Parents

Mom Who Had 3 C-Sections Explains Why Her Body Didn't 'Fail Her'

“I hope that other women find comfort and feel affirmed by this mother’s story."
Natalie McCain interviewed and photographed a woman who delivered three babies via C-section.
Natalie McCain interviewed and photographed a woman who delivered three babies via C-section.

A series of photos is reminding mothers who gave birth via C-section that their bodies did not “fail” them.

As part of her “Honest Body Project,” photographer Natalie McCain interviewed and took pictures of a mom named Jacqueline, who delivered three babies via C-section. She also struggles with aggressive endometriosis, which required multiple surgeries.

“I have received so many messages from women about their C-section scars and how they struggle with their experience,” McCain told HuffPost. “I loved this mom’s perspective on her C-section scar, and I wanted her message to help reach others who could find comfort in it.”

“I have received so many messages from women about their C-section scars and how they struggle with their experience,” McCain told HuffPost.
“I have received so many messages from women about their C-section scars and how they struggle with their experience,” McCain told HuffPost.

Jacqueline, whose children are 2 years old, 1 year old and less than 1 week old, struggles with aggressive endometriosis, which has required multiple other surgeries.

She told McCain she’s heard moms say they felt like their bodies “failed” them because they had C-sections. But she doesn’t see it that way. Instead, she sees her scars as reminders of the body that has kept her alive and carried her children.

Keep scrolling to see McCain’s photos of Jacqueline and read her story of medical challenges, persistence and hope. As McCain told HuffPost, “I hope that other women find comfort and feel affirmed by this mother’s story. Your body did NOT fail you.”

Natalie McCain/Honest Body Project
“When I was 24, doctors found that my left ovary was extremely enlarged. This led to months of tests, doctors, oncologists and surgery. 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."
Natalie McCain/Honest Body Project
“My boyfriend (now husband) and I were told that if we planned kids it might be hard, if at all possible, and with as advanced as my endometriosis was, I may be faced with losing my other ovary or need a hysterectomy one day. A year later, and just before my wedding we decided to beat the clock and try for kids. We decided on four kids, as the endometriosis is there like a ticking time bomb, and I don’t want to have any regrets."
Natalie McCain/Honest Body Project
"It took four years to get our oldest daughter, and after five days in labor we wound up with a C section. I hear a lot of talk from other moms about wishing our bodies didn’t fail. How a 'traditional' birth would have been better, and wondering how we wound up here. I can tell you I didn’t plan on a C-section. I didn’t want a C-section... but my body didn’t fail.”
Natalie McCain/Honest Body Project
“This body that has seen surgeries, tumors, three C-sections, and incredible loss didn’t fail me one bit. 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.”

For more of McCain’s photography, visit her website and check out her new book, The Honest Body Project: Real Stories and Untouched Portraits of Women & Motherhood.