Honestly, My C-Section Scar Makes Me Feel Self-Conscious During Sex

Ad failed to load

The first time my mother had a c-section was when she gave birth to me. The doctors couldn’t find my heartbeat in that Kansas hospital in September 1986, so I was pulled from her womb. At the time, there was little conversation about vaginal births after cesareans, so my younger sister was born in the same manner three years later.

My mom was a lifelong ballet dancer, and she hadn’t bargained for a six-inch scar, nor did she expect the extra fat that was directly above it. “This is where they cut me open," she would say, pointing to the scar on her fair flesh, a hint of remorse in her voice. “This is where they cut into my stomach muscles." She still has the scar to this day.

As a fully nude stripper and webcam model, my body is one of the tools I wield in my masterful craft of illusion and beauty. I wanted no evidence of a mother’s surgery, and no record of my personal life on my body.
Ad failed to load

So when I found out I was pregnant, I certainly wasn’t planning on having a c-section. When I gave birth to my daughter in March 2012, however, she was nearly 10 pounds and stuck in an uncomfortable position near my pelvic bone. By the end of nearly 67 hours of labor, much of which was unmedicated, I relented to having a c-section, the scrawled signature on the paperwork looking nothing like my handwriting. “I surrender, I surrender,” the paperwork essentially said. “Cut me open, please.”

When my daughter finally came out, I was thrilled. She was beautiful. But to be honest, I was already wondering, “What will my stomach look like?” I tried to stay in shape by walking, eating an organic, low-sodium diet, and breastfeeding for 15 months. But every time I bathed, got dressed, or had sex, my scar stared me in the face like a crooked sneer. I hated it, and I especially hated that my c-section scar made me feel insecure during sex with my then-husband.

Courtesy of KrystynaSolydenko.com
Ad failed to load

It wasn't just my private sex life that I was concerned about. As a stripper and webcam model, my body is one of the tools I wield in my masterful craft of illusion and beauty. I wanted no evidence of a mother’s surgery and no record of my personal life on my body.

Approximately 33 percent of all births in the United States are delivered via c-section, according to the CDC, which means there are literally millions of women living with c-section scars. Yet if you look at the thousands of on-screen images of women we are confronted with everyday — on TV, on Instagram, on Facebook, or even on a porn website like RedTube — it's extremely rare to see a woman who is obviously postpartum, let alone someone who has a c-section scar. Because part of my job hinges on my ability to convincingly portray a sexual fantasy, I worried that my c-section scar would potentially lead to a drop in my income.

I'm not the only woman in the industry who feels that way. Aurora Bordello, a pole dancer and yoga instructor in Oregon, told me that the week she had her c-section, she thought she would never be able to regain her original, pre-partum shape.

Ad failed to load
“I hate the way [my scar] makes my lower abdomen look."

"I was discouraged and felt like maybe I'd never be able to be a sex worker again because I was unattractive to most men and women," she said. “I hate the way [my scar] makes my lower abdomen look, so I'll probably always wear a high-waisted garter or waist cincher." Bordello added that she also believes her c-section scar affected her pole-dancing skills: "The c-section made pole dancing harder because I had lost most of my ab strength and throwing a piece of fabric over it definitely didn't help.”

I love what I do for a living, and I was determined to find any way I could to continue making money, despite my new physical imperfection. I was grateful that things like waist cinchers and Dermablend could hide my scar, and I was never really concerned that my then-husband would cease to see me as beautiful. But I still saw myself as unattractive.

Ad failed to load
Courtesy of KyrstynaSolydenko.com

Let’s be honest: as women, if we're not self-conscious about one body part, we're self-conscious about another. If I had abs like those FlatTummyTea gals on Instagram, I’d probably instead focus on the fact that my forehead wrinkles like a ladder when I lift my eyebrows during my O-face, or that the hairs encircling my nipples now need constant tweezing. After all, I'm not 25 anymore. I'm a lot less young and nubile, and my body is producing less estrogen. Goodbye, second puberty: I’m prepping for menopause.

