Mommy Makeovers: Getting Past Guilt & Loving Your Post- Baby Body

Carrying around a baby bump is a beautiful rite of passage for mothers-to-be. Strangers feel inclined to pat a pregnant woman’s belly for good luck. Friends and family enthusiastically comment, “You look GREAT!” Husbands rejoice as bra cup sizes swell with all the hormonal changes taking place. However, it’s another story when a mother still feels as though she looks pregnant over a year after giving birth; and those wonderful breasts she enjoyed during gestation now appear deflated after months of breastfeeding.

Every woman’s body responds to the dramatic changes of pregnancy differently, but the toll can have a dramatic effect, especially considering the higher standards women are often held to. Writing for Lifezette, Erin Croyle explains it this way: “I’ve heard husbands talk about how hot their wives ‘used to be.’ I’ve heard moms question other moms with cattiness: ‘Is that really baby weight you’re trying to lose?’ The pressure on women to look as if they’ve never had a child is relentless.”

Mommy Makeover: An alternative way to “get your body back”

As a female plastic surgeon and mother of three children, Dr. B. Aviva Preminger is especially sensitive to the needs of fellow parents. “Many, if not most women, give up focusing on themselves during and after pregnancy,” she explains. “Not only does pregnancy and childbirth take a toll on a woman’s body, but so does having young children with no time to focus on yourself. Some of the changes can be corrected with diet and exercise, but many women have problem areas that can only be corrected with surgery. For example, all the crunches in the world will not correct a severe rectus diastasis or separation of the abdominal muscles which happens as part of the body’s response to accommodate a pregnancy,” Dr. Preminger explains.

The “Mommy Makeover” – as it’s called – can mean different things, but typically it refers to a trio of procedures that includes breast augmentation, liposuction and tummy tuck. Augmentation options range from breast implants and breast lifts, to reductions and fat transfers. Labiaplasty to restore sexual functioning, skin care, wrinkle treatments like fillers or Botox can also be added in the suite of procedures to help a mother feel great about herself. The procedures can usually be safely performed at one time to minimize the recovery period. Learn more about Mommy Makeover here.

Risks of Mommy Makeover surgery, guilt and cost concerns

“It’s a hard decision to come to for many women,” says Dr. Preminger. “They feel guilty taking time for themselves, they worry about who is going to take care of their children while they recover, and they worry about the risks of surgery.”

There are several ways to minimize risk and make the right choice about having plastic surgery:

  • Choose a board-certified plastic surgeon with extensive experience performing Mommy Makeover surgeries.
  • Make sure the surgery will be performed in a fully-accredited facility equipped for emergencies.
  • Bring any questions or concerns to the pre-surgery consultation and fully disclose all medical history.
  • Invite your husband, a trusted family member or friend to your consultation so that they may also understand the process and provide appropriate support and care while you recover.
  • Make arrangements to have family and friends around to lend a hand during the recovery period.

Beyond the physical concerns, some women are also reluctant to invest in themselves. However, the rewards of surgery- renewed self-esteem and confidence- are truly priceless. Dr. Preminger has met with a number of women who admit to crying often about their changing bodies and feeling even worse when their investments in dieting and exercising lead to dead ends.

Enhance inner and outer beauty with mommy makeover procedures

The bottom line really is that mothers who feel good about themselves make for better, happier parents to children, better partners for spouses, and better achievers toward the accomplishment of personal goals. Some mothers feel good about themselves just the way they are now; others will feel it when their outward appearance matches how they feel inside.

Subsequently, mothers often worry about the message they’ll be sending their children if they have surgery. As one woman explained to Lifezette Magazine , “It was a repair, not an enhancement, and that’s what I tell my daughters and will tell my granddaughters.” Another woman said she will spend time teaching her children that inner beauty is far more important that outer beauty, but it helps to feel good about yourself in every way possible.  

The reality is that there is not such a stigma attached to plastic surgery as there once was. Last year, there were 286,254 procedures done, making breast augmentation the top cosmetic surgical procedure for the ninth year in a row. Reviews posted on sites like RealSelf.com show that all walks of life opt for procedures like breast augmentation and liposuction for a myriad of personal reasons.

Additional Resources:

ASPS – New Evidence on What Women Can Expect after Breast Augmentation Surgery http://www.plasticsurgery.org/news/2013/breast-augmentation-patients-report-high-satisfaction-rates.html

Real Self – At What Point is Surgery Necessary for Split Abdominal Muscles? http://www.realself.com/question/point-surgery-split-abdominal-muscles