Austinite Jennifer Bourgoyne found a solution to something that no one probably wants to talk about: the fight between the scar left by a Cesarean section and your underwear. It can be quite painful as the scar takes months to heal and the top of many pairs of underwear rests right where that scar is.
Bourgoyne, 49, who has three boys ages 24, 17 and 9 and had two C-sections, thought that surely by the time she had her youngest son that there would be a solution to this problem. She found nothing other than that some women actually attach a feminine hygiene pad to the front of their underwear..
“You do feel like you have to protect that area,” she says. “Sometimes you feel a little twinge of pain.”
Her youngest son came at an opportune time in her life. Right before she had him, she was laid off from her high-tech job. She had a background in fashion, especially as a stylist and window dresser.
She took the leap and made this her post-baby career.
The result is Czela Bellies Cesareanwear. The spandex and polyester underwear come in bright patterns and are stretchable to fit as that area of the body changes. Their secret is that they also have a soft cotton chenille panel in the front that provides just enough padding to protect that area, but not too much to make you look larger than you’re already feeling.
Style was important to Bourgoyne. “I didn’t want them to look like hospital garments.” Instead, she wanted them to be flattering and comfortable and make women feel good about themselves.
“What a difference it makes to put on something that’s flattering,” she says.
Bourgoyne did her research and found a manufacturer in San Francisco who understood what she wanted and was willing to make underwear in batches of 250 at a time. She got them into some maternity clothing stores, but she found that was an uphill battle. Just as she was kicking off her line, the recession hit and many of those shops closed.
She has sent them to celebrities like Tori Spelling of “Beverly Hills 90210,” Bethany Frankel from “The Real Housewives of New York” and Angela Kinsey from “The Office” and received nice notes back.
“It’s fun to get feedback,” she says. “I know I helped them.”
Feedback from regular women also lead to making the chenille panel bigger to cover more area because torsos lengths vary. Even though Czela Blue underwear is stretchy and comes in small/medium, large and extra large, Bourgoyne is looking at larger sizes as well.
Some of her most popular patterns are the purple paisley and the Wonder Woman blue with white stars. They sell for $35 online at czelablue.com and most people buy three, or buy one try it out and end up buying another two.
Bourgoyne didn’t have them ready in time for her own C-sections, but when she had a hysterectomy later and the scar was in the same place, she pulled up her Czela Bellies panties and found out firsthand that they really work.
“It makes you feel so much better when you have something cute and actually fun to put on,” she says.