Mummy makeovers, one of today’s most popular cosmetic procedure combinations, often bundles breast enhancement with a tummy tuck and liposuction or a host of other possible procedures. The final destination is a new, and in some cases newly enhanced, body shape, producing an inevitable emotional ‘high’. The full journey of a mummy makeover, however; the before, during and immediately after stages, through to complete recovery—can be a true emotional roller coaster. Let’s take a test ride.

Most women look forward to motherhood and pregnancy as a time of joy. But once the little bundle is here, they look in the mirror and go through a host of emotions. Just like motherhood, these emotions can take them on a roller coaster ride… with highs and lows, one after the other… Here are the stages of the journey some women take to regain their pre-baby body with elective cosmetic surgery, popularly known as a mummy makeover.

  1. Shock is the very first emotion. It has to be a well-known but rarely voiced secret: Pregnancy and childbirth changes your body drastically. It is not just the fat your body lays down during the nine months. Your entire body shape too often changes as a result of pregnancy. “Many new mums assume that losing their baby fat will be much easier than it really is”, say the findings of a 2013 new mum survey conducted by Babycenter.com. More than 61 percent of new mums expect to be down to their pre-pregnancy weight by their baby’s first birthday, but it doesn’t happen that way for everyone. According to a 2005 survey by Mother and Baby magazine in the UK, nearly eight out of ten new mums (77%) were “shocked” by the changes to their bodies. And a quarter of them were already considering cosmetic surgery. Even without childbirth, age brings about many changes in our bodies. And although we know that, we don’t usually try to find out exactly how they are going to change. We don’t want to turn out like our mums or grannies, so we’d rather not imagine that what has happened to their bodies could ever happen to ours.
  2. Disbelief. Once we register the shock, then what? Most of us go through something similar to, but not exactly like, the five stages of grief. The Denial Stage: How could this happen? Is that really me? Celebrity mums who step out looking shapely and more gorgeous than ever—we are looking at you Kim Kardashian and Beyonce!—make us feel worse. The isolation comes from believing it is only happening to us. But really, that is so not true. According to the 2013 survey, only one fifth of mums with newborns three months or younger reported having lost all their baby weight. Four fifth’s had not. According to Madelyn Fernstrom, director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s weight management program, for most people, the weight doesn’t just melt off. “Even the celebrities who lose the weight within three months have to work out regularly—usually for extended amounts of time measured in hours, not minutes, which means getting outside help with the baby—and diet to do it. It’s hard for pretty much everyone,” she told Babycenter.com. A year is a more realistic expectation, because the last five kilos often take the longest. Fair enough. “Busyness and fatigue make it hard to find time to exercise,” says Fernstrom. And you need exercise for rapid weight loss.
  3. Anger: That’s not me in the mirror! A lot of mums hate their figures.It may not be the same level of anger we encounter with grief, but we are grieving nevertheless for the shapes and bodies we have lost. Even with exercise, the survey found that 22 percent of mums of two to three year olds still had around 5 kg of their pregnancy weight. If there are older kids as well as the baby,it is even more difficult to find time to get the baby fat off. Being stressed and feeling sorry for yourself does not help either. Comfort food and other goodies can be really tempting at this stage, messing up plans and waistlines even more.
  4. Then comes Bargaining… with ourselves, of course. We don’t really look that bad, do we? After all, our spouse is supportive…Only 8 percent of mums reported negative comments on their baby weight and shape from spouses. Joan Chrisler, a body image expert who teaches at Connecticut College, told Babycenter “Lots of studies have shown that women think men want them to be thinner than men really want them to be.” So if your partner says you look great, just take his word for it. It doesn’t help when our parents, in-laws, ‘friends’ and total strangers obsess over our post-baby weight. But in the end, most of us reconcile ourselves to this stage… often believing it to be temporary. Often its not. While a few new-mum experts say it’s normal to go as long as a year without losing it, some mums, despite their best efforts, take longer.
  5. Ditch the grief and look forward. You can go through the rest of the grief stages forever, through depression to acceptance of the permanent loss of your pre-baby figure. But do you really want to do that? A lot of women—as many as 25 percent, according to a 2005 survey—say they are considering cosmetic surgery.
