Tag Archives: Christians and plastic surgery

Q&A with J: “How Do You Feel about Your Implants Now?”

I’m near-trembling as I write this one. Because since writing about getting a breast augmentation, many of my family and friends have learned about this blog. When they started reading, they likely didn’t go back and find my archived posts on Aiming for My Best Chest and Aiming for My Best Chest – Part 2.

Now the cat is most definitely out of the bag. And I really don’t want anyone to look at me, and especially my chest, differently. I might just keep my arms crossed over my chest for a week after this is published. (As if that wouldn’t be awkward. :/ )

But readers who find those old posts sometimes write and ask follow-up questions about getting breast augmentation, or other plastic surgery, and I decided it was time to revisit the topic and answer some of those queries. Here is a sampling:

I am scheduled to have a breast augmentation … and I am filled with anxiety. Just looking for a little support. … My anxiety comes from fear of pain and complications. Any words of wisdom? Is this anxiety normal?

Due to pregnancy and breast feeding, I am now very much considering a small implant to help with the loss of volume and size. … I am not looking to “change” myself as much as restoring what was lost. … I’m wondering how you feel about your procedure? Do you have any regrets? Have you had any issues?

I was really pleased to read [your] blog post about breast augmentation as it’s something I’ve been considering…. I struggle with it not being a ‘worthy cause’ to spend the money on and the risks I’m taking with my health. I was brought up in quite a fundamentalist church where even makeup and ear piercing was forbidden (according to some scriptures). However, I don’t want feeling guilty about doing something for me stop me and it was great to read a Christian’s perspective on it. I’m also worried that my new breasts would not feel like part of me and I’m interested to find out if yours now do? Is it possible for implants to feel like your own breasts?

Blog post title with silicone and saline implants stacked up on a table

While there are plenty of women who walk into a plastic surgeon’s office, order up a pair of implants, and never give it another thought, many Christian women struggle with guilt and anxiety about this decision.

If you’re considering implants, I suggest reading my posts on Should Christians Get Plastic Surgery? and Plastic Surgery: Should You or Shouldn’t You? In those posts, I go into greater detail about my Christian perspective on this issue.

But let’s talk about the questions I get asked.

Guilt. When you’re considering plastic surgery, and I think especially breast augmentation (BA), there are several potential sources of guilt. Here are a few:

  • Feeling like you’re being vain
  • Wanting to change the body God gave you
  • Spending money for a nonessential procedure
  • Fielding outright disapproval from others

My answer to these would be that yes, some women who get a BA are vain, don’t appreciate the body God gave them, and spend money they shouldn’t spend … and thus, it’s not surprising they’d encounter some disapproval. But when I was researching BAs, and afterward talking to others who’d had them, I discovered a majority of women just wanted to feel normal and good about themselves.

Sure, a percentage fit the stereotype of some gal with regular-sized breasts who opts for balloon-like tatas and then wears attire to emphasize her new assets. But women who get BAs include perpetually small-breasted women, women who lost a lot of breast tissue after pregnancy and nursing, women with different sized breasts, and women with oddly shaped breasts. You might even be surprised who in your midst has had a breast augmentation or a breast lift, and you never knew it.

If you’re thinking about the surgery, question your motives of course! But it’s not vanity to want to feel good about your physical appearance, and you can be fully appreciative of the amazing body God gave you and still change something. We do it all the time with correcting birth defects, with stomach stapling and liposuction for obesity, and with dentistry and orthodontics for our teeth.

Anxiety. Any surgery is likely to cause some anxiety, but especially a nonessential one. You can start to wonder if it’s worth “going under” for something you don’t actually need. But 279,143 breast augmentations and 99,614 breast lifts were performed in the U.S. in 2015 (source: American Society of Plastic Surgery), so they really know what they’re doing now. It’s an outpatient procedure, and a well-chosen plastic surgeon should have plenty of experience performing breast surgeries. Complications do happen, but they are rare.

That said, let me tell you a little about recovery. First off, your breasts will hurt. This shouldn’t be surprising, but I recall being a little taken aback by the amount of swelling and pain right after the procedure. Follow your doctor’s instructions about taking care of your wounds and pain relief. Also, be responsible with medication use; some painkillers can be addictive.

Also, don’t judge how you feel about your new size until a few months in. It takes some time to know what the final result is, so chill out and play wait-and-see. You may need to invest in one size bra after you get out of the post-surgical “sling” and another size after stuff settles. And if you’re worried about whether people will know that you “had them done” … they might. But you can also choose tops that downplay your chest until the swelling has resolved and you can shop for clothes to fit your new size better.

Criticism. Some people won’t get it. Some Christians believe plastic surgery is always wrong, or at least somehow insulting God. Others just don’t understand why you’d spend that kind of money or alter your body or have elective surgery. If others find out, you could find yourself subject to some criticism.

But it’s easy to have a negative opinion about plastic surgery when it isn’t something you need or want to do. I personally exhausted myself with research, reflection, prayer, and conversation with my husband before I made my decision. Why would I expect others to have come to the same conclusion when they haven’t really given it much thought?

