Hot moms are in these days. Okay, maybe hot moms have always been in. But with the popularity of terms like MILF and cougar (and television shows like The Real Housewives and Cougar Town), the pressure to look good post-baby is stronger than ever.
That’s why plastic surgery for new or seasoned mothers is a growing trend. But what exactly is a ‘mommy plastic surgery makeover’ and why is it any different from a normal cosmetic makeover?
The Mommy Makeover Trifecta
Pregnancy and childbirth are physically traumatic, there’s no denying it. Stretch marks, saggy skin, and weight gain really distort a woman’s hourglass figure. And that’s only the beginning of motherhood. Breast-feeding, habitual lack of sleep, and general stresses associated with becoming a new mom don’t exactly rejuvenate the feminine form.
So what can mothers do to make sure they’ve got MILF status? The quintessential ‘mommy makeover’ involves a trio of procedures: a breast lift and/or breast augmentation, a tummy tuck, and liposuction. These three surgeries are meant to tighten loose skin, reduce stretch marks, and eliminate leftover pregnancy fat.
Since new moms tend to be a teensy bit busy, it can be hard to find time for an intensive exercise routine, and the ‘mommy makeover’ offers a quicker (if not particularly cheap) solution to post-pregnancy body woes. But that’s not the only allure of the ‘mommy job.’ Even a few years after her baby is born, momma can have a hard time working her body back into shape. Stubborn fat deposits, unsightly stretch marks and drooping breasts just don’t disappear with a few Pilates sessions.
According to Dr. Daniel Yamini, a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon in Los Angeles: “The trend for this type of work has steadily increased over the past 5 years. Why? One reason is that the tabloids consistently feature celebrity moms and their seemingly instant body bounce-backs. For example, Heidi Klum, who was back on the runway just 6 weeks after giving birth. Most women don’t have genes like Heidi’s, plus, access to a team of fitness and image experts. A ‘Mommy Makeover’is realistic option for women who have finished having children and want to restore the parts of their bodies that are stretched out, sagging or deflated. It’s a big boost in confidence in a matter of weeks.”
But is the mommy makeover a promising new response to age-old feminine resentment of the post-baby body, or is its popularity the result of a proliferation of the pop-culture stereotype of the hot mom?
Is the Mommy Makeover a Healthy Choice?
Plastic surgeons tout the mom job as a source of empowerment for women, saying that now, instead of hiding her sagging body under oversized tees and an ugly pair of mom jeans, a woman can actually do something to restore her body to its pre-pregnant glory.
However, detractors insist that the makeover promotes an unhealthy image of female perfection. No one disagrees that a woman’s body changes during pregnancy and childbirth, but who’s to say that those changes should be considered negative across the board? Some opponents of the mom job claim that the current model of female beauty (thin, perky, and with decidedly flat tummies) encourages women to dislike their motherly shape instead of embracing it as a new stage of womanhood.
The questions and concerns surrounding the mom plastic surgery job are, at the core, the basic questions surrounding plastic surgery itself. Should women (or men) be willing to allow their bodies to undergo the biological changes that nature intends, or should they opt to improve or maintain their appearance artificially?
For many women, the desire to look good again after pregnancy makes the answer to that question easy: Biology be damned, I want my body back! And that’s a fine answer, if it’s really what a woman wants. The real worry with the propagation of the mommy makeover is that women will begin to feel an increased societal pressure to undergo expensive postpartum surgery. Certainly, viewing the mom job as a way to fix the ‘disfiguration’ of pregnancy is not a healthy attitude. The changes that a woman undergoes are perfectly natural, and shouldn’t be considered unacceptable or even unattractive.
Some women’s bodies don’t even suffer that much from pregnancy. Celebs certainly seem to keep their million dollar figures through the childbirth process. And all women react differently to the nine or so month ordeal. Age and genetics are a huge factor in how a woman’s body ages, whether or not she decides to become a mother. So whether or not the mommy makeover is a good choice for a patient is really an individual matter that should be handled on a case by case instance. If a woman isn’t happy with her postpartum shape, there are options, and that’s important for women to know. It’s also important to realize that aging naturally is still acceptable, if that’s how a woman feels comfortable. The mommy makeover simply offers an alternative to the aging process, as does any cosmetic procedure.
Who Should get the Mommy Makeover?
A lot of people, according to recent statistics. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported a rise in plastic surgery among women of child-bearing age (not all of whom are necessarily mothers). In 2009, over 325,000 mommy jobs were performed nationally on women ages 20 to 39.
What does that mean for you? Well, for one thing, if you feel dissatisfied with your postpartum body, you’re not alone. For another thing, if you have an extra $12,000 to $15,000 lying around or can get financing, the full trifecta of mommy procedures is totally within your reach.
Don’t get discouraged if you don’t have over ten grand readily available. The full mommy makeover doesn’t have to be completed in one fell swoop, nor do any of the procedures mandate any of the others. Women can choose to have a tummy tuck one year, and a breast lift later on. And some women may not even feel that their bodies necessarily need all of the ‘repairs’ that require all three treatments. In which case, perhaps only a little lipo would do the trick.
Like any plastic surgery, the mommy makeover shouldn’t be an excuse to slack on diet or exercise, and the procedures shouldn’t be considered a ‘quick fix.’ Even with liposuction, a tummy tuck, and a breast lift, a healthy diet and regular physical activity are necessary to maintain an attractive figure and to slow the effects of aging.
Dr. Yamini advises, “To avoid complications, I advise moms to wait at least six months after they’ve finished breast-feeding before considering any type of breast enhancement surgery. If a patient plans to have more children, I advise them to hold off on getting a Mommy Makeover. The vertical muscles in the abdomen can re-separate, which basically un-does the tightening we accomplished with the tummy tuck.”
As for the recovery period, Dr. Yamini states, “In general (and depending on which combination of procedures was done), patients typically go back to work 1-2 weeks after surgery, are driving in about one week, and are ‘swimsuit ready’ in 4-6 weeks.”
It’s hard for women to put themselves back together after a baby is born. Anyone who’s experienced motherhood knows that firsthand. Getting and staying skinny is hard enough before pregnancy, but afterwards it can seem impossible. Even years later, women complain that they’ve never been able to regain their hourglass shape. (Hence, some mothers of children in high school or older are also getting the mommy makeover!) So if the mommy makeover allows you, as a mother, the chance to release your inner MILF, good for you. And, if you don’t want to be called a cougar or have all of your son’s friends checking you out a la Desperate Housewives, that’s good too. The mommy makeover is just one new development in the world of cosmetics.
Tags: Abdominoplasty, breast augmentation, Breast Lift, cosmetic surgery, Liposuction, Mommy Makeover, plastic surgery, Tummy Tuck