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I'm Thinking About Plastic Surgery Post-Baby

Contemplating a little tuck here and a tweak there in the name of motherhood.

I'm Thinking About Plastic Surgery Post-Baby

The other morning, I was lying on my back in bed (topless, as per usual) when my older son grabbed my breasts and started pushing them together towards one another.

“Um. What are you doing?” I asked him.

“Oh, I’m just fluffing your breasts so you have more milk for my brother.”

I’ve finally reached the end of nursing with my 18-month-old (hallelujah!) but now – as my preschooler pointed out – I’m in the sad post-weaning-empty-husk period of chestiness. It really is amazing how much change this one area of a woman’s body goes through over the course of pregnancy, breastfeeding and weaning. A girl could find herself bra shopping every two months. Anyway, after my four-year-old alerted me to the tragic state of my breasts, I began to think more seriously than ever before about a topic that I’d railed against my entire life: plastic surgery.

I’m no stranger to the idea of breast augmentation. In my early twenties, my own mother suggested, not so lightly, that perhaps if I were to go up to a “nice C cup,” I wouldn’t have so much trouble dating the button-down-blue-shirted finance guys in New York City. When she’d say stuff like this to me, I’d muster up all the feminist rage I’d acquired in my four years at Barnard, yell about the patriarchy, then go about the next few days parading around my parents’ house braless just to prove a point.

But now, after two kids, breastfeeding those two kids, and so many changes in bra sizes that I have an extensive collection of bras in my closet each in gallon-sized Ziploc bags labeled “super tiny bras”, “small bras”, “medium bras”, “nursing bras” and “enormous bras,” I am downright enthusiastic about revisiting this whole plastic surgery idea.

And it is not just me. So many of my mom friends – the same women who, like me, used to think women who had elective plastic surgeries or even minor non-invasive procedures were superficial and insecure – are singing a similar tune. We’re not only talking about breast augmentation to resurrect our post-baby-boobies to pre-baby-fullness, but other things, too. Suddenly, words that we thought were only reserved for the cast of Real Housewives – Botox, fillers, Fraxel – are all on the table. I have friends who I’ve never seen wear makeup now happily, and without any pretense of keeping it on the down low, head to the dermatologist for Botox.

I’ve found that when I’m with friends, once I’ve opened the door to talking about the aesthetic tweaks we would make (if money were not an issue), nearly every woman has something on her wish list. Maybe it’s because we are older, or maybe it’s because we’ve gone through childbirth and now feel like we deserve it, but suddenly we’re comfortable talking about the “stupid stuff” about our appearances that we’d kind of like to address. Things that have always bothered us, but that we never felt were OK to admit or worse, to really do anything about: We want someone to fix that mole on our chins that’s bothered us since we were seven. We want whatever the latest painful thing is that promises younger, dewey-er skin.

Maybe before we had children, it didn’t feel right complaining about the parts of ourselves that we wanted to change. We were afraid of people thinking we were vain, or superficial. There are so many more important things to be worried about in life, so many other things to focus on besides looks. And yes, those other things may indeed be more important. But that doesn’t make wanting to make changes to our appearance unimportant and something to write off.

Are we letting the patriarchy win? I don’t think so. Most of the dads I know are totally indifferent to boobs now that they've been silent bystanders of breastfeeding. I'm sure they'd be mildly stoked about the idea of their partners getting boob jobs, but most of them probably wouldn't care what those breasts looked like just as long as looking at them (and maybe even touching them!) in a sexual way is back on the table.

This isn’t about meeting some kind of standard of the male gaze. This is about taking care of ourselves in whatever form that may take. Childbirth and childrearing are filled with so much endless giving – of our patience, of all the love we can possibly contain and more, and of course, of our bodies – that a woman’s desire to tweak parts of her appearance shouldn’t be met with disdain. Are these kinds of procedures that much different from splurging on a crazy expensive pair of Jimmy Choos that may help a woman feel more sexy and confident when going out? Or a tennis bracelet? Are eyelash extensions OK? Laser hair removal? Where do we draw the line, and also, who is anyone to judge?

At this point in my life, at age thirty-five, I can say that I like the way I look. But . . . there are a few things I wouldn’t mind sprucing up as they start to get a little worse for wear. I’m not insecure about them. I don’t like my breasts right now, but that won’t stop me from wearing a small bikini on the beach or those nothing-type bras with no shape or padding (my fave). I think it’s ok to love your body, but to also to acknowledge that there’s room for improvement. Now that I’ve endured the complete body assault that is pregnancy I have given permission to myself to want to make a few changes. I only wish I didn’t feel like I needed permission to feel the way I do now.

There exists, in our society, a sense of virtue in the endless giving of motherhood. That to sacrifice is to love. The mom who didn’t have time to shower or brush her hair must be a better mom than the one with the lipstick on. A woman giving back to herself has the tendency to strike people as the opposite of sacrifice: it is non-maternal, cold and selfish. I think we can hold up these two ideals side by side without them contradicting each other – a mother can be generous to her children and to herself. How we give back to ourselves might mean different things to each of us. But no matter if it is Botox or a boob job, a personal trainer, or crazy expensive heels, my hope is that we don’t feel we have to justify it to anyone. We’re doing it for ourselves.

