The Mom Job

In this installment of Tough Love, blogger Aunt Becky of Mommy Wants Vodka, offers her opinion to mothers considering plastic surgery.

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Tough Love with Aunt Becky

The question

I know you recently had a cosmetic surgery procedure and were pretty open about it. So I need help. I have four kids. FOUR! I breastfed.. .for a long time. I had two c-sections. I am a good mom, darn it. But I don't recognize myself anymore. I can log 24 hours a day at the gym, but those boobs aren't going to return to where they belong! So I want them surgically put back. However, I'm worried about what message that will send to my daughters. What do you think? Give it to me straight.

Aunt Becky answers:

Oh Prankster (I call my readers Pranksters, and since you're reading this, I'll call you Pranksters, too), I'm so excited for your new boobs! Is that really weird?

(Don't answer that.)

Becky's backstory

Before I address your awesome new boobs, let me give everyone some background because as a blogger, I like to hear myself talk.

I'm fortunate enough to have been built as the human equivalent of a daddy long-leg spider. All legs, no torso. Three babies later, my abdominal muscles were stretched hopelessly out in a condition called "diastasis recti" -- a separation of the left and right sides of the abdominal muscles. You could have driven your fist through my stomach and made a balloon animal from my intestines if you were so inclined. The issue was also causing me back spasms that traveled up my neck, giving me migraines. It was clear that had to be addressed.

Address it, I did. I got a full abdominoplasty performed by a plastic surgeon that repaired the issue AND my unsightly pot belly in early November of 2010. Aside from the recovery, which was brutal, it has been a total win. I look great and feel full of the awesome.

What's your motivation?

Now as for your new boobs, I'm all for anyone who wants to have an elective cosmetic procedure to feel better about themselves, providing they are doing it for reasons that do not indicate mental illness (such as body dysmorhphic disorder) or to please another person. It's a nebulous area and it's hard to quantify these stipulations for when it's "right" to have cosmetic surgery and when it's "wrong." I'm not a doctor (I just play one on TV) or qualified to vet potential candidates. But I do firmly believe it's important to feel good about yourself.

The opponents of cosmetic surgery call it a selfish, superficial, unnecessarily dangerous and vain thing to do, and, well, it is. We could feed starving babies with that money. We could try to end world hunger rather than focus on vanity. We could also cook our own organic food, start a sustainable solar farm and sew our own clothes. The opponents aren't wrong. They're just not entirely right. Everything in moderation. Get the boobs, then volunteer in a soup kitchen (not, of course, at the same time).

Talking about plastic surgery with kids

Now, after my incredibly long-winded, base-covering session, here's what I would tell my daughter when she hit an appropriate age (I don't imagine that my daughter, at age two, would understand or care. Nor would my nine-year old son): 

"I got a breast augmentation because I wanted to. Having breastfed three kids made my breasts look like two oranges in tube socks and it made me self-conscious. I had the financial means to afford this procedure and I did it because I wanted to and not because your father, society or anyone else told me that it was what I, as a woman, should look like. It makes me feel better about me and I am happy that I did it. You should never feel like you must have a breast augmentation or any other cosmetic procedure to be beautiful. You should never pay attention to what other people think of your body. What matters is how you feel about it. You are so, so beautiful."

It's the truth, right? And unlike the guy in that movie with Jack Nicholson, kids can normally handle the truth (maybe you don't want to whip out pictures of a breast augmentation because that's kind of inappropriate). Just be honest with your kid. She'll be just fine.

Good luck with your procedure, Prankster! I cannot wait to hear all about it!

Related video: Plastic surgery for moms

"Mommy Makeover" plastic surgery

Janet, a real patient, shares the details of her "Mommy Makeover" plastic surgery.

Tell us: What do you think of "mommy makeovers"? How would you discuss cosmetic surgery with your kids? Or would you? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

  About Tough Love

Tough Love

We're taking your parenting questions and asking for advice from some of the web's most popular mom bloggers. These thoughtful moms are not afraid to tell you exactly what they think. The result? Tough Love.

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Tags: body after baby

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Comments on "Be honest: Would you get cosmetic surgery?"

