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Mom shares candid c-section photo to empower others

"I wanted to see what it looked like so I snapped the photo, and honestly at first I cringed. It looked horrible."
/ Source: TODAY Contributor

For California mom Raquel Maldonado, the births of her two children — a boy and a girl — could not have been more different.

Maldonado gave birth to her daughter, Alexa, via c-section in November, 5 years after her son, Mason, was delivered by a midwife without surgical intervention.

While her deliveries were drastically different, Maldonado says she has made peace with her c-section, a procedure she was initially "terrified" to have. And, to show other moms that all kinds of birth are beautiful, the mom-of-two recently posted a photo of her c-section incision to her Instagram account, along with a powerful message.

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"I don't feel as if I was robbed of a birth or like less of a bad ass. This scar proves that I am indeed a #badassmama," Maldonado wrote in the post. "I couldn't be more proud of this scar. I couldn't be more proud of myself."

Maldonado told TODAY Parents that she and her husband, Joey, found out their daughter was breech when she was 32 weeks pregnant. After learning that it was illegal for midwives to deliver breech babies in their area, the couple decided on a c-section.

"It was the safest and best decision for us to more forward with," said Maldonado.

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"After the surgery, I wanted to see what it looked like so I snapped the photo, and honestly I cringed," said Maldonado. "It looked horrible...initially I wasn't going to post it, but then I decided that's what sharing the journey was about — sharing it all, even the ugly parts."

"I was really proud," said Maldonado. "I was recovering quickly and I had my sweet, little, breech babe right next to me. Everything went the best it could...I had complete and total peace with the birth we had."