  6. Contemplating cosmetic surgery. Many women contemplate surgery for a very long time. Reasons include convenience, time and affordability. Also, for women who have not undergone any cosmetic surgery, a mummy makeover is a big decision.
  7. Making the decision. When you come to appreciate the value of a mummy makeover and know what it involves, you have arrived at the first stage of the AIDA marketing model. AIDA is an acronym for Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action. At this point, cosmetic surgery has captured your attention.
  8. So what happens next? You want to learn more about what mummy makeovers involve. You begin by asking “could I benefit from this?” You may stay in this stage without doing anything or even talking to anyone about this for a long time. Some people go ahead and voice their interest and get down to looking for information. Others mull on the thought for awhile.
  9. Information gathering. There is so much to learn. Once you get to this stage, you will find out how popular mummy makeover’s are, and what happens during the procedure. You will look at costs involved and weigh the pros and cons of getting your pre-baby body back. Besides reading the links above, you can always go to surgeons’ websites, internet discussion boards and other resources for more information.
  10. Many women check with their BFFs to get their opinions. Others want to keep mum about the whole thing.
  11. Once you know you want a mummy makeover, what then?The AIDA marketing model has been updated. Modern marketers understand that some consumers need to see evidence or be convinced they will gain something from going ahead with anything. So AIDA in the modern world has been improved to AIDCA or AIDEA. The C stands for “convincing,”and the E stands for “evidence.” For proof.
  12. Now surgeons are also offering a service. When you go to their websites you can see ‘before’ and ‘after’ images of mummy makeovers. Genuine surgeons will have images of real patients, but you need to be careful: Not everything you see on the internet is real.
  13. Even when you have done all your homework and are confident you want to go ahead, calling or making an appointment for a consultation with a surgeon can be a huge step. “The journey to and beyond surgery is an emotional rollercoaster,” Dr. Anh Nguyen, a plastic surgeon who performs surgery on the face, breasts and body told Costhetics. She went on to say that choosing to undergo cosmetic surgery is an important decision that “requires careful consideration on many levels—intellectually, emotionally, psychologically, socially, sexually, physically and financially.” You can read more of her interview in our article, Tips for Preparing for Surgery.
  14. Having your first consultation. Once you get over this stumbling block, the real first step is actually visiting a surgeon for a consultation. You may also want to read our interview with experienced Sydney surgeon Dr Robert Drielsma, who specialises in mummy makeovers.
  15. We encourage our readers to “”Do Your Homework,” always, before cosmetic surgery. That means checking surgeons’ credentials, understanding the procedure and even getting a second opinion.
  16. Make a checklist of all the questions you need to ask, so that none slip your mind in the excitement of your first consultation. Here’s a potential list of questions for breast augmentation with implants. You can make up your own list for mummy makeovers. You need to get your facts straight, if not before the consultation, at least during it.
  17. Get an idea about costs and how they are calculated. Since a typical mummy makeover will include a tummy tuck, breast augmentation or breast lift and liposuction among other possibilities, getting an idea about each procedure can help you understand the costs of the procedure you ultimately choose. Mummy makeovers are popular because, when performed as a package, they cost less, require less recovery time overall (as opposed to three recovery periods) and are convenient.
  18. The next step is selecting a surgeon and preparing for surgery. See Tips for Preparing for Surgery and understanding what happens before, during and after the procedure.
  19. Your recovery period will take awhile. And during the initial stages you may have second thoughts and even feel depressed about it because of the isolation, pain and stress. These are all natural reactions to major surgery, and mummy makeovers are major. These thoughts will be the lows in your roller-coaster ride. Expect a few before you end your journey on a high point.
  20. Your support network really means a lot. For one thing, support helps make your life more comfortable and tolerable. And your friends will be there to lend a sympathetic ear to your complaints.
  21. Once your healing period is over, and you have your body back, it’s time to start loving the final results. Your ride can only go up from there!

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