Dave August 31, 2011 | 9:09 PM

There's always the restorative angle, too. Good things happen (say, pregnancy, breast feeding) and sometimes they change how someone's body looks. If you liked the way you looked before, and don't like the way you look now, independent of outside pressures, then restorative procedures could be described (especially to young'ns who might not be ready for the somewhat abstract concept of self-image) as "putting things back the way they were." I think that's the biggest factor separating surgeries like those described here from the vain augmentations and unnatural preservations so popular with the Hollywood set.

CoffeeJitters.Net August 31, 2011 | 9:23 AM

I never imagined I would get plastic surgery. Then, while I was still breast feeding my baby, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I've met several other women diagnosed with breast cancer while they were really young, and getting the breasts reconstructed after treatment makes a huge difference. You can always tell - because they stand up straighter, and even though the fatigue from treatment can last for years afterward, there's a little more bounce in their step. I can't wait for my reconstruction now. I'm really looking forward to my shirts fitting correctly again. To make it even better - they're going to use my belly fat to make my new boobs! Win-win :)

PottyMouthMommy February 06, 2011 | 10:25 AM

Hard for me to think what I would say to my daughter. We tend to go the other way when it comes to breasts in my family; so an augmentation isn't something I would EVER consider. Having said that- I've had surgery to reduce and lift the girls once already, and having gotten preggers twice since then- I will most definitely be going under the knife again. The fact of the matter is this- we are indoctrinated from a very young age to what is "beautiful". It affects our self esteem and the way we see ourselves and our bodies whether we like it or not. Quite frankly, the fact that you are willing to admit that you are self-conscious about your body and considering surgery to rectify it makes you uncommonly honest and I respect the heck out of that. Just tell your kids the truth. It's not wrong to want to reverse the damage kids do on your body!! You fix the damage* they do to everything else!! Why not yourself??? *if there's anyone out there whose children HAVEN'T colored something they shouldn't have (IE: the walls, furniture, themselves) and/or someone who left the art project as-is, i need your secret... because magic eraser only does so much...

Maria February 06, 2011 | 8:29 AM

If I had the money, some help around the hosue, and was done having kids ummm...YES I would have plastic surgery. I eat right and exercise, but I have separated muscles, fistfuls of loose skin (huge pregnany belly+petite person+totally non-elastic skin) and droopy rocks in socks boobs. Sorry, I know it's not popular but yes, I'd like to have a body that I can look at in the mirror fondly.

Heather February 06, 2011 | 6:24 AM

I've often said that after I'm done having children and nursing I want to get my body back and truthfully that will entail some work besides massive cardio. On the other hand, as a Mom, I'm hesitant to have surgery - elective or otherwise- because there are inherent dangers with surgery. Which is what would concern me more than what my kids might think. Living is kinda important. So, my piece of assvice is to make sure you have a second opinion on the safety for YOU for surgery...then do whatever the Hell you want. Becky gives excellent advice.

Monica February 06, 2011 | 4:13 AM

I'm saving for a boob job too. My husband doesn't complain about my deflated boobs. And my [preteen] daughter is comfortable in her own skin. And so am I. The decision to re-inflate is mine. If one part of our culture condones, or encourages this while another thinks that I am conceited and selfish... I don't really care. I want to fill my bras again and see some added cleavage. I would hope that daily action, support, love, and encouragement speak louder than one decision to go under the knife?

GMD February 01, 2011 | 11:52 AM

Our kids are growing up in a completely different society than the ones we (the new parents) grew up in. Cosmetic surgeries have been 'normalized', as has been the trend to be get them. The next generation won't have this mindset where this is something to be ashamed of. Is this sudden change good? Probably not. But it is what it is, and our kids won't ask the same questions we might.

Kristy January 31, 2011 | 3:48 PM

Mmmm, I dunno. If a woman has to do this to "feel good about herself," then she IS succumbing to the pressures of our society. What teenage daughter ever bought into "do as I say, not as I do?" I'd as sooner say to her, "Yes, I got a boob job. I felt uncomfortable with the effects of pregnancy and/or aging on my body. I hope someday you feel more comfortable in your skin than I did in mine without the need for any surgery, but the reality is it's a rare woman who does in our culture. Regardless I'll always support your right to make your own decisions about your own body when you're an adult with resources."

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