Motherhood is a beautiful experience. Yet, while mothers adore their children, they are often left feeling unhappy with the ways pregnancy and childbirth have changed their bodies.
Loss of volume in the breasts, sagging skin, stubborn fat and weak or separated abdominal muscles are often the results of having one or more children, driving many women to seek a mommy makeover as a solution. This customizable procedure has the ability to transform the way a woman feels about herself.
However, it is critical that patients understand what to expect after a mommy makeover – including some of the stranger things that happen.
“Mommy guilt” is real
Mothers are told to always put everyone else first, and in many cases, may even be actively shamed for prioritizing their appearance, as if spending money or time on themselves is wrong. Given that plastic surgery is a major investment in yourself, opting to get a mommy makeover can leave you feeling guilty. It is easy to picture where else that money could have gone and how it could have benefited the rest of the family.
Then there is the guilt over “vanity.” This can be especially hard on mothers with daughters, as it is easy to think that by getting a mommy makeover, you have failed to demonstrate the self-confidence you want your girls to have. Yet for many women, getting plastic surgery is what they need to engage in positive self-talk and demonstrate the self-love they want their children to develop.
Keep in mind that giving yourself what you need to be your best is actually an extremely important and valuable way to care for your family. A happy, confident mother is better able to raise happy, confident children.
You have to rest – and that might be hard
A mommy makeover, especially one that includes a tummy tuck, requires a lot of downtime. During this time, there is no running after toddlers or picking kids up. Even dressing and bathing them is off the table. Many mothers struggle with the idea of not trying to do it all.
When you have to ask for help and then sit and watch others do what feels like your job, it can be stressful. Many women find themselves jumping back into things too early and harming their recovery. Do not give in to this temptation, as you could easily injure yourself. Gear yourself up for this mentally and get comfortable with the idea of relying on others, at least for a few days so you have time to heal.
Things take a while to settle down
The results of a mommy makeover are not fully realized the instant you leave the recovery room. Right from the start, there will be bruising, swelling and discomfort, but this is a normal part of the recovery process. It often takes weeks to feel fully like yourself again, and several months before all bruising and swelling has dissipated.
But even when you keep this in mind, it can be easy to feel panic when your breasts look too large or your stomach seems lumpy after surgery. Try to keep in mind that the results are coming and you need to be patient until you are a good six weeks into your recovery to have a good sense of your mommy makeover results.
Numbness can play tricks with your brain
After surgery, numbness, itchiness and tingling are common side effects in the areas where you had surgery. You might feel itchiness on your abdomen and try to scratch it, only to find that you cannot relieve the sensation. For many women, this is one of the weirdest things that happen after a mommy makeover. These sensations are a sign that the nerves and blood vessels are healing. Fortunately, these symptoms should subside as you continue to heal.
There are highs and lows
We tend to frame surgery as a physical experience, but it is an emotional one too. From feeling tired, to the healing process, to the effects of pain medications, it is normal for women who’ve had a mommy makeover to experience a lot of emotional highs and lows. Be prepared for mood swings and teary moments, and make sure your family and caretakers are ready for it as well. Don’t be afraid to take a nap when the lows hit, as they might be a symptom of being overly tired.
You might have moments of “regret”
Once healing is completed and final results are visible after surgery, the vast majority of women are happy to have gone through with their surgery. But during the healing process, it is common to experience moments of regret. This can take the form of panic, especially when your initial results don’t exactly match up with the vision you had in mind.
As you struggle to deal with various aspects of recovery, you might feel remorse that you elected to have a procedure that is temporarily limiting you. There is also typically worry about whether or not this was truly the right choice.
Understand that temporary regret and worries are normal, and just as much a part of the healing process as incisions closing and scars fading. So long as you understand what to expect after a mommy makeover, you should get through it without much trouble and find that you very much enjoy the results.
Starting your mommy makeover journey
If you think that a mommy makeover might be right for you, be sure to meet with a board-certified plastic surgeon for a consultation. You can use the ASPS Plastic Surgeon Match referral service to find ASPS member surgeons in your area.
The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.