A Different Choice continued...
"Some women bounce back like nothing ever happened," Mackenzie says. "Some women's bodies are ravaged after pregnancy."
For other mothers, it's an issue of priorities -- and a woman's well-being.
Malone's younger sister, Joanna Duke, a 28-year-old public relations representative and mother of two in Decatur, Ga., is opposed to mommy makeovers. She believes that many women are trying to solve emotionalproblems with the surgeries.
"It's like putting a Band-Aid on a larger issue that you're not willing to work on," she says. "You need to fix those issues first. Then, if you still have a self-esteem problem -- or whatever is driving you to have elective surgery -- get it done. But go to counseling first, because nine times out of ten, the people that I know also have emotional issues going on."
Kathryn Probasco, 38, of Sacramento, Calif., shares that view. Currently pregnant with her third child, the attorney and physician's wife admits that while she occasionally misses her pre-pregnancy body, she won't ever undergo postpartum plastic surgery.
"Looking old doesn't concern me -- not especially," she says. "Part of self-acceptance is accepting the changes that occur in life when you become a parent, and I mean mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. If your biggest concern after you give birth is whether your boobs sag, then your priorities are in the wrong place."
Casas is also concerned about her patients' overall health. She prefers the term "restoration" to "mommy makeovers," and unlike many plastic surgeons, refuses to operate on anyone who isn't willing to practice self-discipline.
"Liposuction, yes, but I won't perform invasive plastic surgery on someone who is 30 pounds overweight," she says. "I require all my patients to exercise and have good nutrition. If you want me to artificially suture your [abdominal] muscles, that's fine. But you can blow it out again by overeating or overdoing it. So why not just work on it before the surgery?"
Casas offers these recommendations to women considering mommy makeovers, so that they'll attain the best possible outcome -- and maintain those results. She suggests that postpartumplastic surgery patients:
- Achieve their desired target weight first.
- Make sure they are exercising at least 30 minutes per day: a minimum of 15 minutes of interval training and 15 minutes of resistance training, alternating different body parts, on different days of the week.
- Practice superb nutrition.
- Keep alcohol consumption at less than 2-3 drinks per week.
- Quit smoking.
- Establish a no-fail support system for the full recovery period dictated by your surgeon.
This last requirement, she says, is critical.
"The biggest problem with mommies is that they don't have someone to take care of their babies and their kids, and they don't take care of themselves," Casas explains. "I won't operate on a mother with kids under 5 unless she has someone to take care of her children for at least two weeks. It just doesn't make sense if you're going to be lifting and driving and doing the laundry and cleaning house. You're just going to ruin your results."