Mommy Makeover Part 3: Post Op and Beyond

Be Sure to Read the Journey from the Start!

It has been 10 months since my surgery and I'm happy to report that I am fully recovered aside from a bit of abdominal muscle tightness. Now that it's all behind me I get asked all the time if I'd recommend having a tummy tuck or breast lift to someone else. I am not going to sugar coat was one of the toughest things I've EVER done from start to finish. And I've birthed 4 babies...just saying. BUT, with that said, I can say without a sliver of doubt that I am so happy I went through with it. Here are just a few of those reasons:

  1. Body Confidence -- I want to preface this by saying that I am all about loving your body the way it is. I have a child born with physical differences so wanting to change my body while simultaneously telling Aiden (and all my kiddos) that he is perfect the way God made better believe I struggled with feeling like a hypocrite. However I will also always advocate for and support my children doing things that could have a positive impact on their self esteem and confidence should that be something they struggle with. For example, Aiden has an area where the skin grafts on his surgically separated toes have fused back together between his big toe and the one next to it. It prevents him from wearing flip-flops - something most kids don't think twice about being able to do. If he comes to me one day and says he wants to elect to have surgery to address that I would 100% support him.

    Having babies destroyed my body. Not just on the outside, but on the inside too. I suffered from repeated umbilical hernias, a severe abdominal muscle separation (that was called "impressive" by more than one surgeon I consulted with!) and the typical loss of elasticity and "perkiness" of breasts that fed 4 babies. Add in there surface things like stretch marks so deep and plenty they looked like an iridescent road map across my midsection and nipples that grew as dark and big as pepperonis and yeah, to say my body was not my most favorite thing would be an understatement.

    I mentioned this in Part 1 of this Mommy Makeover journey, but I'll say it again. I really tried to make peace with my body. I did. I prayed about it. I worked out. I changed my diet. I took care of myself. I read all the beautiful quotes and articles from women who embrace their post-baby bodies, who fully accepted the scars left behind after pregnancy as a sacred remembrance of the amazing ability for a woman's body to carry life. And yet, I struggled. Every. Damn. Day. The decision to have surgery was not one made hastily. Nor was it one made out of vanity. I did not choose to do it for anyone else. I couldn't make peace with my body - even though I so desperately wanted to - so instead I learned to make peace with my decision to have this done. For me.

    I worried about the results not satisfying that desire to feel confident in my own skin. Going through this whole difficult process brought about an entirely new attitude toward my body that I didn't expect though. That confidence I was looking for? It didn't come as a result of having a tummy tuck or breast lift. I still have dimply thighs, I could stand to lose a few pounds and I hate working out just as much as I did before. The tummy tuck didn't erase every stretch mark from my stomach and even added new scars.  And yet I wear a swimsuit and don't think twice about it. I undress in front of my husband without rushing to pull on a robe. I walk around in my room without clothes on - something I NEVER did before, even alone. My confidence comes from being proud of taking such a gigantic leap for myself. Do I still have moments where I think "I'm still not [skinny, toned, pretty] enough?" Sure, I think every woman does. But my confidence wins most of the time. And I call that a huge victory.

  2. The War with Clothing -- This goes hand in hand with body confidence because not only was I unhappy naked, I was unhappy clothed! I could never find pants that fit me well. I would always have to go up a size so that they would fit in the waist where my "mommy flap" was. They would either be too baggy in the butt or too long or too high waisted. And on top, I NEVER wore a single layer. After 2 umbilical hernia repairs I had what could be compared to a bagel for a belly button. If I attempted to wear a single top you could literally see that bagel through the fabric. Instead, even in sweltering heat, I would wear a cami under every shirt. As an alternative I would purposely look for flowy tops in only certain fabrics so as you can imagine that narrowed down the selection and styles of shirts I could wear. It sucked.

    And can we talk for a second about how much money I spent on the many varieties of slimming undergarments? I had an entire basket in my closet dedicated to tank tops, high waisted underwear, butt toning leggings and more ridiculousness that promised to suck in and smooth every lump and bump I was trying to hide. Trying to wiggle and worm my way in to (or out of) any of those in front of my husband was definitely something I avoided at all costs. 😉 I'm happy to say I have not touched that basket since surgery.

  3. The Physical Impact and the Argument for Medical Necessity -- While a tummy tuck and breast lift are almost always considered cosmetic and elective procedures, most women who have been pregnant who choose to have a tummy tuck are usually wanting to address a physical problem called diastasis recti. I talk more about that in Part 1 and Part 2, but basically the abdominal wall weakens with the pressure of growing a baby causing the muscles on either side to literally separate. Although it sounds painful it usually isn't, but it does complicate things. Without a strong core, one can have constant back pain and poor posture which can cause a host of other consequences as a result. Because those muscles are spread apart, the tissue surrounding the belly button underneath is prone to becoming herniated (and even more susceptible if you have had an umbilical hernia already).

    You might think this all makes a pretty good case for having a small portion of this surgery covered by insurance. Especially since recurrent hernias would mean multiple costly surgeries to repair them anyway. Unfortunately that argument is pretty hard to impress upon the mighty insurance companies. If you are considering having a mommy makeover, it definitely wouldn't hurt to look at your coverage and see if there isn't some way to work it out.

Finally, I'm excited to share some "Before and After" pics as well as a close up of the tummy tuck scar. I've been waiting to do this so I could see how the scars end up healing and I think after 10 months it looks about as good as it will look. I got some amazing scar cream from my plastic surgeon, Dr. Mizuguchi, but I think how a scar will ultimately look has many factors -- genetics, skin elasticity, post-op care and probably the most important is...excellent surgical technique and lots of experience. 

If you are considering a Mommy Makeover and would like to chat, feel free to message me on Instagram (@moreskeesplease). I have a lot more information in my highlights there including lots of Q&A from throughout the entire process.