Perspectives of a female plastic surgeon and mother, Dr. Kimberly Singh
To all the mamas out there, let me be very clear: you don’t need to be made over.
And yes, I’m saying this as a board-certified plastic surgeon. My job is to surgically alter people’s bodies. So, you’re probably wondering why I’m up here on my soap box telling women to “just say no” to Mommy Makeovers.
Well, that’s because I’m not. Not exactly, anyway. It’s more that I believe there’s a need to reclaim the term for ourselves, so that we’re able to define it as the unique individuals we are.
Mommy Makeovers Center the Male Gaze, Not Women’s Happiness
As women, we are told by society (and by that I mostly mean the straight, cisgender, able-bodied, white patriarchy) that we must halt or reverse the physical effects of our well-lived lives in order to be considered attractive. Or even worthy of living, for that matter! This means feeling constantly pressured to conform to a heteronormative, completely unrealistic, and, more often than not, white-washed standard of beauty. It means learning to hate our bodies, even when they’ve given us amazing children. Think about it — if we don’t just “bounce back” from pregnancy, flat tummies and all, well…we may as well just dig a hole a bury ourselves, right?
This is exactly why I hate the term “mommy makeover;” so much so that you’ll rarely — if ever! — hear me use it in my clinical practice. Plastic surgery shouldn’t be a reaction to what others think we should look like. Or even what we think we should look like –not if it’s based on others’ ideals. Moms don’t need makeovers to be beautiful, and we certainly don’t need surgery. What we do need is to love ourselves, and feel comfortable in our own skin.
Women’s Bodies are Awesome — Before, During and After Pregnancy
Pregnancy is life-changing in the most beautiful and powerful ways. Our bodies literally become self-sustaining life generators, for goodness sake! The physical and biochemical changes that allow us to bring these amazing little humans into the world and nurse them — if we choose! — alter the very fabric of who we are as women and as individuals as we learn how to navigate both the smooth seas and (sometimes) treacherous terrain of motherhood.
Becoming a mother truly is a metamorphosis; I became one for the first time when I was still a plastic surgery resident at Emory. That “mama transformation” went on to inform my entire clinical practice; it’s incredibly important to me that I help women reframe any negativity associated with their post-pregnancy bodies. For me, this also means kicking the term “mommy makeover” to the curb.
Living Your Best Life, Mommy Style
Plastic surgery, when performed for cosmetic reasons, should be the thing you do to feel like your best self. Not some bizarre photoshopped version of “perfection” constructed by someone who is not you, probably isn’t a woman, certainly isn’t a mom, and who hasn’t lived YOUR life in YOUR body. Be the size and shape that makes you feel confident and comfortable. Throw up a finger (you know the one) to anyone or anything (I’m looking at you, American Society) that says you need to be a size zero or a size anything that isn’t the size that makes you happy. You are amazing, I am amazing, we are all fabulous, and no one gets to tell us otherwise.
So here is the deal, mamas. You are in charge. If you already love everything about yourself? Just keep living your life as we welcome you into the incredible tribe that is motherhood. Don’t you dare change a thing.
However, if there’s a procedure that you’re curious about, one that you think might make you feel happier and more at ease in your own skin, then I encourage you to come in and talk to me or my incredible partner, Dr. Abboushi, whether it’s about breast enhancement, a tummy tuck, or liposuction.
And if you do elect to have surgery, even if it’s not with us, please be careful and particular regarding who gets the privilege of taking care of you. Always choose a board-certified plastic surgeon, as this means she or he has completed the rigorous training required in order to be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons. Yes; it really does matter! And be sure that your surgeon makes you feel comfortable and heard every single time you see them; never let anyone push you into a procedure — ever.
Of course, I would be lying if I said I didn’t want you to choose me or Dr. Abboushi as your doctor. So, if you do select Panacea, I promise that you will never feel anything less than honored and celebrated as the amazing woman (and mama!) you are.
Dr. Kimberly Singh