Its been nearly 10 years since my cosmetic breast lift surgery.
I had been working out in the gym regularly. I lost weight and found I could tone and firm any part of my body -- except my post-pregnancy boobs. I decided to have breast lift surgery (or mastopexy) in early 2005 to restore them to their proper place on my chest. But that wasn't the only thing in my life that shifted.
The experience inspired a short story in a creative writing class -- a "mammoir" about the many ups and downs of my (then) breast life. That led to a book deal, media attention and interviews, and launched my career as a writer and breast expert.
And what of my boobs? They haven't stayed the same either. They went from scarred but perky 34Cs to heavier post-menopausal 34DDs. (The same cup size I was embarrassed and ashamed to own back in high school.)
I'm not shocked by these boob changes over the past decade. My surgeon and I discussed how aging, weight fluctuations, and menopause might impact results. I'd gone under the knife with realistic expectations.
Other side-effects of the procedure were more surprising, and weren't covered on any patient intake form. So if you're thinking about having a breast lift, reduction, or augmentation (breast implants), you might consider the following:
Temporary exhibitionism. At first, my new lifted boobs didn't feel or look like "mine." This made it way too easy to show them off. I found myself dragging girlfriends into bathroom stalls, eagerly revealing my surgical results to anyone who asked about the operation. After a few months, my different looking breasts became more a part of me, and I later regretted some of this earlier, flashy behavior.
Perfectly symmetrical areolae. Plastic surgeons reduce the size of larger areolae so they appear more proportional on resized breasts. They do this by punching out two, perfectly round cookie cutter shapes from your flesh. If I'd realized I was going to lose the rough and asymmetrical edges of my imperfect areolae, I might have opted for stars or hearts, instead of circles.
Membership in the cosmetic boob sisterhood. Friends called and asked about my surgery, but I couldn't talk openly with everyone about the procedure. In my experience, breast plastic surgery is viewed as the politically incorrect choice women make over their bodies. My very personal decision was viewed by others as self-indulgent, vain, or a bid for male attention. I've since met many women who opted for implants, breast reductions, or lifts, but who felt they had to keep it a secret from parents, children, or other close friends and relatives.
Boob beauty found in the eye of the beholder. It may seem odd that it took breast lift surgery to make me more accepting of the ongoing changes in my aging breast life. Or it could be due to all the conversations I've had with other people about their breasts. It might be the result of reading numerous research studies, or viewing hundreds of photos of breasts over the years. Whatever it is, I'm much more accepting of myself at this now less perky, post-menopausal stage of my breast life.
I have no regrets about my breast lift surgery, but it's not something I'd do again. Once was enough. I had my little moment in the sun (literally, in rocking a bikini at 50) when my breasts matched a newly toned body. My more mature self is equally pleased with how I look today.
What's your view? Would you consider breast plastic surgery? What do you think of these procedures?
This article first appeared at The Breast Life.