A mum is baring all in a powerful photograph to reduce the ‘stigma’ and ‘shame’ around having a C-section after being told she ‘took the easy way out’.
Gillian Andes, 23, proudly reveals the four-inch-scar that helped to bring five-month-old Piper, who is balanced on her knee, and three-year-old Lola into the world.
After being criticised for delivering her children by caesarean she decided to post empowering images online to show others they ‘no less of a woman’.
She was forced to give birth through C-section for a second time, after her incision started rupture during her 28-hour labour with Piper that could have killed them both.
Since then, the stay-at-home parent has been determined to champion the cause and reduce the shame some mums feel for not giving birth vaginally.
‘I feel like women who have had a C-section can feel like they are ‘less of a woman’ and like they took an ‘easy way out’,’ Gillian, from Alabama, says.
‘I was told that by multiple people online with my first baby, at first I was afraid to tell them because I knew about the stigma.
‘It’s seen that you’re less of a mom because you delivered through C-section and that your body failed you.
‘For my second child I went in with the mindset that it doesn’t matter how my baby comes out, as long as we are both alive that’s the end goal.’
After a 28-hour labour ‘without medicine’ Gillian says she was showing signs of rupturing which could have killed both her and the baby.
‘Showing your C-section scar is such a taboo that I wanted to expose it,’ she adds.
‘Piper was four-weeks-old at the time and the scar had not totally healed, so there were still some openings. I wanted it to be raw, vulnerable and to show that C-sections are not easy.
‘I try to wear it proudly and I have two healthy children from it so I’m happy with that.’
Gillian has started a blog to further point out her views about motherhood, birth and more.
‘Some people asked why I took a picture like that as when my daughter grows up she will think it’s nasty and other things like that,’ she says.
‘Before posting I believed everybody would have a negative opinion but who can argue about loving yourself and anyone who does isn’t looking any deeper than the picture.
‘I try to be honest, raw and vulnerable in any posts I do, even when it’s not about a C-section and instead talking about being a human, woman, mother and stay at home mum.
‘More women need to hear some of the hard things that come with being a mum or a parent in general.’
Follow Gillian’s blog here