Catie Atkinson’s birth paintings are perfect for C-section mamas
April is Caesarian Awareness Month, the predominant purpose of which is to — you guessed it — raise awareness about C-sections in hopes of reducing the amount of unnecessarily performed Caesarians. Because C-sections mean major abdominal surgery, an incredibly painful recovery, plus taking care of a newborn. To put it bluntly: they’re no walk in the park.
But C-section births are births, and they’re messy and beautiful just like vaginal births. Which is why one artist decided to depict them in the most stunning way.
Catie Atkinson, a New Mexico-based artist, makes her living by painting the beauty of motherhood. A few of her works recently went viral in a Facebook post shared for Caesarian Awareness month, and for good reason — they’re breathtaking.
Above the incision scar is the text, “Magic happened here.” Magic indeed. Atkinson has plenty of beautiful works similar to this one available in digital print form in her Etsy shop, Spirit y Sol.
Cesarean mamas- this one's for you. I hope you know that you are worthy. That you are a warrior. That you are brave and powerful and strong as f✨ck. I hope you know that birthing your baby on an operating table makes you no less of a mother. No less of a goddess. Your birth story is holy and that beautiful scar on your belly is sacred as sh✨t. You are worthy of praise and celebration, honor and admiration. I hope that you know it was worth it. Knowing this does NOT mean you can't mourn your dream. It does NOT mean "you and your baby are safe- that's all that matters!" It does NOT mean you can't wish things had gone differently. But I hope that underneath it all, you can find beauty in what was. What is. Your baby. Your birth. Your strength. Your healing. Your story. Your journey wasn't easy. Perhaps it unfolded much differently than you had hoped- perhaps it shook you to your core and left you feeling the immense weight of a "what if" and "why". Perhaps you're still wading through the heavy emotions of disappointment, anger, and grief. Perhaps you always will. But whatever feelings you hold in your heart and in your womb, I hope that you can look at your scar and say "Hell yes, it was worth it. And hell yea, I am worthy" 💛💛💛💛 *this post was written for mamas who might be struggling with an unexpected or undesired cesarean birth. I recognize that there are mamas that choose to have planned/elective cesarean births who might not resonate with the message in this post. I honor them as well – as I honor all mothers, all womxn, and all beings.
“Cesarean mamas- this one’s for you,” Atkinson writes. “I hope you know that you are worthy. That you are a warrior. That you are brave and powerful and strong as fuck. I hope you know that birthing your baby on an operating table makes you no less of a mother. No less of a goddess.”
“My work is inspired by my own experiences as a mama and by the beauty and strength I see in other mothers,” Atkinson tells Scary Mommy. “I want to create art that acts as a mirror so that in those rough, raw, challenging moments of motherhood, women can be reminded of how powerful and beautiful they truly are.”
Atkinson says she’s been creating art her whole life, but becoming a mom is what truly inspired her to take her work in this particular direction. “I began painting at my kitchen counter when my oldest son was a toddler as a creative outlet and a calming tool for those chaotic moments,” she says.
Ahhh Spring. You might just be my favorite season of all. Since we've been in the Southern hemisphere enjoying summer, I haven't been feeling the spring energy (I'm working my way backwards through the seasons lol.) But I'm excited to get home and tune into this beautiful season of growth and new beginnings. For the past 6 months, I've been doing lots of deep healing work. Exploring my relationship with self care and self, releasing a lot of the stories and baggage I've been dragging around, transforming thought patterns and behaviors that no longer serve me, and learning to nourish myself on a deep level. Basically tending the garden of my soil–turning over the soil and planting new seeds. To celebrate this new growth and my commitment to self care in the year ahead, I'm going to be diving straight into a spring health reset with a beautiful community of mamas. We'll be flooding our bodies with powerful plant medicine and supporting one another as we nourish and transform ourselves on a cellular level. I'm soooo excited to get back to my green routine after 3 months of living on rice and mangos. ( Shoot me a DM if you'd like to join us- there's still time to jump in! ) I'm so excited to see what blossoms and blooms this year!!
All of her works are truly inspirational for mamas everywhere — there’s something for everyone in her paintings, no matter how your birth experience went down. It’s wonderful that C-section moms can find a piece of art to honor the way their babies entered the world, too. Because either way, it’s no easy feat.
“Whether we birth our babies at home or on the operating table, there are some universal stories that we all share as mothers and my goal is to capture those experiences on paper.”
Bloom where you are planted, sweet child. Dig your roots deep into the earth and know that you are held. Stretch your arms high up to the sun above and feel the warmth. Feel the love around you, within you, and blossom. …………………. Sometimes I feel like my heart might break. There is so much pain and hardship around me. So many kiddos with hungry bellies, who know suffering and sacrifice that no child should ever have to face. Everything they could be, everything they ARE– trapped by the fierce force of poverty. Not enough food or space or opportunities. The heavy weight of many mouths to feed resting on their young shoulders. And yet still they bloom. They blossom here, amidst the concrete and broken cars and piles of trash– laughing as they tumble past after a soccer ball, with no shirts and dusty feet and smiles that melt my heart. And as I watch them play, I hold back tears and remind myself to breathe. I breathe into the crack where my heart has broken open, letting the anger of injustice and the pain of compassion wash over me, letting my heart crumble from the weight of feeling it all, letting the tears fall. Crying like a baby on my father in law's front steps – wishing I swallow the pain of all the world's forgotten children. And when finally there's nothing left to feel– no more pain or angry tears– I find the quiet knowing that everything is OK. In the place of deep sadness, I find trust. Our world is broken and full of pain, but the children still bloom. They laugh and play and find beauty in an old soccer ball. And I will fight with fury for a brighter future for them- but I won't forget to stop and watch them bloom along the way. ………….. I'm working on a little something called "art and meditation for womxn who care deeply" – be sure to sign up for my newsletter if you want it in your inbox! (Sign up box on my website- link in profile)