Although admittedly, a part of me got to the point of thinking, If another B or C-cup woman says to me, “Women shouldn’t get boob jobs,” I will throttle her. Okay, I wouldn’t actually. But if you’re that woman who thinks it’s all wrong, let me ask: Do you know what it’s like to be a grown woman with an AAA-cup? To shop in the girls’ department for your bras? To take 20 outfits into the dressing room, and 19 of them don’t fit because you can’t fill out the front? What would you say to the woman who has amorphous breasts or one much larger than the other? What about the woman who wants a breast reduction because it’s painful to have that much weight on her chest? Just try to have some compassion for women considering this difficult decision.

Speaking of criticism, those who get a BA might also receive what I consider to be stupid questions. Here are some examples, along with my answers:

  • Are those real? Well, they’re not imaginary.
  • Are those yours? They better be; I paid enough for them.
  • So those aren’t your own breasts? Yes, they are. They just got a little boost. (Your breast tissue remains and will still have its sensitivity.)

Regrets. Will you have any regrets? I don’t know. I can’t predict what anyone else will feel. For myself, I have none. But a good portion of why I don’t have regrets is that I carefully considered my decision, researched my options, discussed it fully with my husband, and prayed to make sure my motives were not selfish vanity.

Years later, I don’t even think much about the implants. These are simply my breasts. They have the same sensitivity as before, and they only feel weird if I touch them in certain places and ways. I’m most aware of them when I go to my mammogram, where they have to take additional images to make sure all the breast tissue can be seen. I will say that I chose silicone implants over saline, because their appearance mimics real breasts a bit better.

A few last thoughts: Don’t expect that one surgery will solve all of your body image issues. I still have moments when I don’t like some parts of my body; I suspect you will too, and that’s normal. Don’t dwell on those or start thinking of all the other procedures you could get, but rather embrace your beauty. Also, choose a doctor you trust. Find a plastic surgeon who listens to you about the size you want and the concerns you have and who will follow up post-surgery. Finally, go for proportional. Choose implants that fit the body you have, and you’ll likely be happy with the result. Believe me, “proportional” still gives you wiggle room to have choices.

What other questions do you have about breast augmentation, or any other plastic surgery you’re contemplating? What advice do those who’ve been through this procedure have for others considering it?

Should Christians Get Plastic Surgery?

I rarely re-run posts. But this past week, I was reading an article from Juli Slattery on Is It Wrong to Get Plastic Surgery? She did an excellent job covering the questions involved with such a big decision.

FashionHowever, Juli Slattery mentions that she’s considered plastic surgery and decided against it. I also considered plastic surgery, and did it. So I wanted to revisit the topic and explain my own thoughts on whether it’s okay to have plastic surgery, from someone who went through it.

First inward, then outward. I have a friend who lost 90+ pounds in a year and went from obese to oh-babe! How did she manage that? I think it’s because she got her inner self right first. She stopped looking at herself in the mirror and seeing a fat person. Instead, she saw the beautiful woman inside and decided she was worth something better. Once she believed in herself, willing to see herself as God saw her, she felt empowered to do the hard work of changing her diet and exercise routine so that she realized her goals.

That’s often how body image improves — not by fixing the external parts first, but rather by appreciating the unique way God knitted you together (Psalm 139:13). You are wonderfully made, beauty! If you’re looking for plastic surgery to resolve your inner self-image issues, you’ll likely be disappointed. Satisfaction with who you are must come first from within. It’s from an understanding of who God created you to be.

Those poor women who have procedure after procedure after procedure never get this. They’re always looking for another outside fix for what really ails them inside. Get your priorities straight and work on your inner self first. It’s only from a position of inner, emotional health that you can make the right decision on what to do to improve your body for health or appearance.

Some things really are a matter of degree. Some Christians believe that it is wrong to have plastic surgery, that altering your appearance is going against God’s design.

Yet we do plenty of everyday things that involve aesthetic reasons, like bracing our kids’ teeth and wearing make-up and coloring our hair. Plus, we correct appearance that goes awry, like skin grafts after fire damage or breast implants after a mastectomy. Before announcing that all plastic surgery is off-limits, we might want to pause and ask what appearance-altering steps we’ve taken and what makes those okay and not others.

Because honestly, some things are a matter of degree. Eating is perfectly fine, but the Bible certainly warns against gluttony. Jesus attended a wedding with wine, but drunkenness is always spoken against in scripture. A little spice in the bedroom is rather wonderful, but an obsession with more and more kink becomes unhealthy. Likewise, some enhancements of our appearance would seem just fine, while extreme changes can become problematic.

And the question is then: What constitutes “extreme”? Is it numerous procedures? Surgery itself? Any changes to your appearance?

I suspect most people would agree on where the ends of the continuum are, but it’s that middle section of what’s a-okay that we struggle with. And we should. We should struggle to answer that question. Because if we are considering something as invasive as surgery, we need to ask some hard questions of ourselves and ensure that our choices honor God.

