Thursday, June 29, 2017

On Bodies, Scars, Pregnancy & Positivity

This post is in response to an Anonymous comment left on my Pregnancy and Crohn's Disease blog post from a reader who is planning a first pregnancy and concerned about the physical challenges. This is my reply:

First, I think it's wonderful that you are getting the green-light to try for a baby! Extra wonderful after a struggle with Crohn's Disease!

I'm not sure why your doctor is concerned about tearing not healing... do you have issues with wound healing? Anyway, I always err on the side of trusting my doctor, since I'm not an expert. I had caesarean-sections myself. Not due to my Crohn's but due to my babies all being breech. I loved my c-sections. They were calm and quick procedures. Healing took a while, but it just meant no carrying anything heavier than my baby, and it was a bit of a trick to sit-up in bed. Pain when coughing. But it only lasted a few weeks.

(Most light exercise is ok when pregnant if you check with your doctor. I liked to go for walks myself.)

My c-section scar is below the waist band of a pair of bikini panties. So, no one would ever see it. It has faded quite a lot in the year since my last baby. Although I'm sure it will always be there.

Along with my resection surgery scars, my belly is a bit of a patchwork as well. But... I don't feel less beautiful because of them. They are my battle scars. They are a story of my life, my challenges and triumphs. I would not be ashamed to wear a two-piece bathing suit because of my scars- anyone thinking negatively about me because of them, is a reflection on that person. Who are these people judging our bodies? We are our own worst critics by far. Now, at 37, I have more important things to worry about than a flawless body - and bigger sources of joy than getting eyeballed for my looks.

Motherhood will change you. Things you feared before will be laughable because you now have REAL fears. I used to be terrified of spiders. Now I pick them up with my bare-hands and toss them in the sink. Because nothing is scary like the fear when my son broke his arm. Motherhood has made me into a superhero- bulletproof to the worries and problems of my past (lol). Years ago I missed out on experiences because of shyness and fear of being judged. Now? I dance even if  I look silly. I sing to my kids in the grocery store even though my voice is terrible. I don't let self-consciousness prevent me from having experiences- life is too short.

My internal scar tissue did indeed cause a small problem during my pregnancies. It adhered to the outside of my uterus and caused some painful contraction type cramps. I received a brief treatment of pain medication and muscle relaxant that helped a lot. The main thing I learned was to drink extra water. So much water. Like, non-stop. This made my 3rd pregnancy easier in that regard.

Pregnancy can be tough for so many reasons. Your Crohn's might indeed cause some challenges - but so what? You have conquered so many problems so far it sounds like - what's one more? You sound like a warrior already! :D

I did find that my abdominal muscles took a while to recover. Situps/crunches were painful for about a year after a c-section. I had to keep it to only 5 situps at a time for a long while. Now, at 1.5 years later, I'm finally able to do a full set. I sometimes get an ache in my abdomen after strenuous work. But... shrug. Honestly all the lifting and work of motherhood - my back is the real problem! HAHA.

I know that I am unusually unconcerned about some of these issues. I feel that the last 5 years have changed me considerably... and I was never particularly concerned with looks to begin with. But now, even less so. It's funny though... I'm pushing 40, I've had 3 babies, I rarely have time for my makeup... yet I feel sexier and more at peace with my body than at any other time in my life. I love what my body has done for me, and the challenges we have conquered together. My sex-drive got an extra boost in my late-thirties, and I feel confident and comfortable in my sexuality. My husband helps by always making me feel attractive and loved. When old insecurities creep back up, I tell him what I'm feeling and he helps me get over my funk. We laugh about our grey hairs and our mom & dad bods... high-fiving each other for all we've been through & accomplished.

You can do this Anonymous. It is 100 times worth it. You are beautiful for who you are, for what you put into this world, for the energy you give out and the things you do. Crohn's disease, age, pregnancy, and more... can not change that... and anyone who tries to tell you differently, or to value you based on your looks... is revealing their own ugliness. It is time for women (and men) to own their internal beauty and reject the fears that come from the superficial side of society.

Good luck!!


  1. I love the fact that you said your scars were your battle scars. This is something that I am still trying to teach 14 year old son. He has keloid scars from his colostomy and ileostomy surgery. It's his story, but he just sees them as ugly scars. I loved reading your post. Although Crohn's disease doesn't affect me directly, it affects my son. And as a mother, I'm tired. But I will never be as tired as him. You guys are stronger than most people in this world, which makes you cowboys.

  2. My sisters all had C sections. Keep fighting for now!