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Is the “Mommy Makeover” Really Necessary?

October 4, 2007

An article in today’s New York Times poses this very question, asking whether plastic surgery to erase the signs of motherhood, often including a boob job, tummy tuck, and lipo, is “necessary.”

Well, of course it’s not “necessary,” which implies that there is some kind of medical need – these ladies aren’t burn victims, they’re mothers. One plastic surgeon quoted for the piece, and currently marketing the “mommy makeover,” says, “The severe physical trauma of pregnancy, childbirth and breast-feeding can have profound negative effects that cause women to lose their hourglass figures.” You know, women, you may be in charge of raising the next generation, but you better be damn sure you’re a MILF. Please.

If you can afford the $10,000-$30,000 for the set of procedures and think it will make you feel better, go berserk. Judy Norsigian, executive director of Our Bodies Ourselves*, however, rightly points to the idea that a post-pregnancy body isn’t diseased, it’s simply different, stating:

“Some women go back to a pretty flat stomach and some don’t, some go back to their pre-baby weight and some don’t. The question is, does that need to be treated with a surgical makeover?”

In other words, your body changing as you age and go through life and major milestones such a pregnancy isn’t a disease that makes surgery “necessary” – it’s life.

Two plastic surgeons interviewed for the piece reportedly aren’t buying it, either, despite their potential to make money off of women’s post-baby insecurity:

“Clever marketing may encourage correction of a deformity that was previously of little concern. In other words, a woman seeking a tummy tuck, although not particularly concerned about the appearance of her breasts, may be influenced to have breast surgery just because it is part of ‘the package.’”

The surgeons have set up a website criticizing the trend, but they still insist on referring to “deformities that are a result of pregnancy.” On closer inspection, they go on to talk about risk reduction and the specialness of how *they* do the procedure. For surgeons supposedly criticizing the non-necessity of choosing extra surgeries just because one has had a baby, they are clearly using a marketing approach to draw women who are considering the procedure to their practice – essentially saying, “Look at us! You’re insecure! We’re different!”

The bottom line? Elective cosmetic surgery to try to pretend you didn’t have a baby is “necessary” the way coating yourself with peanut butter and nuts and lying out for the squirrels is “necessary” – if you want to, go for it, but don’t talk about it like it’s just some normal, required, rite-of-passage thing.

*Note: I have a working relationship with OBOS. I found this piece on my own and was not influenced by OBOS to write about it.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. October 5, 2007 12:28 am

    they still insist on referring to “deformities that are a result of pregnancy.”

    You know that quote that women are forever saying about “to be a mother is to for the rest of your life have your heart walking around outside your body.”

    Maybe that’s what they mean by “deformity”.

  2. Malia permalink
    October 5, 2007 2:45 pm

    Ay yi yi yi and oi vey!!

  3. Donna Locke permalink
    October 7, 2007 10:59 pm

    Rachel, I remember reading a news story years ago in which a plastic surgeon who advertised a lot was quoted as saying that small breasts are a deformity. Apparently he defined “small” as anything less than a C. Wow, a heck of a lot of women are deformed.

    As for post-childbirth bodies, the younger the mother, the more physically active the mother, the more likely her body will snap back to its previous shape, or (more likely) just close to it. A C-section makes it less likely, because the muscles are cut. The abdomen will not be the same as before, but it can still be flat and firm. The heavy dose of hormones during pregnancy causes some permanent changes, seen and unseen, as well.

    This doesn’t mean you can’t look good and fit. I taught strenuous hatha-yoga classes after 2 pregnancies and 3 abdominal surgeries and looked better, I thought, than I had in my teens. So don’t think all is lost. The body has a memory and is capable of remarkable feats.


  1. Cosmetic Surgery » Is the “Mommy Makeover” Really Necessary?
  2. Music City Bloggers » Blog Archive » For All You Deformed Freaks Out There
  3. Your Yucky Body « Women’s Health News

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