Ok so you laugh. You say, “But they’re just breasts.” And in a lot of ways, I would have to agree with you. After all, what is the purpose of breasts other than to feed young ones? What’s the big deal?
Maybe if I tell you my story you’ll understand why it’s no laughing matter to me.
Every girl anticipates developing womanly features. It is such a big part of our identity. By my mid-twenties I was really happy with my shape and size. I was comfortable with my appearance and it gave me a sense of confidence. I felt like a real woman.
I thought plastic surgery was for “cheaters”—women who wanted to be unreasonably large or who just wanted what they weren’t born with. Since I firmly believe that women have intrinsic worth and shouldn’t be objectified or judge for their bodies, I thought women should be comfortable in their own skin. I guess when you are comfortable with your own body it is easy to think everyone else should be too.
Then I had and nursed babies. Everything changed. My once full bust deflated like two balloons and just hung there. It was horrifying. My youth drained from me like the volume in my breasts drained. Here I was, in my late twenties mind you, and I might as well be wearing mom jeans with rollers in my hair! No underwire in the world could save me.
Some of you may say I should accept my new body as a sign of motherhood and be proud. I can see your point. But nothing prepared me for the drastic change I went through. I felt disfigured. And any man will tell you that when his woman feels ashamed of her body, their relationship suffers.
I would undress to shower and avoid the mirror at all costs. It was like a miserable game, move around the bathroom without seeing my own image. I couldn’t fill a bra properly. Swimsuits were ridiculous. Dresses just looked weird. I thought, “This is it? This is the rest of my life?”
The idea of standing in front of a doctor topless, to show him my breasts hanging like two unattractive sacks of skin, is humiliating. I thought he would gasp at the site of them. Dr. Petersen was so very kind. I had been to other plastic surgeons, but he really made me feel comfortable. He has a gift! He said I was far from the worst he had ever seen and that I looked typical of a woman who nursed children.
Wow! My deformity was normal? There was hope for me. That made me want to cry right there in Dr. Petersen’s exam room.
This article is super tough to write. It brings up so much sadness. Sagging breasts tore at the core of my self-esteem. It sounds stupid, I know, and yet it is all true. Breasts mean more to a woman than I ever realized. I took my breasts for granted and one day they were gone.
The day of surgery was very exciting. Dr. Petersen gave me a full breast lift and small implants to restore my former fullness. I can remember shouting for joy coming out of anesthesia. I shouted through the recovery area. I shouted that my doctor was the best! I guess that anesthesia makes me a little vocal.
Maybe I am being dramatic, but I felt no different than someone getting the use of their ear again, or the restoration of a limb. I felt whole again. My life is forever changed. I can look in the mirror now. I can wear a swimsuit and feel confident again. My husband loved me no matter what, and that is a gift, I know. But now he is thrilled! He is thrilled because I feel better about myself. I see my sense of self reflected in his eyes, and that is the greatest enhancement of all.
—Real Patient, Name Withheld