Friday, March 15, 2019
My Beautiful Scar
I used to not think my c section scar was beautiful.
Truth be told, some of it was because I couldn't see it. Like, even when I looked in the mirror, I couldn't actually see it. The sag of my belly from pregnancy weight gain and loss still hung over it, covering it up. Which, in some ways, I was grateful for. And yet in others, I didn't like the sag. But out of sight, out of mind...mostly.
I wanted to like my scar, but I didn't. It told a story, a story I hadn't yet accepted. It may have been unseen, but deep down I knew the truth. And the truth I was telling myself was not on the positive side.
For awhile now, I saw my scar as a reminder. A reminder that my body isn't strong, it failed me. That I wasn't strong, I wasn't good enough, I wasn't beautiful anymore.
You may not have seen my scar, but it wore me. I knew it was there and felt like it was mocking me.
I had three pregnancies. One miscarriage and two amazing boys.
My first pregnancy experience was finding out I was pregnant, finding there was something wrong, then finding out that we were facing a miscarriage at 17 weeks, delivering our baby, and walking through a whole different grief.
My second pregnancy I started spotting at 7 weeks, all looked good and normal, was placed on high risk, restricted lifting, high levels of amniotic fluid though no one area by itself was a concern, weekly screens, readings, and ultrasounds, water breaking, stalling at 4 cm dilated, and delivering via c-sec.
Mind you the doctor I had for the first pregnancy/delivery and second delivery did not have not have tact and was good at making you feel like you failed in some way.
When she leaned against the wall, foot propped up and arms cross, nonchalantly telling me my baby expired and then telling me not to cry, she didn't mean for me to cry, all the while not letting me know leading up to due that date that I could face a miscarriage at any point...I left feeling like my body had failed me. On delivery day, she came in basically made me get an epidural so we could move things along, not even showing an ounce of sympathy or hope. And yet again, I felt my body had failed me because I couldn't do induction and delivery right. I found a new doctor at the same clinic after this experience.
When she was the one on for delivery during my second pregnancy she basically yelled at me, tell me I needed an epidural because it was ridiculous that I asked her to take checks a little slower, so I could prep my mind and breathe through it to relax better. And then after 24 she said okay time for a c-section, I will go get the OR ready while you let it sink in. It wasn't even given as an option. It was here, give up and let's get this done. Now, granted I really didn't have another option as my water had broke, but even with stuff to get contractions going I didn't get past 4 cm. I kind of feel like once they gave me the epidural they forgot about me other than to flip me over every so often. One can only hope to have their doctor from the clinic on delivery date, but like most, kiddos come when they are ready and you get whomever is on call. Once again, I felt my body had failed me.
Come third pregnancy, I was normal and boring. This became the phrase and I took heart to it. My new doctor was all for a v-bac. She was so encouraging along the way for both my second pregnancy and third. She still is. I tried, I gave it my all. Went through contractions, tried to v-bac, but ended up with a c-sec (again). The doctor on call was amazing, not my usual doctor, but she was so encouraging, yet kind and honest. She said I tried my best and gave it my all, but my body just was not designed to deliver naturally. I laid on the OR table and the tears started flowing. This time around I had a doula. She could come into the OR before hubby could. She held my hand, said everything was going to be alright, I really did my best. But I still couldn't help to feel that feeling that my body had once again failed me.
Faced post-partum depression and anxiety, began to question my value and enoughness, a fierce inner negative critic, a whole lot of shame and guilt.
Rather than face this, talk about it, let it go, I sunk it down and let it keep stacking on itself, became an emotional eater and control freak. I was sinking more often and occasionally swimming. I was not thriving, not finding joy, not finding peace, not finding rest. The anxiety, fear, and worry just kept gripping and crippling.
A year ago I finally realized, or well maybe accepted that some things needed to change and a lot of that change had to start with me.
I have been working on letting out, peeling back the layers, finding joy in the little things, putting things into the positive light.
Not to say I don't still get that overwhelmed feeling, or that negative thoughts don't roll into mind, but now I can let them in, acknowledge them and talk about them, then let them go. Some days, naturally are easier than others. But usually it's when I face an unexpected set back, am tired, or I'm not reaching the goals I set for myself.
But the other day as I was going about my usual daily stuff, a thought came to mind. If my hubby can and does still love my body the way it is despite all the changes it has gone through and battle scars, then why can't I?
Yes, I said battle scars. Because really, isn't that what scars show? A story, an adventure, a battle, a change. Either way, scars tell a story. But even more so, I was beginning to realize how hard I was being on myself. I began to question this. Why am I so hard on myself?
I wouldn't talk this way to others, so why do I let myself.
I had become uncomfortable in my own skin. If you had asked me, I couldn't tell you a good thing about me, my personality, strengths, talents. I was my own worst critic, and that inner voice was no help all too often.
Sure, are there some things I don't like about myself? You bet. But I am also learning to takes those in stride and accept them. Change what I can when I can, starting with my own inner response, thoughts, and words.
My body has been through amazing things in the 37 years I have had so far. It tells me how strong I am, how blessed I am, how beautiful I am, that I have courage to face the tough stuff, that I am surrounded by some really great people.
My c-sec scar tells a story. A beautiful, interwoven story filled with love, storms, hope, strength, courage, hope, change.
What is your scar telling you?