This story about a ‘mommy makeover’ is likely familiar to you on some level.
Even when she takes into consideration all the ground she’s covered (and respect she’s come to command) through the first 15 years of her career, a woman—let’s name her Grace—considers herself an athlete foremost. She rises at 5 a.m. most mornings to get 10 miles in, and she’s meticulous about her diet.
At 35, she has her first child and gains 40 pounds during the pregnancy, but they come off in mere months postpartum with the help of a jogging stroller. A couple years later, Grace becomes pregnant again. This time, her recovery is far more challenging. A prolonged postnatal hospital stay, which included recovery from a C-section and a series of life-threatening complications, left her depleted.
Even once Grace made it home, caring for her second infant, who nurses constantly, absorbs much more of her time, to the extent that she abandons running.
She still manages to drop 25 pounds in fairly short order, but with her abdominal muscles forced apart, she still appears second-trimester pregnant. With 40 staring back from the horizon, Grace’s previously elastic body wasn’t snapping back into place the way it once had.
The “mommy makeover” is often perceived as an act of vanity, even by many of the women who pursue it.
But for Grace, it was an attempt at empowerment. As she was, Grace was struggling to be the mother she expected to be. Before children, the woman she saw in the mirror was fearless. But Grace, the mother, couldn’t even take her toddlers to the park without persistent anxiety over concealing her body.
To her young kids, everything was new and thrilling. But Grace was too distracted by her fellow moms to indulge in that joy. She felt like a failure because her body had morphed into something completely foreign to her, and she couldn’t seem to get out of her own way as a result.
The mommy makeover isn’t a single surgery that reconstructs the body. Rather, with the help of a board-certified plastic surgeon, a woman can customize a series of operations specific to her needs. Nearly always it includes a breast augmentation and a lift, as well as a tummy tuck, a surgical procedure designed to eliminate the loose skin and excess fat apparent after childbirth.
The mommy makeover is a big undertaking for a woman and, really, her entire family. Recovery from abdominal surgery can’t be rushed, which means finding help with childcare and asking a partner to absorb more than their fair share of domestic duties.
The reward that makes enduring that worth it? Reclaiming yourself, and becoming a fearless, fun mom in the process.