I’ve said it before. Being a parent is one of the most transcendental, magical experiences filled with laughter, tears, joy and even anger…sometimes all at once. From pregnancy to birth to parenthood, it is both amazing and terrifying. What can be truly scary, though, are thoughts about pregnancy and delivery “ruining” your body. In fact, I hear it all the time. “Babies destroy you.” That is a real fear of many women; not only are we afraid that delivery will be the greatest pain we’ve ever felt, but the aftershocks of pregnancy and delivery are equally as concerning.
Cue the “Mommy Make Over.” It is true that pregnancy, delivery, and motherhood change you, but I wouldn’t say it necessarily destroys you. In most cases, that’s a bit hyperbolic. However, the differences in your “before pregnancy” and “after pregnancy” body can take a major toll on the ‘ol self-image. It is hard enough getting used to your new role as a mother, but now you don’t even recognize the body you’ve had your entire life?! How are you supposed to feel about this?
Some women are extremely bothered by their new bodies while others either 1.) won the pregnancy and delivery lottery and remained relatively intact, or 2.) are completely copacetic with the change. Who is better off? What is the right answer?
Are you ready? Drum roll please…the answer is “both.” However, you feel about your body post-pregnancy and delivery is exactly right. If you embrace every stretch mark and wound as a battle scar well earned, you are a strong warrior; a force to be reckoned with. If you want to completely erase any evidence of loose skin or scars, you are a strong warrior; a force to be reckoned with. Know why? Because you grew and birthed a freaking baby!!! You’re one battle cry away from morphing into a legit superhero.
If you are considering surgery, or the “Mommy Make Over,” here are five things to keep in mind to keep you safe.
1.) Do your research
Not every surgeon is created equal. Ask for a consultation; if you feel pressured or made to feel bad about the skin you’re in, ditch ‘em. Know that not all surgeons completing these procedures are board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Also, some specialize in reconstructive surgery after cancer treatment or trauma, but not necessarily aesthetic cosmetic surgery. There are also different techniques used; ask questions about the most effective with the least amount of healing time and scar tissue. You will definitely want to ask the specialist how many of these surgeries she has completed.
2.) Be familiar with the side effects
Tummy tucks and breast augmentation are major surgeries. They often involve painful and long recoveries. Be prepared to have limits placed on your movement, activity, and lifting. That means little ones can’t jump on you, you may not be able to care for them (temporarily) and you definitely won’t be able to pick them up. Scar tissue is a major side effect as well, which can even impact internal organ function as well as tissue mobility and sensation. In other words, scar tissue can gum up the works and you may be either hyper-sensitive or completely numb.
3.) Prepare, prepare, prepare
When considering the possible side-effects, plan to be out of commission for a few weeks. You’ll want to do as much preparation ahead of time as possible. Have someone watch the kids, have your groceries delivered, freeze meals you’ve prepped ahead of time…you get the idea.
4.) Do it because you want to
Because this is major surgery, do it only if you want it. It really doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks; only you have to live in that beautiful body of yours. Only you have to grin and bear the recovery. It isn’t worth it if it is for someone else.
This last point is for everyone (whether you get the surgery or not!), so read it carefully!
5.) Practice self-care before and after
Mamma, you have got to take care of yourself. This means filling your life with light and peace. It means moving your body, giving it the fuel it needs to thrive. It means loving and being loved, laughing and resting when you need it.
Whatever you choose, you are beautiful and exceptional. You may decide “Mommy Make Over” is not for you, that is perfectly fine because this is about you and what is perfect for you. Remember,you are a warrior. You are a superhero.