The Day My Torso Smiled by Christine Burke In the Powder Room

The Day My Torso Smiled

Ah motherhood…check your self-esteem at the door.


When you are the mother of toddlers, showering comes at a very high premium. You must do so in exactly eight minutes, forgo leg shaving on most days and do it with an audience of at least one of the toddlers. Most often your audience is the oldest toddler because the younger ones are in brightly colored, over stimulating containment devices in the next room (I’m looking at you, ExerSaucer and bouncy seat). The oldest toddler will watch you through the shower glass, chatting the entire time about Jake and the Never Land Pirates, his need for a cheese stick NOW and how soon you will be finished in order to play with him.

And, of course, once the toddler is really aware of his surroundings, he will ply you with questions about your body. Your pasty white, soft around the middle, “Hey your thighs look like that commage cheese you give me Mommy” body will get a toddler’s onceover and perspective. And since toddlers have zero ability to keep their inner monologues to themselves, you can be guaranteed that you will leave a conversation with a terrorist, er, toddler, ready to have liposuction, a tummy tuck and a boob lift right after Yo Gabba Gabba is over.

One of the few benefits of having a C-section is having an outward sign to prove to your children how they came out of you. Until they are of age and ready for the Birds and the Bees talk, when they ask you, “Mommy, where did I come from?” you can simply point to your scar and say, “Right here” and secretly say in your head, “On the day my abs were blown to hell.” The scar serves as a very physical reminder to your kids that their mother suffered greatly to bring them into this world.

One particular morning, I stepped out of the shower right into the prying eyes of my then three-year-old son. As his gaze covered the entire surface of my front side, his face lit up in a huge smile. We then had the following conversation:

Him: “Mommy! You body is so happy!”

Me: “Oh, yeah, bud? Why do you say that?”

Him: “You body is smiling at me!”

Me: “Huh?”

Him, exasperated: “You have two eyes, a nose, and mouth! A beard, too!

And he was right.

I think my right breast may have even winked at me.

I guess, all things considered, I should be glad he didn’t say, “Turn that frown upside down,” right?

Nothing like the wisdom of a three-year-old to make you realize that your C-section scar really does look like a smile. And to those of you who also bear the C-section badge of honor, you now will never look at yourself and NOT see a big, soft, bearded smiley face looking back at you in the mirror.

Smile . . . and welcome to the club, ladies!

Christine Burke is the Keeper of the Fruit Loops, Manager of the Fecal Roster and Driver of the People Mover. In other words, she’s a mom. An Erma Bombeck Martha Stewart with a Roseanne twist…and she has the mouth and organized cabinets to prove it. She is a coauthor of the recently released “I Just Want To Be Alone” and owner of the blog The Keeper of The Fruit Loops.

Keep the conversation going...



  1. says

    Brilliant! I never thought of it that way, but after 2 c-sections, I am heading upstairs to get naked and check this out ASAP…right after sharing profusely. Gold!

  2. says

    Hahahaha! The beard! I gave birth to my 2 kids thru C-section too but since the first one was emergency they had to do the vertical incision. And I was actually scared that they would do a horizontal on my second because if that happened I would have a cross on the belly. Thinking about it now, I think that would have been totally cool. 😉

  3. says

    “I think my right breast may have even winked at me.” Hilarious. Thanks for making my body smile this morning!

  4. says

    I had 2 vag births and 1 C-section, but the C-sec was an emergency and kind of crooked, so instead of a smiley face I have :/
    Except the “eyes” don’t line up that well.

  5. says


    Oh, that is priceless! Why do kids have to be so damn honest? Can’t they just fake it like the rest of us?!?

    Great read…=)

  6. AndreaZ says

    I love it! My kids are 8 and 10 now (where does the time go?!) but I vividly remember trying to shower one morning before work with both kids and 2 dogs in the *tiny* bathroom with me, and the constant commentary that comes along with it. My then 3-year old pulled back the shower curtain and said “Mommy, how come you don’t like privacy?” Not having and not liking are 2 different things, my dear 😉

  7. says

    I was able to avoid c-sections (3 near misses) so my tummy doesn’t smile, but thanks to a large and well place stretch mark, my belly button is always winking at me!

  8. says

    Thank you for sharing! This rocks! I’m part of the club times two plus a few added dimples due to endometriosis surgery. I’m totally gonna own this perspective! :)

  9. says

    Oh my God I am crying laughing and may have peed a little. I have so so much to look forward to as my toddler grows up. Smiling right back atcha babe :)

  10. says

    I’m pregnant right now, so the canvas that is my body is just so big that my children could be entertained for hours. I try so hard to avoid their looks. No smiling belly here, but I do think I have a man on the moon for a backside.

  11. says

    My second c-section I asked the OB to try to make a tummy tuck and take out more of my flab. Unfortunatley, that wasn’t her forte. Now my ab smile is a botox looking smirk. It’s awful really. So funny Christine. Love to see you on here!