Stringing the words Mommy and Job together seems oxymoronic. Afterall, isn't all of motherhood work? Most of it good work? Apparently, not when breastfeeding makes your chest sag and carrying a baby to term gives you a pouch that would make a kangaroo envious. Surgeons to the rescue, according to the below story in the New York Times! I will not pass judgment on those women who are so self-conscious of their post-baby bodies that they will go under the knife. But having a breast lift, tummy tuck and lipo done all at once would certainly put one out of commission for a while. Who has time when you have kids?
October 4, 2007
Is the ‘Mom Job’ Really Necessary?
By NATASHA SINGER
DR. DAVID A. STOKER, a plastic surgeon in Marina Del Rey, Calif., has a surgical cure for the ravages of motherhood. He, like many plastic surgeons nationwide, calls it a “mommy makeover.”
Aimed at mothers, it usually involves a trifecta: a breast lift with or without breast implants, a tummy tuck and some liposuction. The procedures are intended to hoist slackened skin as well as reduce stretch marks and pregnancy fat.
“The severe physical trauma of pregnancy, childbirth and breast-feeding can have profound negative effects that cause women to lose their hourglass figures,” he said. His practice, Marina Plastic Surgery Associates, maintains a Web site, amommymakeover.com, which describes the surgeries required to overhaul a postpregnancy body.
“Twenty years ago, a woman did not think she could do something about it and she covered up with discreet clothing,” Dr. Stoker said. “But now women don’t have to go on feeling self-conscious or resentful about their appearance.”
In 1970, “Our Bodies, Ourselves,” the seminal guide to women’s health, described the cosmetic changes that can happen during and after pregnancy simply as phenomena. But now narrowing beauty norms are recasting the transformations of motherhood as stigma.
These unforgiving standards are the offspring of pop culture and technology, a union that treats biological changes as if they were as optional as hair color. Gossip magazines excoriate celebrity moms who don’t immediately lose their “baby weight.” Even Cookie, a luxury parenting magazine, recently ran an article that described postpregnancy breasts as “the ultimate indignity” and promoted implant surgery; a photo of droopy water-filled balloons accompanied the article.
Many women struggle with the impact of aging and pregnancy on their bodies. But the marketing of the “mommy makeover” seeks to pathologize the postpartum body, characterizing pregnancy and childbirth as maladies with disfiguring aftereffects that can be repaired with the help of scalpels and cannulae.
“The message is that, after having children, women’s bodies change for the worse,” said Diana Zuckerman, the president of the National Research Center for Women and Families, a nonprofit group in Washington. If marketing could turn the postpregnancy body “into a socially unacceptable thing, think of how big your audience would be and how many surgeries you could sell them,” she said.
Pregnancy affects each woman differently, with age and genetics playing a role in how the body recovers. While many plastic surgeons argue that pregnancy both “deforms” breasts and redistributes fat so that it becomes difficult to exercise away, some obstetricians disagree.
“Some women have stretch marks from pregnancy or weight gain,” said Dr. Erin E. Tracy, an assistant professor in obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive biology at the Harvard Medical School. “But there is no intrinsic abnormality to the breasts or the abdomen.”
Mommy surgery appeals both as a quick fix for stubborn postpregnancy weight and as a way to control aging itself. Dozens of doctors devote parts of their Web sites to the mom job, including Dr. Lloyd M. Krieger, a plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, Calif., who offers the Rodeo Drive Mommy Makeover for women who want “their tummies and breasts back the way they looked before pregnancy.”
Mommy surgery came to public attention earlier this year after the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported a rise in cosmetic surgery among women of child-bearing age (not all of whom are necessarily mothers). Last year, doctors nationwide performed more than 325,000 “mommy makeover procedures” on women ages 20 to 39, up 11 percent from 2005, the group said. And last Sunday, the ABC drama “Brothers and Sisters” included a playground scene in which one mother asked, “Do you think I should get a mommy job?”
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