Having an elective surgery is a personal decision with a very public opinion, especially for mothers. I made the decision to have a breast reduction based on some medical reasons, but also based largely on physical and mental reasons.
I walked around in sweatshirts and cardigans year-round, shopping for a dress would send me into tears on a regular basis, and the thought of buying a bathing suit would really send me into a mild depression.
While this decision was made years before I had children, I still had to weigh how my decision would affect my future babies. I was told that I would have a 50% chance of breastfeeding. The result was that I was able to provide some breast milk, accounting for about 25% of my twins’ nutrition for two months. The lactation consultant assured me that my low productivity was not solely (if at all) attributed to my reduction. However, I can say with 100% certainty that I would have still been happy with my decision had she told me otherwise. If I’m being completely honest, I had been more concerned that the weight gain would bring back the large, uncomfortable breasts, but fortunately that did not happen.
The decision to have a breast reduction changed much more than my appearance. It changed my self-esteem, confidence, attitude, athletic accomplishments, and much more. I had never felt quite comfortable in my own skin and no amount of exercise or diet was going to get me there. I know many mothers who feel this way after their bodies are forever changed by carrying, delivering and nursing children. Yet many women do not feel comfortable choosing surgery to make themselves feel better.
Aside from the risks of any surgical procedure, I think many women base their decision on a few different factors.
- How will this impact my family? Is your husband on board? Can you go a week or so without lifting your child? Will someone be able to take care of you during your recovery? I know we are all pretty much superheroes, but you will still need a little help! I had my procedure done before I had children, but I still had to coordinate my vacation schedule, talk with my roommate about everything and have my mother come in to take care of me.
- What message am I sending to my children? I think this is the biggest one for me, especially with having a daughter and letting my negative body image affect my self esteem for many years. Is surgically altering your appearance the only way you can be happy? Maybe for some people the answer is yes. And perhaps that happiness and increased self-confidence will make you a better mother and wife.
- Shouldn’t I just be proud of the miracle my body performed? This is the one that has popped up quite a bit in conversations I have had with friends. The short answer is yes, of course. While I admire women who are truly comfortable and happy with their bodies, some women are not and it affects them in very different ways. Having a procedure to make yourself feel better (physically, psychologically, or otherwise), does not mean you regret or will forget your pregnancy or childbirth experience.
“Mommy makeovers” have become quite popular and have been in the spotlight for both positive and negative reasons. Much of the chatter seems to be related to mom-petition. If I am spending hours and hours in the gym, investing money in more Spanx than I’d like to admit, and counting every calorie that passes my lips, why should my friend be able to just go in for surgery and look fabulous instantly?
First of all, it is not that easy. Second, her appearance has nothing to do with me. Of course we all know that we should stop comparing ourselves to each other and simply be supportive, but for some reason our insecure feelings occasionally get the best of us. Being a mom is tough. Who am I to say what method another mom uses to make herself feel better?
What do you think about it? Would you have a mommy makeover?