Disclosure: This is a guest post.
Browse the Internet, watch TV, or flip through a parenting magazine and chances are you'll come across advice for new moms who want their bodies to "bounce back" after pregnancy. It's pretty whoever coined that phrase has never been pregnant, because it sounds so simple.
The truth is — notwithstanding photos of celebrity moms who emerge a few weeks after giving birth with flat tummies and perky breasts — your pre-pregnancy body is pretty much history. Every woman's experience is a little different, of course, but even die-hard exercise junkies know that hardened abdomens remain disguised by wrinkled skin that spills over the top of their jeans.
As another blogger said, "I really don't know why it's called a muffin top. Muffins are delicious and make me smile. But the dough ball that continues to rise over the top of my pants is not delicious and it does not make me smile."
Experts warn that when it comes to getting that post-pregnancy body back in shape, neither crash dieting nor a stringent exercise program is the way to go — particularly if you've had a difficult pregnancy or a C-section delivery or are breastfeeding.
The talk about getting back into shape refers mainly to a woman's midsection. Post-pregnancy breasts, of course, are a lost cause. It's not uncommon for women to drop a full bra size after having a baby. That's compared to the pre-pregnancy breast size. They get saggy, they get smaller, and if you have more than one baby, it gets worse with each pregnancy.
So let's stipulate that exercise and healthy eating habits should be encouraged, but they won't tighten your skin or boost your breast size. That's why plastic surgery — specifically a "mommy makeover" —is an increasingly popular option.
If you're like many women, it's likely you've waged an internal debate about plastic surgery. Post-pregnancy bodies should be appreciated for what they are, says one voice. But I'm really, really not happy with this body, the other voice counters.
The author of an article that appeared on the Salon website summed it up this way:
"Never in my life would I have guessed I'd get plastic surgery. I disdained women like that: insecure and shallow about their looks. And yet, after having two children, I found myself at 25 years old with the body of an old lady. My grandmother’s 82-year-old figure was more feminine. My body was like a rubber band that had been stretched one too many times, unable to snap back into its natural shape."
A mommy makeover combines body contouring procedures such as a tummy tuck and liposuction with cosmetic breast surgery in a single operation. A tummy tuck removes excess abdominal skin and, when needed, repairs abdominal muscles separated by pregnancy. Breast surgery usually includes a breast lift, which is often combined with breast augmentation.
On his website, Sacramento plastic surgeon Dr. Wayne Yamahata says the benefits of a mommy makeover often go beyond physical changes: "Many women with children tend to put off taking care of their own needs. But pursuing a desire to get that pre-pregnancy body back can have both physical and emotional benefits. Most women feel more confident and have renewed energy after a Mommy Makeover."
Indeed, the satisfaction rate among patients is reportedly very high on the RealSelf website, a very popular online forum where people who are either considering or who have had plastic surgery can connect with other potential patients and board-certified specialists.
The website includes a "Worth It" feature that gauges patient satisfaction rates for different treatments and procedures. Of the 3,661 reviews submitted during a 24-month period, 98% rated mommy makeover surgery as worth it.
Hard to argue with those numbers. It's safe to say, however, that satisfied patients are those who carefully research potential surgeons and ultimately select a specialist who is board certified and is experienced performing the procedures involved in a mommy makeover.
The decision isn't easy, of course. But it's helpful to know you're not alone.