CAESAREAN births are common practice nowadays, but that doesn’t mean they are typically shown off on social media.
One courageous Melbourne mum decided to buck that trend and display the reality of C-sections — stitches, post-birth bloat and all — on Instagram. And now her post has gone viral, and has been shared around the world.
Olivia White posted the photo to Instagram last week. In her intimate selfie, she puckered up to the camera while she lay in her hospital bed with her T-shirt above her belly button after giving birth to her second child, revealing the deep incision.
“Look I know it might not be my best angle,” Ms White wrote in the caption. “But who wouldn’t take selfies hours post birth so they can see where they sliced you open and yanked out a whole person.”
Ms White then goes on to describe, in vivid detail, the reality of what it means to give birth via c-sect.
“To anyone who thinks it’s the easy way out, well try having a six inch gash in your abdomen like a gutted shark who had the body parts of the surfer it ate retrieved!
“That’s then sewn back together with fishing wire while it feels like your vital organs are trying to escape! I mean sure, everything is ? [rainbows] and ? [lollipops] till the spinal wears off! After that 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!
“If you don’t time the Endone exactly before the previous lot wears off then you will most certainly know you are alive (while wishing you were dead). And worst of all, you’ll feel as if you’ll spend your entire life wearing nanna knickers up around your waist because the thought of anything settling in the canyon between your gut and pubic region is the stuff nightmares are made of.”
Ms White writes that after the operation, she felt as though she was hit by a bus, and she commented on her newly forming scar, which she believes will be impossible to conceal.
“Anyone who’s ever had c section knows that you’ll forever be dependant (sic) on your friends Nancy, Dr 90210 and Spanx because you cannot for the life of you get rise of the ditch that is left by the scar,” she quipped.
Ms White isn’t the first mum to take to social media to defend that C-sections are real births that are just as painful as the vaginal kind. In August, new mum Raye Lee fired back at critics who said the birthing method was “convenient,” and in March, an anonymous mum claimed a photographer cancelled their photoshoot when she learned the mum wouldn’t be delivering her child vaginally.
“A surgery isn’t birth, my dear,” the photographer reportedly said.
Despite some of the backlash these mums have faced, C-sections are extremely common.
In fact, Australia has one of the highest rates of Caesarian births in the world.
The latest report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare on Australia’s Mothers and Babies (2013) stated that 33 per cent of women giving birth in 2013 did so via a caesarean, compared with 25.4 per cent in 2001. This contrasts with the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommendations that the caesarean section rate should not be higher than 10 per cent to 15 per cent (2015). It has been suggested that the rising age of first-time mothers is contributing to this rate.
Most women plan on having a vaginal birth, but for health reasons, C-sections are a better fit for some mums.
Some women must undergo a C-section if placenta previa, which is when the placenta partially or entirely covers the lower part of the cervix, or a uterine rupture, which is rarer. More common causes for needing a C-section include foetal distress, if a baby is in the breech position, failure to progress during labour, or having a repeat caesarean.
Regardless of her post-baby body, Ms White writes that she is thankful for motherhood.
“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 writes. “Because if it wasn’t for the ability to deliver my babies — this way they might not be here today.”
Many women have shown an outpouring of support on Ms White’s Instagram post, as her message has garnered thousands of likes.
One user wrote, “Emergency C-section here! It was one of the hardest things I ever did, and I had guilt/grief for the longest time that it wasn’t a ‘real’ birth.”
Another shared, “Just had my second csection 5 days ago. This post could not be more accurate! Thank you for sharing!”