New Moms Hate Their Bodies, Heart Plastic Surgery

Illustration for article titled New Moms Hate Their Bodies, Heart Plastic Surgery

Hey, so here's something you may be aware of: when a woman goes through the life-changing and completely natural event of giving birth, afterwards, her body doesn't always look the same as it did before! But, reports today's New York Times, plastic surgeons have a "surgical cure for the ravages of motherhood." Called a "mommy makeover" or a "mommy job," the "cure" involves a breast lift with or without implants, a tummy tuck and liposuction. The problem is that these surgeons — mostly men — market their procedures by making the postpartum body seem horrifyingly disfigured and abnormal. "Some women have stretch marks from pregnancy or weight gain," said Dr. Erin E. Tracy, an assistant professor in obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive biology at the Harvard Medical School. "But there is no intrinsic abnormality to the breasts or the abdomen."


Of course, that doesn't stop women from wanting their pre-pregnancy bodies back. And the number of women opting for "mommy makeovers" was up 11% last year. Additionally, some critics point out that packaging multiple procedures under a cutesy nickname could convince new moms to have additional operations (none of which they actually need), increasing risk of infection, and, of course, death. Some of the women — like Sharlotte Birkland, pictured above, aren't new mothers. Ms. Birkland, who recently remarried, has a son who is 20 years old. She got a breast implants, a tummy tuck and lipo. Regarding body image, she says, "I don't think it was an issue for my mother; your husband loved you no matter what." But, according to the article, Karen Murphy, a mother of four, bashed mommy surgery on the blog StrollerDerby:

"Those badges of motherhood have turned into badges of shame and, if you're the one caught without a tummy tuck, then you won't get invited to the party," she wrote. "It peeves me no end that something as drastic as surgery, as this blatant nonacceptance of one's own body in whatever shape it happens to be in, has become so pervasive."


Forgetting the obvious financial commitment, the issue has two clearly defined sides. On the one hand, there are women who struggle with self-esteem and self-acceptance, and if a tummy-tuck and a breast-lift help, isn't that okay? But on the other hand, the more women get "mommy makeovers," the fewer actual post-partum bodies there will be. Then, how can any mother who doesn't choose surgery feel comfortable — if she's surrounded by unattainable physiques and the "norm" is completely abnormal?

Is The 'Mom Job' Really Necessary? [NY Times]

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@jeweltones: I'm pretty sure this has been determined to be an urban legend. Everyone talks about it, but nobody knows anyone who has actually done it.