Mommy Makeovers – Dealing with the criticism on a personal decision

Remaking Mom -Restoring Your Body After Childbirth

Image is everything in some parts of the world. Physical ideals dictated by our society can be difficult or impossible to attain. Inner beauty is a secondary consideration at best. Even Mom isn’t good enough these days, according to the latest controversy over Mommy Makeovers. While some mothers are relieved to know that there are other women like themselves who yearn for fewer bulges and perkier breasts post-partum, other moms are thoroughly peeved at the focus being placed on how moms look as opposed to other mom-characteristics (like patience, love, and strength, for example).


What are“mommy makeovers” and why are these popular?

The “Mommy Makeover” is a package of procedures that can include a tummy tuck, liposuction, a breast lift, and sometime implants. It was inspired by new moms who want their pre-pregnancy bodies back after birthing one or more babies. Lately, Mom Makeovers have become more popular with surgeons reporting a rise in demand of 11 percent between 2005 and 2006.

Hundreds of thousands of these procedures are performed annually to help mothers conquer both the ravages of pregnancy and aging. But rather than feeling hopeful about the surgical technologies available to today’s woman, many mothers and medical experts see the Mommy Makeover as threatening to the health of women in general.

Including risks or potential complications

Though some research has shown that there are no additional risks involved in Mommy Makeovers which includes the combo pack of procedures that have been neatly packaged under one cute name, many experts heartily disagree. Doing a tummy tuck, liposuction and a breast lift or breast implantation surgery all in one go is hard on a woman’s body and a challenge for even the most skilled surgeons. The increased length of surgery alone increases health risks to patients undergoing the procedure.

Death Rate* From Complications of Medical and Surgical Care Among Adults Aged ≥45 source: (

A variety of studies in medical journals have reported mortality rates for liposuction at anywhere between 1 and 5,000 to 1 in 50,000. The death rate for abdominoplasties (a tummy tuck) is even higher at 1 in 600 to 1 in 2000. No studies have ever been published examining the death rate for breast implant surgery, but according to statistics derived from breast implant deaths in the Los Angeles area, 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 20,000 women die getting their breasts augmented each year. Mommy Makeovers include all three of these procedures. The odds of dying on the surgical table from the anesthesia alone is 1 in 13,000. To put these statistics in perspective, the risk of death from skydiving is only about 8 in 1,000,000.

A confidence boost for Mothers & Professionals

But many women are willing to take the risks in order to have their pre-pregnancy bodies back. Many of today’s mothers aren’t just mothers. They’re professionals and looking good gives them a boost of self-confidence in a competitive workplace. A Mommy Makeover can help women win social approval, which is empowering. A number of experts argue that women should have the option to make some physical changes that increase their self-esteem.


But let’s face it, some women look down their noses at the mothers who are flocking to surgeons for tummy tucks and breast lifts. Other women who have had Mommy Makeovers, judge the ones who haven’t for their lack of concern about their appearance. Women do this to each other. The public concern over marketing cosmetic surgery to women and especially mothers is legitimate, though. Many women who would readily accept their body as-is after pregnancy may be persuaded by advertising to feel unhappy with their appearance. Surgery puts them at risk for complications like infection or even death. And these women have children. It’s a cogent argument.

The Mommy Makeover, a personal decision

But the other perspective is worth considering too. Some women suffer fewer aesthetic changes than others following pregnancy, in part due to age differences or just genetics. Those women may not need a Mommy Makeover to return to their pre-pregnancy figure. As long as women are informed about the real risks involved in the surgery, shouldn’t it be their decision? Women’s bodies have always been a hot-button issue that seems to polarize people on both sides perhaps because, as a society, we know that women are marginalized and that part of that marginalization happens as a result of their bodies both in terms of form and function. Women, or rather, all humans internalize marketing and the impossible ideals whatever they may be. Is it the surgery that damages mothers or is it the airbrushed pictures in the magazines at grocery stores that lead them to believe their bodies aren’t good enough? Which of these two things are the greater evil?

Until our society’s infatuation with image diminishes, Mommy Makeovers and the magazines in the grocery check-out line will continue to be a part of our society as sagging breasts and bulging bellies are often a part of post-partum bodies. You can try to make all mothers look like pre-pubescent girls using surgery or you can try to suppress the surgeries, but the fact remains, some women want these procedures even despite the risks. Others are appalled because the mere existence of Mommy Makeovers highlights bigger problems in our culture. It is what it is. You can surgically remove the fat, but a mom is still a mom. You can take the scalpel away from the surgeon, but that won’t make women less self-conscious about the way they look. We all know that Mom doesn’t need to be remade, but something about the Mommy Makeover makes us all stop and think that there’s something wrong with our society that does need to change.