I hate my c-section scar. There, I said it. I said the thing I’m not supposed to say. But the ugly truth is that I hate mine. I don’t look at that big, raw, jagged line that runs across my pubic bone as anything other than a burden. Like it’s an annoying relative I have to endure talking to every day. I see it and sigh begrudgingly, “oh, you again huh?”
I get it; my babies came from there, it’s my battle scar, it’s a sign that I’ve lived through something miraculous. I “get” that. But when I stand naked in the mirror, when I send a naked selfie, all I want to do is erase it. I want it gone.
Thanks to Photoshop, I can erase it in pictures. But unfortunately there’s no Photoshop for my brain. What I see when I look down is what actually is. There is no erasing my body in real life.
If I were ever to date again and sleep with someone for the first time, I’d feel compelled to tell him in advance about my scar. A friendly warning. An opportunity for him to get out before I have to see his face fall when he sees how far it stretches across my stomach. My way of apologizing. The reason I know I would do this is because I know I’m the type of person who says my faults first so no one else has to say them for me (lots of time spent on my shrink’s couch produced that little gem of self-awareness). Apparently I think if I come out in front of what I fear people won’t like about me, I take away their power to hurt me by saying it themselves. I’d be saying “I know my scar is ugly, it’s ok, you don’t have to tell me, I get it.”
Just to clarify, I’m exasperated AT my scar not ABOUT my scar. The diction here is important. I know how many women would kill for the chance to bear my scar. I honestly and truly know that. I know how blessed I am to have it: two healthy babies, surviving two difficult pregnancies, enduring two painful surgeries. So to ward off the haters, let me be clear: I’m not sorry I had kids. I love them and loved feeling them inside me. It was a privilege and despite appearances, I am not ungrateful. I just resent that I have a permanent, visual reminder that my body is never, ever going to be able to hide that I am a mother.
That’s the important nugget here. The real reason I hate my c-section scar isn’t because of the permanent pot belly it gives me (which is just patently unfair for a girl who basically lives in plank position to fight genetics); it’s because I want to be seen as a WOMAN and not a MOM. And no matter how much lingerie I put on or how great my smokey eyes look, that scar is a big, blazing, flashing sign that screams “MOM! MOM! MOM!”. And I really, really hate that.
Part of the postpartum depression I am so candid about rests on the identity crisis I faced when my kids were born, and frankly, continue to face daily. Flirty Girl is a part of that identity crisis, a healing place for me to just be ME and not MOM and hopefully remind others of that too, that we can be sexy and naughty and indulgent despite the burp cloths and the car pooling and the soccer games.
Why share this? Doesn’t it make me a fraud if I spend my life’s work telling other women they are enough just as they are and yet don’t think it of myself? I really hope not. I hope it just makes me more real and proves that I not only understand but know, truly and fully KNOW, how hard this all is. Sympathy is nice but empathy is everything. Believe me when I say I can empathize with your struggles to feel sexy amid the madness of everyday life. I am not just saying it, I MEAN IT.
I believe we all have sexiness within us and are so damn beautiful that it hurts my eyes if I look too hard. The challenge though is not that we have to be open to seeing the beauty THROUGH the flaws, we can all do that. The challenge is that we have to be able to see that in ourselves and not just in others. Easy in theory, hard in reality. It’s why I’m not a fraud. I really DO see how gorgeous you are. I really DO see that you’re sexy even if you’re covered in mac and cheese. I just need to see that in myself sometimes too. This post is proof that I share your struggles to do that.
At the end of the day, it’s all just a stunning work in progress, myself very much included. Welcome to my “under construction” sign. Coming soon: a tribe of gorgeous, sexy and yes, scarred Flirty Girls.