When I’m in the quiet of my bedroom, and the clothing comes off and the lights stay on, I can’t stand how disruptive my belly rolls and my scar are, and how they impede the pleasure I’m intent on receiving.
Ad failed to load

There is great pressure on women to be attractive at any age. We talk about our “pretty daughters” or “beautiful brides,” and of course everyone wants to be the “hot mom at playgroup." I buckle to this pressure just as much as anyone else: I maintain clear skin, tweeze and fluff my brows, and wash, color and style my hair to my liking. Yet some aspects of my physical appearance are more difficult to manage.

When I’m in the quiet of my bedroom, and the clothing comes off and the lights stay on, I can’t stand how disruptive my belly rolls and my scar are, and how they impede the pleasure I’m intent on receiving. That's why I love going to a private, dark, primal place in my bedroom, with the lights off and the door locked. If I want to perform, I keep the lights on. If I want to feel pleasure and let go, hello, darkness, my old friend.

Courtesy of Darren Eskandari
Ad failed to load

Motherhood sacrifices time, money, energy, freedom, and perhaps, comeliness. And to a degree, women choose to birth babies even while the little voice that lives in the back of our brains squeaks, But what will my body look like after?”

The answer to that question varies depending on her birth experience and post-delivery body, says Dr. Evelin Dacker of Salem, Oregon. "Pregnancy and birth can be so traumatic. It stretches and engorges, tears and changes one's pelvis," Dacker said. "I did deliveries for 15 years and found it amazingly beautiful and horrifically powerful.”

I know I’m beautiful, and I expect only the deepest love and respect from my lovers. But the wrinkling asterisk that my belly button becomes while I'm in missionary position still irks me.
Ad failed to load

Dacker believes that we need to train ourselves to believe that the physical side effects of childbirth only enhance a woman's physical appearance. “Life's scars add beauty to a woman's body," Dacker said. "I tore my labia on my first birth and was just too fatigued to give a sh*t. I now keep my vulva decorated with gold piercings to celebrate everything it has gone through.”

I see the value in what Dacker is saying. I know I’m beautiful, and I expect only the deepest love and respect from my lovers. But the wrinkling asterisk that my belly button becomes while I'm in missionary position still irks me, to the point that I eventually covered the scar with a dark, heavy tattoo, lyrics from a fellow punk mom, Brody Dalle. “The womb is the safest place I’ve ever been, so carry me home baby, let me back in," the quote reads.

I could always get skin-tightening treatment or surgery to suck out the excess fat in my stomach. I could do 100 sit-ups a day to discourage the “overhang” fat pouch that so easily gathers above a c-section scar. But in the meantime, I gaze upon my perfect child and remind myself that I want no hint of remorse in my voice when I show her my wounds from her birth. As a civilian and as a sex worker, I’ve learned that men AND women love confidence in their lovers and in their fantasies. And so I’m still working to accept myself. Until then, I can still turn the lights off.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

21 Moms Share The Most Surprising Part About Having A C-Section

Honestly, I don't think we, as a culture, talk about C-sections nearly enough, especially considering so many mothers experience them. And because of a number of factors, the little we do talk about it always seems to be a familiar narrative: "It's n…
By Jamie Kenney

13 Yummy Instant Pot Recipes To Make Under 30 Minutes

An Instant Pot seems to be the must-have appliance in every kitchen these days. If you are anything like me and never knew the beauty of a Instant Pot, you are about to have your life changed. Basically, you put some ingredients into a pot, set the t…
By Kristin Manna

9 Things The First Six Months Of Motherhood Will Teach You About Your Baby

Personally, the first six months of motherhood was a mixed bag. I learned some harsh lessons about myself that made taking care of my baby seem overwhelming. For example, I was clueless, and no amount of research could help me feel like anything but …
By Steph Montgomery

These Photos Of North West Then & Now Will Take You On A Sweet Trip Down Memory Lane

When Kim Kardashian welcomed her first daughter, North West, with her husband, Kanye West, in 2013, her whole life was changed. The social media and reality TV star became a mom for the first time and her Instagram presence took a very adorable turn.…
By Casey Suglia

11 Photos You *Must* Take During The Last Days Of Your Pregnancy

During my first pregnancy, I took a photo each week to document my growing belly. I stopped around 36 weeks, though. I hated how I looked in those pictures, and didn't think I'd want to relive those moments. I was wrong. My second pregnancy was a dum…
By Steph Montgomery

