The Only Question Moms Should Ask Themselves Before Plastic Surgery
I started a plastic surgery savings account when I was 16, after a classmate told me I looked like a ‘reptile.’
I knew he was referring to my nose, with its obvious bump. After crying to my mother that I needed a nose job – which she adamantly denied – I figured I could save up on my own. By the time I was 18 though, I realized I had grown into my nose, and, in fact, I got a lot of compliments, because it isn’t a perfect ski slope nose. My nose is unique, and I tell this to my daughter because she also is starting to complain about her nose. “Trust me, you’re going to want your nose! You’re going to grow into it!’
I started my second plastic surgery savings account for a boob job, after I had my babies about five years ago. This wasn’t because I breastfed, which is why most of my mom friends get boob jobs, complaining their breasts are droopy and uneven. I really wanted smaller and perkier boobs – to be able to say goodbye to bras forever – especially since, after I had my daughter, my breasts grew two sizes and stayed that way (Did this happen to you?) I hated my bigger boobs. I wanted, and still want, small boobs! There is only one problem: I’m terrified to go under the knife and deal with the pain and recovery. One day, though, I may face (no pun intended) my fears.
I have a friend who works for the top plastic surgeon in the country and after I showed her my ‘after baby’ boobs, and asked her if she thought I should get a boob job, she told me something that stuck in my brain. In fact, it was one of the best pieces of advice I ever received. Here it is: ‘If you think you’re a 7 out of 10 then don’t do it,’ my friend told me. I rated my boobs. Yes, I can say that my boobs, like my nose, are a 7 out of 10 by my standards. And I’m happy with being a 7 out of 10. This is the one question you should be asking yourself if you’re thinking of getting some work done.
A few years ago, my daughter asked out of the blue, ‘Why do you have your mean mommy face?’ to which I responded, ‘This isn’t my mean mommy face. It’s just…my face!’ That day, I made an appointment to get my first botox needle, in-between my frown lines, which I do twice a year.
So I was, shall we say, a little irked when I read a piece in the Washington Post called “When a natural mother considers plastic surgery.“ The author, Laura Jean Baker, writes about her conundrum over being a mother who had given birth to five babies without so much as Tylenol, practiced attachment parenting and considered herself a ‘natural mom’—but, as she writes, ‘My mixed allegiances were never as clear as when I studied my body. I was bewitched by the miracle of reproduction, but there’s always an aftertaste. Like, five postpartum recoveries later, my stomach looked so pinched and doughy. Motherhood had stretched my taut skin into a wrinkled flap.’
I’d say a good number of us mothers would say that what we have, after having our babies, what plastic surgeons have dubbed the ‘postpartum pouch.’ Those who have breastfed for years (not me) constantly wonder what happened to their even, perky boobs or while they once had breasts the size of cantaloupe are now the size of an insect bites.
She writes that her husband said, ‘The kinds of women getting boob jobs aren’t the kinds of women breast-feeding their babies.’ Her midwife agreed. My jaw dropped. WTF? It seems so…judgmental! Plus, a lot of mothers who breast feed do want their boobs done. Who were her husband and midwife to say what kind of mother gets plastic surgery? Also, what do you mean by ‘kind of mother?’ I would be, I guess, the kind of mother who would get a boob job if I wasn’t so terrified. So…so sorry to be that kind of mom.
I’ve wanted both a breast reduction and a nose job. But I’m okay being a 7/10…for now.
The author goes on to write, ‘Did moms who’d endured the more commonplace strains of pregnancy and childbirth even qualify?’ My jaw dropped again. Was this writer aware that it’s not like plastic surgeons do background checks. It’s not a competition. A plastic surgeon doesn’t give a crap if you co-sleep or feed your kids pop tarts for dinner. When her husband mentions that a lot of women get ‘mommy makeovers,’ she writes, ‘A revolving door of glamorous moms, the plastics from “Mean Girls” but married and with children, flashed into my brain and triggered my curiosity. Could I possibly be one of them?’ Was she serious, making such a sweeping generalization about mothers, making the assumption that everyone who gets plastic surgery is a) rich b) famous or c) trying to mitigate the symptoms of body dysmorphic disorder, as she writes? Oy. I actually wonder, in all her years of parenting, if she has actually spoken to another mother. Ever.
The writer speaks out of both sides of her non-filler-injected lips. She includes the statistic that in 2016, surgeons certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery performed nearly 16 million cosmetic procedures, a 115 per cent increase in plastic surgery from 2000, commonly among mothers. Is this writer then suggesting that 16 million people, many of whom are mothers, are ‘mean girls?’ Does she think, that of those 16 million who had cosmetic procedures, she is the only one who had a natural birth? So the author naturally birthed her babies, but she also ‘entertained’ plastic surgery. So…what’s her point?
Let me repeat: she entertained plastic surgery, but never went back after her initial consultation. So, yeah, she’s like most women. It’s not clear exactly why she never went through with it. On the one hand, she realized she couldn’t afford the nips and tucks. But she also writes that visiting the plastic surgeon had ‘magically sealed me off from the self-loathing and without spending the proposed $10,000, my skin eventually started to tighten up on its own.’ She even bought herself a new bikini, after swearing never to wear on again. This irked me, because, for someone so, so sure about how she is parenting, she also seems very insecure and judgmental over other mothers who may want a nip and tuck…or wear a bikini for that matter.
We all hate what our children have done to our bodies, especially us older moms, but we get over it. Some get plastic surgery and good for them, if it makes them feel better. This wasn’t an article of whether you can be a natural parent and also get plastic surgery. It’s just another story about a mother who is insecure with her body after being pregnant and breastfeeding. THAT I can get behind. But let’s not pretend that, just because this author didn’t go through with it, she actually went to get a consultation, while most of us just think about it.
So where’s my plastic surgery fund now? Well, it’s still there. Because maybe one day I’ll get up the nerve to get a boob job, like many of my mom friends who are neither rich or famous and come from all walks of life. Maybe I won’t think that my boobs are a 7/10 in a couple years. Who knows?
Being a natural mother who also wants a tummy tuck isn’t mutually exclusive. But I like the idea of asking yourself a very simple question: Do you think the body part you may want fixed is at least a 7 of ten? I’m happy being a 7/10 and, yes, I don’t think I mind that I’m not this writer’s kind of mother. Whatever the hell that means.