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This 'mama' necklace is a bestseller for a powerful reason

There's a lot going on in the world right now, but one thing that's certain? You're still mama.

There's a lot going on in the world right now, but one thing that's certain? You're still mama. No matter what is going on at work, what decision you make about heading back to school, or how you're caring for your family right now, we know you're the best mama for your family.

So in case you need a little reminder of just how incredible you are, we love this sweet necklace from Tiny Tags. And other mamas do, too, because it's been one of our top sellers for weeks.

Whether you're coveting it for yourself or want to gift it to your favorite mama, it's one of those gifts that'll keep on giving years later. It's dainty enough to easily layer with just about anything you have in your jewelry collection, but is just as beautiful as a standalone piece to wear daily. And in these tough seasons, it's honestly a gentle, much-needed reminder that you were made for this. You can do hard things. You are doing the best you can even when it feels like you can't make one more decision.

Tiny Tags script 'mama' necklace

tiny tags mama necklace

The charm is 1/2" long and the chain is 16", falling just above most mama's collarbones. All Tiny Tags personalized jewelry is laser engraved by highly skilled artisans to make the most elegant pieces.

$105

And, don't worry, it's totally low-maintenance. Simply polish with a polishing cloth every now and then for extra shine. Now to decide: gold or silver?

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Products that solve your biggest breastfeeding challenges

Including a battle plan for clogged ducts!

When expecting a baby, there is a lot you can test-run in advance: Take that stroller around the block. Go for a spin with the car seat secured in place. Learn how to use the baby carrier with help from a doll. But breastfeeding? It's not exactly possible to practice before baby's arrival.

The absence of a trial makes it all the more important to prepare in other ways for breastfeeding success—and it can be as simple as adding a few of our lactation aiding favorites to your registry.

MilkBliss chocolate chip soft baked lactation cookies

MilkBliss lactation cookies

Studies have shown the top reason women stop breastfeeding within the first year is because they are concerned about their milk supply being enough to nourish baby. Consider MilkBliss Lactation Cookies to be your secret weapon. Not only are they wholesome and delicious, but they were formulated specifically for breastfeeding moms based on the science of galactagogues—also known as milk boosters. They also come in peanut butter and wild blueberry flavors.

$23

Evereden multi-purpose healing balm

Evereden multipurpose healing balm

Also up there on the list of reasons women stop breastfeeding: the toll the early days can take on nipples. Made from just five ingredients, this all natural healing balm is ideal for soothing chafed nipples, making for a much more comfortable experience for mama as her body adjusts to the needs of a breastfeeding baby.

$20

Lansinoh milk storage bags

Lansinoh milk storage bags

For a breastfeeding mama, there are few things more precious and valuable than the milk she worked so hard to pump—and it's the stuff of nightmares to imagine it spilling out in the fridge. With these double-sealed milk storage bags, you can be assured your breastmilk is safe and sound until baby needs it.

$12.50

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Nursing a baby is a 24/7 job, which calls for some wardrobe modifications. Because Belly Bandit specializes in making things more comfortable for the postpartum mama, they've truly thought of every detail—from the breathable fabric to the clips that can be easily opened with one hand.

$47

boob-ease soothing therapy pillows

Boob Ease soothing therapy pillows

For nursing moms, duct can quickly become a four-letter word when you suspect it's getting clogged. By keeping these soothing breast pillows in your breastfeeding arsenal, you can immediately go on the defense against plugged milk ducts by heating the pads in the microwave or cooling them in the freezer.

$25

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

A unfortunate reality of nursing is that it can really seem to limit the wardrobe options when you have to think about providing easy, discrete access. But by adding functional basics to your closet, you can feel confident and prepared for breastfeeding on the go.

$59

Bebe au Lait premium cotton nursing cover

Bebe au Lait cotton nursing cover

Nursing in public isn't every mama's cup of tea. But babies can't always wait until you've found a private place to get down to business if that's your preference. That's where a nursing cover comes in handy. This one is made from premium cotton and features a patented neckline that allows for airflow and eye contact even while you're covered.

$36

Lactation Lab basic breastmilk testing kit

Lactation Lab breastmilk testing kit

Curious to learn more about the liquid gold you're making, mama? The testing kit from Lactation Labs analyzes your breast milk for basic nutritional content like calories and protein, as well as vitamins, fatty acids and environmental toxins to help boost your breastfeeding confidence.

$99

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this

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Two weeks. I cannot believe that it has been two weeks since my second son was brought into this world. Two weeks since my husband and I welcomed baby Simon, the final piece of our little family.

But, here is the whopper: It has been two weeks since I have been the mom of a toddler and a newborn. I am now responsible for taking care of two tiny humans.

It absolutely blows my mind how much my life has changed in the last two weeks. It's definitely not all rainbows and unicorns around here, but things are going pretty well. This is me being cautiously optimistic.

What I have done is learned a lot about myself, my kids and my new life in the last two weeks.

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