"I now belong to a badass tribe of mamas with the scar to prove that I had a baby cut out of me and lived to tell the tale," one new mom wrote in her now-viral Facebook post.
It seems like every day a new headline pops up about a mom who has been shamed for some completely natural aspect of giving birth (like you know, having stretch marks). But thanks to social media, certain previously taboo topics, like post-partum depression or breastfeeding in public, are finally becoming destigmatized. Still, even in our culture of over-sharing, it isn't often that we hear the raw, unfiltered accounts from new moms dealing with the physical (and often emotional) stress of a C-section birth—and the judgment that can sadly come with it. Thanks to one fed up mom, though, that veil has been lifted.
"Oh. A C-section? So you didn't actually give birth. It must have been nice to take the easy way out like that," Raye Lee starts her post, which contains several photos of her C-section scars. "Ah, yes. My emergency C-section was absolutely a matter of convenience. It was really convenient to be in labor for 38 hours before my baby went into distress and then every contraction was literally STOPPING his HEART," she writes in her post, which now has more than 24,000 shares.
She goes on to explain the shock of learning that she was being prepped for major abdominal surgery in order to save her baby's life, and describes in vivid detail what her process of giving birth was really like. (Related: This Mommy Blogger Celebrated Her Post-Baby Body with an Inspirational Naked Selfie)
"Having a shrieking infant pulled out of an incision that is only 5 inches long, but is cut and shredded and pulled until it rips apart through all of your layers of fat, muscle, and organs (which they lay on the table next to your body, in order to continue to cut until they reach your child) is a completely different experience than I had imagined my son's birth to be."
Contrary to anyone who believes a Cesarean is the 'easy way out,' Raye Lee explains how the surgery was "the most painful thing I have experienced in my life" and that the recovery has been equally brutal. "You use your core muscles for literally everything... even sitting down, imagine not being able to use them because they have literally been shredded and mangled by a doctor and not being able to repair them for 6+ weeks because your body has to do it naturally," she writes. (It's for this reason that docs recommend avoiding abdominal exercises for at least three months, although the area around the incision may remain numb for six months or longer, as FitPregnancy reports in Your Changing Body After a C-Section.
Raye Lee is right: While giving birth surgically is often perceived as 'easier,' in most cases, it's not. "For mothers who don't have a risk condition, a Cesarean is actually less safe for mom and baby than a vaginal birth," childbirth researcher Eugene Declercq, Ph.D. told Fit Pregnancy.
Despite her scarring (literally) experience, she has a positive outlook on her birthing story, and considers herself part of a "badass tribe of mamas." And while she didn't exactly intend for her brutally honest post to go viral, Raye Lee writes in a follow-up Facebook post that she's "so happy that people are spreading the awareness that not all mommies can deliver the 'natural way.' I am not weak. I am a warrior." Glad to help you spread the awareness, Raye Lee!