Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Mom Job (Postpartum)

ell, if the NYTimes is asking the question then we should try to answer it: Is the 'Mom Job' Really Necessary?

Apparently, many say "Yes."

The surgery trifecta of tummy tuck/lipo/breast lift with implants is the new post-partum must-have. Forget about designer diaper bags. This surgery is touted as a husband's way of saying "thank you for a job well done," a quick way to lose the excess 30 lbs. and go back to what you were before. Sort of.

The 'Mommy Makeover' is at core a marketing strategy: package together multiple surgeries so that the consumer buys more, not less. It's the same bundling tactic used to up-sell everything from makeup to cars.

Plastic surgeons report these surgeries rose 11% for women ages 20-29 from 2005-2006. There was all sorts of speculation that Britney Spears had a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) after giving birth to her second child, Jayden James. In fact, she had a cesarean-section (, Virginia, surgeons don't perform both at the same time and, no, her recent VMA appearance doesn't show operable post-pregnancy changes).

The concept of a 'Mom Job' is that post-pregnancy changes are deforming and undesirable. For a particularly sickening, slick example see this industry advertisement. Much closer to the truth, according to one of the advocate surgeons featured in the NYTimes, it's really about "feeling self-conscious or resentful about their appearance."

Of course, pregnancy affects every woman differently, with age, genetics, and self-control playing a role in how the body appears afterwards. But most of the involuntary changes are restricted viewing only: just when would one's stretch marks be on display? Are naked breasts and belly a part of a woman's public or private persona?

Perhaps most revealing is a quote from one of the 'mommy' patients: “I don’t think it was an issue for my mother; your husband loved you no matter what.” Is plastic surgery the answer for women who feel less competitive on the sexual marketplace? With marriages recycling every 15 years perhaps marketing to the marital insecurity of child-bearing women is bound to be profitable.

The vulnerability of today's child-bearing generation of women and popularization of body plastic surgery is not a coincidence. Take Heidi Montag, featured on US Magazine's cover last week: Revenge Plastic Surgery. Her impetus to undergo plastic surgery at 21 is characterized as arising from "painful body-­image problems." And just who is she revenging herself on? Mean boys? Lauren Conrad? Isn't this what our parents used to call "a stage" and one which would "build character?"

Her boyfriend/manager is "so proud of her" and she professed afterwards: "Right before I went in I was like, 'What if I don't wake up? Oh, this is scary.' Then I thought, 'I don't care.' If I don't wake up, it's worth it. I just wanted it so badly."

Does this sound like a teenager or a mature adult?

So what is the secret to post-partum perkiness? Stretch marks may be faded with laser treatments, but nothing makes them go away short of an abdominoplasty. The separation for the outer-most abdominal muscle (diastasis recti)– formerly your six-pack– can also be surgically stitched together during an abdominoplasty. Barring bad habits, it will heal on its own in about four weeks after a vaginal delivery. The rest is just your mother's advice: don't gain more than 30 lbs. while pregnant, nurse afterwards to slim down, grab sleep when you can, and be good to yourself.

That's the secret.

Want this look? Expect to spend upwards of $12,000 to $15,000 minimum for a plastic surgeon's fees on breast lift/augmentation, abdominoplasty, and liposuction.

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Anonymous said...

Britney's second son is actually named Jayden I believe. Sutton Pierce was the suspected name originally.

ANNE said...

You are SO right: Sean Preston and Jayden James. Thanks!