This Is What It Means If Your Pregnancy Test Changes Overnight

The time between when a woman suspects she might be pregnant and when it is confirmed for sure is the longest of her life. Regardless of whether you are hoping for a positive or a negative result, the odds are good that you are sweating bullets when …
By Shannon Evans

6 Red Flags To Definitely Look Out For After Your Baby Falls

The first time my infant son tried to take a few steps, he tumbled and bumped his head on the coffee table. My blood turned to ice in my veins and I froze. There truly isn't anything quite like the feeling a parent gets when their little one gets hur…
By Sarah Bunton

These 9 Instant Pot Recipes Will Make Even The Pickiest Eater Happy At The Table

Like any parent, I've had my share of parenting hits and misses, but one of my favorite "wins" is my daughter's diverse palate. I don't even know if I can take credit for it, but I would like to think I had something to do with her love for lentils, …
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Turns Out, Kim Kardashian's Favorite Mom Products Look A Lot Like Your Own Faves

Being a mom is really hard work, especially for the first few months, and Kim Kardashian West is no different in that regard. Now the mother of three, Kardashian says that there are a few products she just can't live without when it comes to raising …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Soda Might Hurt Your Fertility, Study Says, & Here's What You Can Do

Who doesn't love sugary drinks? I stopped drinking soda years ago, but I still love gulping down those fancy Starbucks coffee beverages. I don't have a big sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for sugar-sweetened beverages every now-and-then. Turns out, th…
By Annamarya Scaccia

10 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 30s

If you're like me, you evaluate the pros and cons of any major life decision. When my husband and I were considering starting a family, I thought about my career, education, and financial stability. I wanted to know how a pregnancy and childbirth wou…
By Steph Montgomery

This Woman Thought She Had An Eyelash Stuck In Her Eye. Then It Moved.

I'm not a person who is easily icked out. As a kid, I collected bugs and thought I was going to be an entomologist and asked Santa Claus for ant farms and nets to catch bees. I'm still super curious about anything that flies and crawls, which might s…
By Karen Fratti

5 Red Flags Your Toddler Isn't Eating Enough

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, at least in my experience. You offer mashed potatoes, they want french fries. You give them crackers, they scream for chips. It's frustrating, to be sure, but it's usually their way of vying for independence. It…
By Candace Ganger

35 Moms Share The Most Disgusting Things Their Husbands Do

I'm a human being who revels in challenges. I like when people present me with one, especially if they don't think I can meet or succeed it, and I like taking a challenge on, especially if it's unexpected. So when I aimed to uncover the most disgusti…
By Jamie Kenney

How Having Kids In Your 20s Affects You Later In Life

For parents, like myself, who had kids in their 20s, there are a number of questions that come to mind. When you're deciding what your future will look like, you'll likely consider what this means for your health, career, and more down the line. Thin…
By Tessa Shull

Study: Drinking Two Glasses Of Wine A Day Is Good For Your Mind — Here's Why

There’s more scientific proof that a daily drink or two isn't necessarily a bad thing and could have a place in an overall healthy lifestyle. A new study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in New York found that — in mice, at le…
By Tiffany Thomas

8 "Mistakes" I'm Glad I Made During My First Pregnancy

As an adult, I've learned you never really stop hating being told what to do. When I was pregnant I was getting instructions at every turn, from doctors, relatives, and complete strangers on the subway. I would nod and smile but then go about making …
By Liza Wyles

Research Says Eating Carbs Can Lead To A Healthy Pregnancy, So Bring On The Pasta

In the world of me, no food is better than bread. I know it's supposed to be pretty terrible for you, high in calories, low in protein, and full of that modern-day demon, gluten... but guys, it's really yummy. Especially warm out of the oven, when th…
By Jen McGuire

These Photos Of Prince George Then & Now Will Give You Serious Baby Fever

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child in Spring 2018. With all of the excitement surrounding the new baby, it's easy to forget all of the good times that have already passed. The couple's eldest is already well into the sc…
By Azure Hall

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
By Lindsay E. Mack