them, women who have had c-sections are speaking up.
Lifestyle blogger, PANDA ambassador, and Mummy Time co-host Olivia White had no problem dismissing the fallacy that having a c-section is taking the “easy way out.” The Australian mother of two took to Instagram after the birth of her second child to post this close-up photo of her belly.
White displayed the “6 inch gash in [her] abdomen" that looked "like a gutted shark who had the body parts of the surfer it ate retrieved” in the selfie, which she initially took to view the scar herself. You know, since she “couldn’t see past [her] still inflamed uterus.”
And in case showing the scar wasn't enough to prove c-sections are no joke, White went further to describe the (pretty painful) experience. She said the sensation she experienced after the anesthesia wore off wasn’t much more enjoyable than the “feels like your vital organs are trying to escape.’” And the feeling she endured while being sewn back up? White wrote: “It’s like you’ve been hit by a bus which then backed over you just to make sure it didn’t miss you the first time."
In the hundreds of comments that White’s post garnered, many women thanked her and offered up tales of their own c-sections. Several recalled the feelings of guilt they experienced after receiving negative comments after their deliveries.
In 2017, about 32% of babies in the United States were born by C-section. C-sections are often required when delivering a baby vaginally would risk the life of either the mother or the baby. If these statistics, and White’s photo and graphic description, aren’t enough to adjust the attitudes of naysayers, then it’s difficult to imagine anything that would.
In spite of all the pain associated with the grueling experience, White could definitively say it was worth it.
“But for all the skin tight Kookai dresses I bought while pregnant that now make me look like I have a kangaroo pouch – I wouldn’t change it!," she said. "Because if it wasn’t for the ability to deliver my babies this way, they might not be here.”
Kayla Heisler is an essayist and Pushcart Prize-nominated poet. She is a contributing writer for Color My Bubble. Her work appears in New York's Best Emerging Poets anthology.