Every day we are inundated with images of “perfect” bodies. I got caught up in the belief that I could have the perfect body, too if I just paid enough. According to the National Center For Health Research, in 2018, more than 310,000 women had breast augmentation surgery. Here’s what I wish I knew before I joined them.
1. Understand your ‘why’
I had an upcoming trip to Europe but I dreaded feeling insecure on the beach in a swimsuit—that was literally it. I previously had a slender figure and bust but now in my early thirties it felt like everything had gotten bigger except my breasts, and they no longer seemed to suit my body. Ultimately, it was my insecurities and lack of self-esteem that drove my decision but I soon realized that these internal struggles cannot always be solved with an external fix.
2. Is there an alternative way?
My goal was to feel more confident and secure in my body. Three months after surgery I attended a women’s empowerment retreat and holy cow, had I found this kind of inner work beforehand, I’m certain I would not have paid for any cosmetic work. At the retreat, as we celebrated everyone’s natural beauty and imperfections, I felt the societal veil of what was beautiful and acceptable finally lifted for me. There are many alternatives to consider before breast augmentation surgery such as therapy, hypnotherapy, empowerment coaching, personal training, a new hairstyle, and wardrobe update, or speaking to your loved ones—all are far cheaper and come with fewer risks!
3. Spot the red flags
My hasty behavior should have been a red flag. Rushing to have a cosmetic procedure for my vacation was a terrible idea. Not only did I make a life-changing decision without careful consideration, but I was left feeling even more disappointed when I didn’t look like how I had envisioned. I kept the whole thing a secret from my friends, which was also a warning sign. In hindsight, I should have spoken to a trusted friend or therapist to work through my decision. Speaking to several surgeons will also help you understand possible implications—the good, the bad, and the ugly.
4. There is no return policy
I soon realized that this decision is not like buying a new dress and returning it the next day if you change your mind. But it never occurred to me that I may not like the results. I honestly assumed they’d be perfect and I’d love my new look. Many cosmetic surgeries have vector imaging machines to show how you should look with each implant size but beware, my results were vastly different from my expectations. This technology can be unreliable and misleading and surgeons may absolve themselves of responsibility for the outcome.
5. It’s a slippery slope
After my surgery, I quickly began critiquing the rest of my body, which led to botox, lip fillers, and hair extensions. My husband was genuinely concerned about my sudden need to change my appearance.
Beware the cost doesn’t end at the procedure. I needed a new wardrobe to accommodate my new body even though it was near impossible to find anything that would fit my new shape.
6. Are kids on the radar?
I fell pregnant less than a year after the surgery, which felt like the procedure had been an even bigger waste of money. My breasts look enormous now! I wish I had thought about the impact of pregnancy. Our bodies go through so much change during this time that it can lead to more cosmetic work down the track, more money, and more risk.
7. Understand the Risks to Your Mental Wellbeing
I sunk into depression and body dysmorphia after the implants. I hid my body, even from my husband. Ironically, my new breasts left me more insecure and self-conscious than before. I felt guilty for spending the money and ashamed for altering my body so hastily and. I was sad that I didn’t look the way I wanted but even worse, disappointed that I couldn’t have just loved myself for the way I looked in the first place.
I still think about my decision daily. My body is going through even more changes as I grow and prepare for birth, and I’m trying to love and respect this vessel for the powerful warrior that it is. If I could rewind and not have the surgery I would, but now I embrace my changed body as part of my story. I hope to help women think twice before making a similar decision, and empower them to know that they are beautiful just as they are. Breast augmentation may not be wrong for everyone but sometimes it comes with a cost that is far greater than just the dollar amount.