Despite what some mommy-shaming internet trolls may say, Australian mom blogger Olivia White wants everyone to know that giving birth via caesarean section is no walk in the park.
But rather than just telling others about her C-section experience, she decided to show everyone in an Instagram post that has since gone viral.
White uploaded a photo of herself to the social media platform last week, which showed her resting in a hospital bed, post-C-section, with stitches across her abdomen after she gave birth to her second daughter.
With the photo, she posted a message.
“This is what you really look like a few hours post C-section,” she wrote. “To anyone who thinks it’s the easy way out, try having a 6-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! 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.”
However, White says she wouldn’t change a thing about her experience.
“Anyone who’s ever had a C-section knows that you’ll forever be dependent on your friends Nancy, Dr. 90210 and Spanx because you cannot for the life of you get rid of the ditch that is left by the scar,” she continued. “But 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! Because if it wasn’t for the ability to deliver my babies this way, they might not be here today.”
According to Today, the captured moment was from 2016. Initially the mom of two daughters (three-year-old Annabelle and one-year-old Theodora) wasn’t planning on sharing the photo, but she felt it was important to address the misconceptions that surround caesarean births.
“I was prompted to share it when a friend had come to me about C-sections,” she told Today. “She felt people had made her feel it was an easy way out, and she was disappointed with herself for not birthing naturally.”
White then posted her photo to Instagram in support of her friend and to show others that the procedure was far from easy.
“I had [two] C-section births and never really entered into labour naturally, so I don’t even know what a contraction or pushing feel like,” she told Today. “Many people have told me I’m lucky, that I didn’t give birth and that what I did was the ‘easy’ way, but I didn’t believe it was. I wanted to share a raw photo of the reality of a C-section birth.”
White’s post struck a chord with like-minded moms on social media.
“I couldn’t have said this any better,” wrote Instagram user mary_and_jonathon. “I have been told that I’m not a real mom because I was unable to have him naturally because of having a stroke. It is so heartbreaking. However, I know otherwise that I am a mom no matter how he got here, because I carried him for 7.5 months. He is my miracle baby who was born at 2 pounds and 15 ounces.”
“[Four] C-sections for me, and yes, it is rough but worth it all for a healthy, beautiful baby (with nice round heads). Congrats!” Instagram user Taramart4 wrote.
“Had 4 [C-sections], all kids in 20s now,” user juleskj said. “Had all the negative comments, had the guilt, but wouldn’t change it for the world as my babies were born safely. ‘Easy’ — ppfftt — obviously a comment from people who have no idea.”
The post has since been shared over 2,200 times as of Thursday morning.
According to a study in the journal Expert Review of Obstetrics & Gynecology, C-sections are one of the most commonly performed procedures for women. It’s estimated that one-third of women in developed countries undergo the procedure.
Canada’s C-section rate is 27.5 per cent as of 2014 — up from 18.7 per cent in 1997, the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) reports.