Does Choosing Cosmetic Surgery (Particularly a ‘Mommy Makeover’) Send the Wrong Message to Our Kids?
If anyone knows a thing or two about putting the needs of others before their own, it is a mother. As one myself, I basically handed over my body when I decided to take on the awesome responsibility of getting pregnant. I swore off coffee, shellfish, I only slept on my side, I quit wine, and well, I essentially became the crankiest and most anxious version of myself for the 10 months of pregnancy and the six months following since I chose to breastfeed. If you don’t believe me, just ask my husband, who had the unenviable task of keeping me company during those excruciatingly long months as I admonished him for “getting me in this situation in the first place.” Ultimately, I just wasn’t one of those happy-go-lucky pregnant ladies.
Of course once you finally birth said baby, the real work begins, and having been in the trenches for 14 years now, I can tell you that while it pales in comparison to pushing a human through your lady parts, the emotions remain as intense. Being a parent is a lifelong job, especially when it comes to the work of raising and modeling behaviors that you hope your kids will retain. Therefore I’ve always tried to catch myself in any kind of negative talk when it comes to my own feelings about my body image when my daughter is around so as not to pass on that kind of negative self-talk and thinking. But the truth is, since having children, my body never reverted back to its pre-pregnancy state especially after my C-section. But, does being a mom mean getting cosmetic surgery is in some way sending the wrong message to my kids: that I don’t love my body and all that it has given me (namely these two kids)? I recently read an essay “On Parenting and Plastic Surgery” in the Huffington Post about a mom grappling with the issues of being a parent and after nursing her baby being ok with taking back her body and making it her own.
I, for one, feel that any mom who wants to get cosmetic surgery to fix what pregnancy may have altered should do so and apparently Dr. Mark Solomon agrees. In fact, Dr. Solomon, a board-certified plastic surgeon based in New York, believes women who want to get cosmetic surgery post pregnancy should, first and foremost, free themselves of any guilt.
“I tell patients that cosmetic surgery is a gift that they give to themselves and there should be no guilt if they have earned it,” says Dr. Solomon, who also shares that his patients rarely feel any guilt and are often most concerned with complications. “I have a candid discussion about risks and I assure my patients that I am there to help them through the process at every step. Generally, most patients understand that they have sacrificed to get to the point of wanting surgery and they have no regrets once they understand that they have earned the privilege.”
Dr. Solomon adds for those moms who are not yet ready to take the cosmetic surgery plunge there are other options at their disposal. For example, if a woman has not disrupted her abdominal muscles (the abs) with pregnancy, then muscle surgery is not needed and other non-invasive methods including laser and cold treatments can be effective. Dr. Solomon also advises that women should avoid sun exposure which can worsen their stretch marks.
Of course for some, surgery, AKA the ‘Mommy Makeover’ is the best option post-pregnancy, notes Dr. Solomon.
“Besides a tummy tuck, the full Mommy Makeover treats the areas most affected by pregnancy and motherhood - namely the breasts as well as the tummy,” notes Dr. Solomon, when it comes to helping a woman reach her target body image post-pregnancy. “Even without breastfeeding the breasts often lose volume and change shape in most patients, so implants are a viable option to restore volume and shape. Others may need skin removal and a lift to return their breasts to a pre-pregnancy state. Even breast liposuction may be performed in women who have breast volume that they want to reduce. Other areas of liposuction that are frequently necessary after pregnancy are the hips and thighs.”
The bottom line, as far as I’m concerned, (and I do feel backed up by Dr. Solomon when I say this,) once you have your kids, you deserve to take your body back and make it your own again - and if surgery helps you reach your goal then by all means GO FOR IT!
“Being our best is what we want for our children as well as ourselves,” says Dr. Solomon who is quick to dispel the notion that cosmetic surgery sends the wrong message to one’s children. He adds that parents should underscore the importance of living a healthy lifestyle as being paramount and that cosmetic surgery is just another tool in life to help one try to be the best she can and bolster her self esteem so that she can live life to its fullest. Of course Dr. Solomon adds that the best time for a Mommy Makeover is when a woman has determined that she does not want any more children as pregnancy after a Mommy Makeover can alter the surgical result in a way that defeats the goal of surgery.
So ladies have your kids and then do what works for you guilt free!