I recently drove to the Bay Area, and I was shocked at the number of billboards for plastic surgery targeted at mothers. There were signs offering to freeze off those extra pounds, sculpt away those hips, augment those breasts, etc. The billboard for plastic surgery that upset me the most was the one promising a “Mommy Makeover”.
WebMd explains the growing trend for plastic surgery mommy makeovers:
While it’s difficult to come by exact numbers for mommy makeovers because it’s a marketing term, not a surgical one, Douglas Mackenzie, MD, a board-certified plastic surgeon in Santa Barbara, Calif., says that mothers are by far his largest demographic. He attributes the trend to our obsession with youth as well as the public’s acceptance of plastic surgery. Even the numerous television makeover shows, he says, are merely an indication of a boom that began awhile back.
“Unlike our parents generation, [these mothers] want to stay young and feel young, and preserve the body they’ve had,” he says. “The music they listen to, the restaurants they go to, the clothes they wear, all have a lot to do with it. It’s a new generation.”
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgery (ASPS), 36% of the 9.9 million surgical and minimally-invasive cosmetic procedures performed in 2006 were on patients between the ages of 30 and 39; 29% of them were aged 20 to 29.
Breast augmentations increased 55% from 2000 to 2006, going from 212,500 procedures to 329,326. Breast lifts — another favorite among the mommy makeover crowd — went up 96% during the past six years, with the total number of procedures going from 52,836 to 103,788. Tummy tucks jumped a whopping 4,384% and buttock lifts increased 174%.
Even cosmetic genitoplasty, which often includes modification of the labia minora or labia majora, has come into vogue.
Many new mothers are concerned with how their body changes as a result of pregnancy. It is natural to have such concerns when we live in a society that places a strong value on looks. I admit to having similar concerns, and I admit I have thought of plastic surgery but I don’t think I could live with myself if I went under the knife.
My body changed. I have a stretch marks. My hips are wider. My boobs are saggier and smaller from breastfeeding. I have a little kangaroo pouch on most days.
What does all of that matter when I look into the shining eyes of my children?
I don’t have a photoshop body. Do I need one?
In a Facebook group I belong to, an expectant new mother asked if her boobs would change. Overwhelmingly, mothers responded no and were supportive. Mine changed, but I am fine with that. I did not comment.
How do these bodily changes compare to how my soul changed? My vanity is related to ego. I don’t want to judge others for feeling concerned about their looks, but the gift of my children far outweigh any bodily changes. When I see billboards telling me they can give me a mommy makeover, I try not to feel anger and feel more compassion for those that see that and believe they need it.
When so many women struggle with body image and acceptance when looking in the mirror, we don’t need billboards reminding us of our perceived imperfections. I do not know a single woman that has not at one point felt negatively about their body. Even my yoga teacher recently posted her own shortcomings in accepting her body. I have always found her beautiful.
Apparently the Bay Area is not the only place where billboards shaming women’s bodies are popping up. One such billboard in Michigan was recently defaced and shared on Upworthy.
There are many other solutions to cosmetic surgery. If you are eating right and exercising, you will have a beautiful mommy body.
I wish I could say I love my body. I do love my body in that it is capable of so much! Backpacking many miles, yoga, etc….but when I look in the mirror, I always find something to criticize.
I think for our daughters’ sakes, we need to learn to accept our bodies. I am working on it. We need billboards to remind us we are beautiful and not flawed. A Beautiful Body Project is a step in the right direction!