Who knew I’d give birth to another baby right after a C-section? I’ve realized this month marks the unofficial 5th birthday of this blog. ?!!?!?!!?!? Let me say that again for extra effect: ?!!?!?!!?!?
My older daughter turns 5 very soon… and she was the original inspiration and motivation to begin this living lifestyle experiment of mine to stay focused, fun & as close to fabulous as possible after having a baby. (Is this experiment working? You tell me.) Over the years I’ve developed an unexpected and freakish joy from sharing discoveries and realizations I’ve found along my own motherhood journey. And, as I was reflecting on this crazy ride and how it all started, I realized: It all began with a C-section. C-sections get a bad rep these days. It seems that a growing number of expecting and new moms are on extra-high alert when it comes to the possibility of having a C-section… and what comes after a C-section. So I’ll share…
Did I cry? Nope. Did I feel guilty or cheated by the childbirth gods? Nope. Did I hurt afterwards? A little bit. But guess what: Part of staying fabulous after having a baby is knowing that you must sometimes put your big girl panties on, focus your mind on the positive and cope with what comes your way… whether or not it bothers you. Unexpectedly having a C-section sounded a hell of a lot better to me rather than struggling to birth a baby with an umbilical cord wrapped around her neck and a fluctuating heartbeat thanks to that cord wrapped around her neck. So I got over it.
Tricks and products can help too. Here are my top picks and tips what new moms need post C-section:
Cop a resilient & unapologetic attitude. Didn’t want a C-section? Didn’t like the idea that you were ‘robbed’ of a natural birth experience? Didn’t like the way the doctors didn’t let you see what was happening down there? Didn’t like the fear you felt during the whole experience? TOUGH. Time to get over it quick. The object of the game is to get a baby out of the mother’s body as safely and effectively as possible. If having a C-section was the call that was made by medical doctors – folks who’ve gone to medical school and done residences, internships and all kinds of training that I can’t even imagine as a non-medical person – then that’s what had to be done. Assuming you have a safely-delivered baby after the ordeal, you must switch on your positive attitude and move forward without regret. Because regret does not benefit a new mother in any kind of positive way.
Pull on a C-Panty. If I didn’t know better, I’d say this baby was laced with some kind of magic potion that instantly makes that nasty incision feel better. (Well, I guess there is a magic potion… kinda.) I had no idea this product existed until a non-mom friend of mine surprisingly sent me a pair in the mail after my first C-section. I was floored by how fabulous these felt on. Yes, they’re high-waisted granny-panty types, but man, you NEED that after having a baby. Especially if you’re nursing a scar across your you-know-where. Which leads me to…
Bind yourself up. Don’t discount the ancient practice of belly-binding post birth. Research shows that wrapping your belly after having a baby encourages uterus shrinkage and reduces water retention… not mention it gives your core support (most surgeons recommend some kind of wearable, physical support following surgery on the mid-section). Back in the day, I used Baboosh Tauts Post-Pregnacy Wrap (can’t argue with Brooke Burke-Charvet’s bod). I’ve also tried a bunch of Belly Bandit‘s newer designs… they’re fabulous. I’ve loved what both brands offered. Now, there’s a fancyish new thing called Pelv-ICE. Each product has it’s own unique perks. Check ’em in detail and figure out what you might like best.
Tape yourself up. First rule of taking care of a C-section scar? Keep it clean. (Second rule is to take your meds as moderately-prescribed to get ahead of the pain…) After you’ve got that mastered and under control, some doctors recommend using a cream to minimize the appearance of the scar. Check with your doc. There are a ton available (many of them over the counter)… but according to my husband, scar cream doesn’t work as well as many companies market it for you to believe. What did I do (since I’m married to someone with inside information about scars)? We used tape. About 2-3 weeks post-surgery (after stitches are out), gently pull a piece of 3M micropore paper tape across the scar (end to end, horizontally) and lightly pat it on. Shower with it. When it starts peeling on the ends from day-to-day wear and tear, remove the entire piece (baby oil can help with this) and reapply a new piece of tape on top of the scar again. Repeat for about 2 months (yes, I did this thanks to my husband). The tape supposedly keeps the scar clean and ultimately flattens it as it heals. Now I’m not sure if it was the tape or dumb luck, but my scar is almost invisible. Got questions about this plastic surgeon’s trick? Ask your doctor for insight…
Get help. I’m the first person to encourage a new mother to ‘handle things’ on her own at home (I did) but if you’ve got a C-section to contend with, you’re not going to be allowed to lift anything over 8-10 pounds (at least I wasn’t) and you won’t be allowed to do any heavy housework (vacuuming!) or driving for a few weeks. Have a person – or, a few – on call to help you with the stuff you won’t be able to handle by yourself because… well… you just had MAJOR SURGERY. My second time around, I even called my neighbor to come help me lift my first-born out of her crib because I was stranded and alone with a newborn, a 25-lb one-and-a-half year old and a scar that still couldn’t handle the duties of my every day life.
Yes, C-sections can be scary. Yes, C-sections can be painful. Yes, C-sections can be annoying. But don’t let those things get between that special early bonding between you and your baby. Your mind and soul are more powerful than your body… even if your body has a scar. And getting over this is a choice some new moms must make.
Need more inspiration? Check this viral picture out. Power to tough mothers. Power to healthy babies. Power to the scars.
DISCLAIMER: This article is comprised of personal experience and opinion only. It does not strive to provide medical advice. Always check with your doctor for matters regarding your physical and mental health and well being.