I had a tummy tuck two years ago. I could not tell whether surgery to “correct” the effects of childbearing was in line with notions of self acceptance – or at odds with it. In the end, I sort of decided it was really neither one of these things.
In the lead up to my surgery, I exercised regularly. I became devoted to Pilates for core strengthening. I bought (and even used) an elliptical machine.
Nevertheless, multiple pregnancies had done a number on my stomach. My muscles were in shreds. No matter how many sets of Pilates Hundreds I did my stomach remained resolutely flabby. (This was not helped by the fact of multiple stomach surgeries in the form of c-sections and the removal of an ovary).
After several years of trying to rehabilitate my stomach, I decided to go the surgical route. Note that I was not trying to “get my body back.” My body had changed after kids. In a certain way I welcomed that. I had a special respect for the literal scars of child-bearing that hung on my body. The promised vanishing of those scars actually gave me pause.
For those of you on the tummy tuck fence, here are five things to consider.
- Expense. Several years ago I paid in the neighborhood of $10,000.00. (I did liposuction too and this was extra). Insurance does not cover tummy tucks. Nope. Not ever. The good news is that it is unnecessary to have $10,000.00 laying around in an account just waiting to be spent on a tummy tuck. Parents are always hemorrhaging money on camps, kid-related expenses. An “extra” ten grand seems insane to most people. Know that special financing is available for cosmetic procedures. While few are dying to incur more debt, financing puts tummy tucks within reach for those able to tighten their financial belts. Repayment terms are variable. You can, if you can manage it, tuck now and pay later.
- Recovery Time. This depends a good deal on your body. This procedure is not covered by insurance. As a result, the option to go home the same day may be offered to you. Don’t do it. I suggest incurring a tiny bit more debt and checking into the hospital for a night. You will be on good amounts of painkillers. Mobility is initially severely compromised - comparable to a c-section. Beyond the first 24 to 48 hours, I did not find recovery onerous. Expect to be attached to sort of gross drains to collect bodily fluids. You will empty these every few hours. They come out after a few days. Expect to have a bunch of check-ups wherein your recovery is assessed. For these reasons, it is important to have near-constant help in the short-term. Still, you can participate in your household – you can be present. You will need certainly need help with food preparation, household stuff, and driving.
- Understand the limits of the procedure. You will not wake up as a swimsuit model. You will wake up with your stomach muscles stitched together and the possibility that your continued Pilates floor exercises will pay off. (If you opt for liposuction they will tell you how much fat they removed and this is oddly satisfying). But there is a lot of stomach maintenance. Consider the procedure only when you are truly able to commit to the dietary, lifestyle and exercise requirements that are necessary for stomach maintenance.
- Think about boobs after stomach. Women who have been breastfeeding for years often consider breast surgery before abdominal surgery. For many, this makes sense. But if your stomach is more distended than you want, consider stomach before boobs. Boobs are sometimes covered by insurance. Discuss with a surgeon.
- Hernia Repair. When I was under the knife, the surgeon found and fixed at least two umbilical hernias. This meant that I was not getting up to pee a bunch of times every night.
There are no obvious signs that I had a tummy tuck. I have dropped several sizes. I work hard to maintain this. My general core and back health have greatly improved as a result of a number of factors. I feel stronger than I have in years. Still, no surgery should be embarked upon lightly. Get referrals from qualified professionals. Consider carefully and then do what feel right and good for you.
Photos Courtesy of i-Stock. Used with Permission.
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