Nearly a third of all births in the United States are Cesarean deliveries. C-sections are more common than you might think and many high-profile mamas are speaking up about their own C-sections—from the experience to their healing process and scars. We love that these mothers are using their platform to show the reality of Cesarean birth and recovery.
Here are five of their (powerfully honest) stories:
Amy Schumer describes her 3-hour C-section in new interview
Amy Schumer has been very open about her pregnancy experiences, detailing her battle with hyperemesis gravidarum, an extreme form of morning sickness that saw her vomiting daily, in real-time on Instagram. But she has not talked much about how her challenging pregnancy factored into her birth experience...until now.
In a recent interview for the Informed Pregnancy podcast, Schumer told prenatal chiropractor, childbirth educator and labor doula Dr. Elliot Berlin her C-section story, and it proves she is one strong mama.
"It was a rainy Sunday and I woke up vomiting and was like the sickest I'd been the whole time," says Schumer, who needed many IVs through her pregnancy as the constant vomiting dehydrated her. "And I was like, 'I can't do this anymore.' I was so big and I was so miserable and couldn't keep anything down."
Schumer says that because of her endometriosis her doctors knew she would need to have a C-section, and her conditions complicated the surgery. "I was throwing up through the first hour of my C-section. It's supposed to take about an hour and a half—mine took over three hours because of my endometriosis," she explains.
Schumer doesn't sugarcoat how difficult her birth experience was, but she says the support of her medical team and her husband Chris made her feel safe...and when it was over her life had changed.
"Chris was so great—we just stared in each other's eyes and he just held me there. Then they let me hold Gene for a good amount of time. I got to see him and hold him."
While Schumer says recovering from the C-section was very difficult, the relief of not throwing up any more was incredible. Her story proves that pregnancy can be very hard on a person's body and that having support during pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period is essential.
Jessica Simpson's third child was born via C-section in 2019 and she took to social media to let the world know that recovering from birth (and surgery) isn't easy, and that we need to remember to care for mothers, too.
"Recovering from a C-Section is no joke!" Simpson wrote in an Instagram post. "I think we all get so carried away with the excitement of having a new baby that we forget that we are going in for major surgery. Then on top of that, we get home from the hospital, have to recover from the surgery, balance our new life as a parent to three kids and be a wife."
Simpson is right, recovery isn't easy and moms need support so that they can heal, too.
After suffering a miscarriage with her first pregnancy, actress Kate Mara had a specific plan for her birth during her second pregnancy.
Unfortunately, medical complications changed everything and a low intervention birth wasn't possible.
"Right before I went in for the C-section, that's when I sort of [felt] the devastation of it and the disappointment of not being able to experience a birth any way that I had hoped," Mara told Dr. Elliot Berlin of the Informed Pregnancy podcast.
She continues: "I was so scared to have the C-section, to have this surgery. I was genuinely terrified of what that meant and what could happen and all of these things, and then of course just being tired made me that much more scared, I think."
Fortunately, Mara's partner, actor Jamie Bell, was by her side and when their daughter was born, he brought her over to Mara and held the baby for her because she couldn't. It wasn't the birth that she had imagined, but it was the birth she needed and she is thankful for it.
Jessie James Decker
Singer Jessie James Decker didn't hide her postpartum body or C-section scar when recovering from her Caesarean delivery. She shared her story and her scar because she didn't want other moms to see her photos and think that her bump had instantly melted away. It wasn't a miracle, she explained, just good styling.
"My tummy is still swollen and you can see my c-section scar and pooch! I had another [C-section] due to my 9lb baby and petite frame. So no rushing and no stressing about losing weight! Wanted to make sure y'all saw what my tummy looks like under the tank top and blazer... I do wear a belly waist train thingy a few hours here n there which helps C-section mamas and swelling to go down. I am so glad we all can support each other. Being a mommy is so rewarding but hard work so we need to stick together and help each other out."
When actor and author Jenny Mollen was two weeks postpartum, she posted the kind of photo she wished she'd seen when she was a newly pregnant mom-to-be.
"I just met my new C-section scar for the first time this morning. Thank you Dr. Albert Sassoon for your artistry. Because I wish somebody had shown me a pic like this 9 months ago, I'd like to insist this be your new business card," she wrote.
It is important for people to get to see images of postpartum bodies because bumps don't shrink instantly, and lines and scars don't fade overnight either.
Mollen's post is her post-birth reality and it is beautiful.
[A version of this post was first published July 15, 2019. It has been updated.]