Michelle Heaton, a former singer for the British pop group Liberty X, shared something on live TV Wednesday that she thought only her husband would see: the scars from her hysterectomy, two c-sections, and a heart monitor.
Heaton was literally shaking as she pulled down her bikini bottom to show her c-section scars. She has had two c-sections, she told the hosts. The first was an emergency c-section for her daughter, Faith, and the second was planned for her son, AJ.
She has another scar in the same area from a total hysterectomy — a procedure in which a person's uterus is removed — which she had done in 2014 after learning that she has the BRCA2 gene. The BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes significantly increase a person's risk for breast and ovarian cancers, and learning of the gene has prompted many people to choose preventative surgeries like hysterectomies and mastectomies to avoid getting cancer in the future.
Heaton's hysterectomy and c-sections have caused her to have "a bit of a pooch" on her lower stomach, because of the way the skin and abdominal muscles grew in after having been cut, she said. Usually she chooses to wear a high-waisted bikini to hide that.
Learning of the gene was also the reason for Heaton's double mastectomy, which she had done in 2012, according to BuzzFeed. She pointed to those scars on the show, showing that they run from the side of her breast all the way underneath her cup. She also has a scar from a heart monitor that was inserted into her chest for two years, and scars on her butt from the hormone replacements she needs every morning after having had the hysterectomy.
While Heaton originally told the show's producers that she wouldn't wear a bikini to show off her scars, she decided after about 10 minutes of deliberation that she should.
"I want to show that no matter what your body goes through in life, we're all very strong and we can be whoever we want to be and do whatever we want to do," she said. "So, I thought that if I don't do it and show everybody that you can do it, then who am I to give advice to other people?"
The experience seems to have paid off. Heaton noted to the show's hosts that she felt invigorated, and people who have watched the show took to social media to praise Heaton for her bravery.
We can't imagine how much courage it took to let the world get a close look of her scars on live television. Heaton mentioned several times during her interview that before that day she kept her scars under wraps, for only her and her husband to see.
Yet, both her fear and her intention to show her scars to encourage body positivity in other women shows how critical we all still are of our bodies and their "flaws." Putting on a bikini shouldn't be an act of bravery, but for women like Heaton as well as plus-size people and people with disabilities or anything else society deems a flaw, wearing that bikini is brave. And we need more people like her sharing what their bodies have been through, and what makes them beautiful, to start changing the "rules" about who can or cannot wear a bikini.