C-sections are anything but uncommon—but even though so many moms have them, there's little attention paid to the impact undergoing this invasive surgery can have on a woman's body, her mind, and her self-confidence, especially when cesarean scars are pretty unavoidable.
Prolific lifestyle photographer and author Natalie McCain aims to change that, and help women accept and love their postpartum bodies by celebrating and documenting the impact and the change motherhood brings. Through her website and book, both titled The Honest Body Project, she's shared the personal, intimate experiences of women of all backgrounds, discussing everything from the baby blues to breastfeeding.
Now, she's sharing the story of Jacqueline, a woman she first met years ago when she photographed her maternity portraits as she was expecting her first child. Sicne then Jacqueline has become a treasured friend with a powerful perspective on C-sections. Here, in a rare photo, you can see her latest incision... with staples. "I was so amazed by her willingness to be photographed with her staples, only a few days after her C-section," McCain said. "Her story has gotten feedback from so many other C-section mothers who say the pictures and story made them feel much better about their own scar, which I am so grateful for."
For Jacqueline, those staples are significant—Nnt only because of the surgery her body endured and recovered from, but for what they symbolize: her three children, all born after many years of battling infertility. Since she suffers from an aggressive form of endometriosis, she wasn't sure if she could get pregnant. "When I was 24, doctors found that my left ovary was extremely enlarged. This led to months of tests, doctors, oncologists, and surgery," she shared with McCain. "I have a family history of ovarian cancer and they couldn't tell exactly what it was, or why it was growing so fast. My surgery ruled out cancer and I was diagnosed with aggressive endometriosis. I have a scar from my belly button to my pelvic bone, one less tube and ovary, and what tissue the doctors couldn't get out."
So when she was finally able to welcome a child, she decided to celebrate her body.
"This body that has seen surgeries, tumors, three C-sections, and incredible loss didn't fail me one bit," she says. "My baby is alive, I'm alive, and no scar or procedure will take that away from me. The scar that almost determined my future dead ends at the scar that gave me my future."