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Post-Baby Plastic Surgery, or PBPS

You don’t need a Playboy editor to tell you that Americans, in general, are obsessed with their looks. And you certainly don’t need me, a new mom, to tell you how much more women are aware of their appearance -- Every. Single. Aspect. Of. It. -- after giving birth. One of the most common questions I get about working at Playboy is, Do you compare yourself to the women in Playboy, and how does it make you feel? If I spent my time at work comparing myself to the women in Playboy, it would probably make me feel like giving up all together. The women in Playboy – especially our Playmates – are beyond beautiful, and for some reason much smaller in person than they appear in print and online. So, I’ve never been particularly fond of comparing myself to Playboy models, though to be honest, I’ve also never felt that it was a fair comparison – they’re much younger than I am, and many of them (though not all) have had plastic surgery. Plus, the girls you see in Playboy are airbrushed, like any model in any magazine -- hey, if I could Photoshop myself in real time, trust me I would be all over it.

I pass no judgment on plastic surgery whatsoever – I don’t frown upon it, nor do I condone it. I have friends and family members who’ve had all kinds of things done, from the invasive (boob jobs and brow lifts) to the cosmetic (Botox). And though I had never seriously considered having plastic surgery myself – which is surprising considering where I went to high school it was the norm to have your nose done over winter break the year you turned 16 – post-having children, it’s something I am actually thinking about. This topic comes up a lot amongst not just my girlfriends, but my married guy friends too.

“At this point, it’s either another baby or a boob job,” said a friend I’ll call Carrie. She had her second daughter four months ago, and she looks incredible. She happens to be about 5’10”, and works out three days a week, but as she put it, “I used to have amazing boobs, and now they look like what [my husband] likes to call ‘pancakes.’” If they don’t try for their third kid this summer, she’ll wait the suggested year before having breast enhancement surgery, per the advice of a plastic surgeon she’s already consulted. Apparently our breasts are still lactating for up to a year.

Another friend of mine has been saying for years before even having kids that once she’s done she will for sure get a tummy tuck and a boob job, to fix the sagging skin, and deflated boobs that breast feeding has left her with. For the record, she has a 10-month-old son, and from what I can see she got her body back about four months after having him. But she complains that no matter how much she works out, and no matter how many abs-strengthening classes she takes to get her pre-baby stomach back, it just isn’t what it used to be. But then again, is anything the same after childbirth?

I’ve been pretty open about my own body issues post-baby, and it was so reassuring to read that other moms have gone through the same thing—if you’ve had at least one kid you know how difficult it can be to come to terms with the new you. I’m sure we all agree, the weight gain and body changes are a small price to pay for a beautiful, healthy child. On the one hand, everything you go through with being pregnant and what follows is so worth it. On the other hand, I don’t know a single new mom who’s truly happy with how she looks. And though I’m not sitting around comparing myself to the women I see in magazines, I am comparing myself to the old me – specifically my formerly taught tummy, little tush, and perky ta-tas. I didn’t even breast feed, yet my boobs still lost some of their luster. And I won’t go into too much detail but what’s with the small pouch of skin above my c-section incision? When I asked my OB if it would go away after a period of time, or what I could do to get rid of it, his response? “You can try doing crunches, but the only way you’ll totally get rid of it is by getting liposuction.” I almost choked. No matter how bad things get, I will never consider getting lipo.

I can only imagine what my little pouch is going to look like after two or three kids, not to mention my three Ts (tummy, tush and ta-tas). I was talking to my sister-in-law Kim yesterday, who’s done having kids, and she so nonchalantly informed me that losing the weight only gets harder with each child. So we came up with a game plan: She’ll wait till I’m done having kids and then we’ll go in for a two-fer together -- tummy tuck and boob job -- and spend the following weeks recovering at my mom’s house so she can take care of us. I even got my husband Jay to agree to this plan. “If you can look like Demi Moore did at 40, I’m all for it,” he said. Good thing his expectations are realistic.

So, this got me thinking, how do you feel about having plastic surgery to fix the sagging skin caused by childbirth? If you can afford it, would you consider getting nipped and tucked? And if you’ve had any plastic surgery post-babies, did it accomplish what you wanted? I’d also love to hear from the moms who are against having PBPS (post-baby plastic surgery). Why do you think we as moms should wear our war wounds from childbirth proudly?

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