I wasn’t expecting to have a cesarean and I wasn’t prepared for how it would affect my body afterwards. I didn’t even read up on cesareans when I was pregnant so when I got one I was not prepared for its effect on my body.
After you have a cesarean you have a scar. For a few days it isn’t a pretty sight. Staples cover the area where pubic hair used to be. Staples that look like they came out of your husband’s staple gun. Then they pull them out. For awhile you can see where the holes were. Like a zipper tattoo.
The scar does fade over time. After a year it’s just a red line. No longer angry. Then it turns purple. Five and a half years later I can barely find mine at all. But the numbness guides me. The numbness remains.
After I had time to take in the fact that my abdomen wore staples that looked like a Hannibal Lector mask, I was pretty upset that I wouldn’t be able to wear a cute bikini or pretty panties ever again. But I got over that aspect of my c-section pretty fast. My issues with my cesarean were more than skin deep. As far as my body image went I was a little more concerned with my deflated beach ball tummy and stretch marks.
After you have a cesarean you have pain. You’ve just had major abdominal surgery. This is not something you should take lightly. Because your body doesn’t. Prepare to not be able to do things by yourself that you’ve otherwise always taken for granted. Like getting out of bed, lifting a baby, carrying a basket of laundry, settling into a hot bath. Ask for help. If you need to, get a bell. No, really! Laughter is great medicine. Just don’t laugh too hard because that hurts too!
However, it is important to give your scar time to heal and that is what the first few days and weeks of taking it easy are about. Special “after cesarean” panties like the C-Panty can help support and heal the scar and make you more comfortable and better about your appearance. There are also mesh panties available in hospitals which I loved, even taking some home with me and washing them a few times (they’re disposable) so I could wear them as long as possible.
As far as getting back into shape goes, it is recommended that you consult your health care provider before doing any kind of physical activity. Waiting six to eight weeks is standard. Once you have the go ahead, you should be able to do some light aerobic activity. Jogging, hiking, walking, swimming and cycling are good for losing weight. Simple abdominal exercises like kegels, pelvic tilts and pelvic floor exercises are good ways to re-build some strength in your muscles. If you join a class make sure you tell your instructor that you’ve had a cesarean section. As you feel stronger you will be able to do more and more.
Give yourself time. Everyone’s tummies go back to their previous shape at different rates and some don’t go back to their old shape ever again. This depends on several factors: How many pregnancies you’ve had, genes, your previous level of fitness and your commitment. If you’re like me, and many other moms, you will get to the point that you come to accept, and possibly even (gasp!) enjoy your new body.
Now I wear my faded scar as the badge I earned when I first became a mother.
To read about some of the emotional fall-outs from having a cesarean head over to Breastfeeding Momma’s post, My Firstborn: My C-section.
Did I leave anything out? Was there anything else that happened to your body after your cesarean that you want other moms to know about?
Hey and by the way! Did you know April is Cesarean Awareness Month? See the link for ideas you can do to participate in raising awareness.
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