Kelly Hughes makes history this weekend, becoming the first Sports Illustrated model to have a visible cesarean scar.
For the first time in its 58-year history, Sports Illustrated will feature a model mom this weekend with a visible cesarean scar.
Kelly Hughes, 42, proudly wears her cesarean scar in honor of and solidarity with other mothers.
She’s in good company in this year’s issue — model mom Katrina Scott, 38 and expecting her second child, is the first model to show a visible baby bump, and curve model Hunter McGrady, 29, was born just six months after the birth. childbirth photographed.
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Hughes found out in 2018 that she was pregnant. Immediately she began to prepare for a vaginal delivery and practice breathing techniques to reduce pain and anxiety during labour.
She also hoped for a quick comeback.
“My whole goal was to recover as quickly as possible so I could get back to work,” she told the New York Postadding that as a model, she is always aware of the short “window of opportunity” she has to pursue motherhood as well as her career.
But the delivery did not go as planned. After 36 hours of contractions, she was not yet 7 centimeters dilated. Hughes was told she needed a cesarean section to protect the baby.
“I was hysterical,” said the Miami-based mother. “I’ve studied so many birth options and C-sections weren’t on my list.”
More than 1.1 million women in America have babies by C-section every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with C-sections accounting for nearly one-third of U.S. births.
Still, the procedure — in which the baby is delivered through an incision in the abdomen and uterus — is considered major surgery, and Hughes was emotionally unprepared for it, nor for the long recovery it would require, she said.
The day after she came home from the hospital, she began to experience excruciating pain and vomiting. She was returned to the hospital, where she was told she had an infection caused by fluid in her uterus, and she would have to have a second surgery, which involved reopening her C-section wound.
“That was the rough part,” said Hughes, who was separated from her son Harlem, now 3, just days after his birth. It was physically, but also psychologically tough.
“When the doctor said we needed emergency surgery, he wasn’t sure if I could have children because of the large amount of fluid we collected,” she said.
“That was really disappointing, but my goal at the time was to be healthy because of my amazing son.”
Much to her relief, Hughes later found that she could have more children if she wanted to.
Hughes was able to return home after eight days in the hospital, although it was difficult for her to breastfeed as she was unable to eat prior to surgery.
“I fought so hard, our bodies are incredible,” said Hughes. “When you go through an experience like that, you wake up and you’re thankful for your health, you’re thankful that you have your healthy son — all the other things that we sometimes worry about disappear.”
Hughes notices that the industry is becoming more inclusive. In 2019, during Miami Swim Week, Hughes was pleasantly surprised to find that customers were looking for sizes 6 and 8 instead of just 0 and 2. One-piece to walk the runway.
Chelsea Hirschhorn, the chief executive of Frida Baby — a brand that sells maternity and recovery kits for mothers and other baby products — suggested the idea of including a C-section model in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Editionas a way to empower other moms to feel good about themselves.
Hughes said it will be the first job she’s ever done showing off her scar — and she’ll love seeing the shiny hits next Thursday.
“The scar represents the surgery I had and becoming a mother,” she said. “I became this new person… That’s why I’m so grateful for it.”
“It wasn’t until I embraced my scar that I embraced the power in it.”
This article originally appeared on the New York Post and is reproduced with permission
Originally published as Sports Illustrated model makes history with C-section scar photoshoot