But I also suspect that my answer of where to draw the line might be different from the answer of another Christian whom I love and respect. And that’s where our own soul-searching and conscience come to bear.

For you, not someone else. I did not get bigger breasts for my husband. In fact, my husband was originally opposed to me having breast augmentation, because he was concerned about me undergoing surgery of any kind that wasn’t absolutely necessary (that sweet man). We talked about the pros and cons for a while, and he agreed with my conclusion and supported my decision. But I didn’t do it for him. I did it for me.

I’m always taken aback by the number of women who have plastic surgery as a “gift” to their man. And the number of men who request that. Having plastic surgery because you don’t feel like enough for your lover isn’t a great reason. Indeed, it’s likely to make you feel that you don’t measure up generally — that you’re only acceptable if you can “correct” whatever external appearance issues you have. And love looks beyond that.

Of course I wanted my husband to have more to handle in the bedroom, but that wasn’t my ultimate reason. My husband had already chosen me — flat chest and all. For most husbands, it’s about how much they love us and the feminine form itself. So as long as we wives show up (especially naked), they’re reasonably happy. We don’t have to look like magazine models or waste time and money fixing imagined flaws.

When considering plastic surgery, ask why. Is it for your own convenience and confidence or to feel like you measure up to an unrealistic standard for the sake of someone else? At the end of the day, you will be the one having surgery, you will be the one living with the results, you will be the one changed. So make sure it’s what you want.

Obviously, I wanted to have plastic surgery, I made the decision to do so, and I do not regret it. I’ve been open on my website about my own doubts about plastic surgery, my process and reasons for deciding to augment, and my concerns about jumping in too eagerly to solve body image issues. I’d like to hear your perspective.

When do you believe it’s okay for Christians to have plastic surgery? Have you had any procedures? Why did you choose to do it and what was your experience?

Aiming for My Best Chest – Part 2

“We have a little sister, and her breasts are not yet grown” (Song of Songs 8:8).  I’ve hated that verse for a very long time.  No matter what my age, I’ve been the “little sister” in breast size, instead of that wonderful Beloved from the Song of Songs whose breasts are described as “two fawns,” “clusters of fruit,” and “towers.”

In my last post, I explained that I never thought I’d have breast augmentation.  I kept hoping to have actual breasts someday…but, despite waiting, wishing, and weeping, they never arrived.  So the surgery is scheduled.  Here’s more about how an otherwise modest Christian woman decided to upsize her mammaries.

I started researching the prospect online.  Thankfully, the Internet has unlimited information about this procedure, from explanations of the surgery, to before-after images, to chat-room Q&As, to extensive plastic surgeon and implant manufacturer websites.  As I researched breast augmentation, I saw that breasts come in all sizes and shapes, and many women are simply trying to achieve normalcy.

There are numerous reasons for breast surgery–small breasts, excessive sagging, differently-sized breasts, heavy or extremely large breasts, odd nipple placement, extra skin, etc.  Plenty of women who get breast surgery aren’t doing it to draw gaping looks from men or to grace the centerfold pages of a skin magazine.  Perhaps we just want to feel good about ourselves in a cotton tee, a swimsuit, or naked in front of our husbands.

I spoke candidly with my sisters, my mother, and my closest friends about breast augmentation.  They were supportive.  Knowing how long breast size had frustrated me, they recognized how important a normal-sized bosom could be.

My husband was the last to come around.  Thankfully, he couldn’t care less whether I am as flat as the Sahara or as mountainous as the Rockies.  And he was reluctant to risk my health for unnecessary surgery.  But he was persuaded after a shopping trip with me, in which I tried on much and left with little.  He realized that it took forever to find clothes that fit me, and even those that I owned would look better with more on top.  My husband saw the practical side of having bigger breasts and agreed that I should do it.

I set consultation appointments with plastic surgeons.  My husband accompanied me.   (Yes, it’s awkward to have a doctor give you a breast exam in front of your husband, but we both thought he should be present to aid the decision.)  The patient care consultants and the doctors explained the surgical process and my options, answered questions, and let me try out sizes.  I also looked at photos (with no name or face) of before-after breast augmentations the surgeons had performed.  I chose my doctor and my implants, scheduled the surgery, and paid my deposit.

A verse kept coming to mind as I contemplated my decision:  “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17).  Some basic questions ran through my mind as I determined whether I could have plastic surgery and honor God through the process:

1.    Am I being a good financial steward?  Plenty of people spend the same amount of money on vacations, furniture, home renovations, etc.  That’s okay, as long as we are taking care of our families’ needs and giving generously to our local church and those in need.  I had to know that we had money to use for this event and weren’t taking it from another, essential area.

2.    Am I seeking a vain, unrealistic ideal?  God looks at the heart, not the outward appearance (1 Samuel 16:7).  If we believe that our worth is driven by external beauty, we’ve missed the point.  I get that.  I’m not determining my worth based on that.  You see, I don’t want to win a wet t-shirt contest, just shop in the women’s lingerie department.

3.    Am I choosing a size consistent with the body God gave me?  Women do lots of things to enhance their beauty–from make-up to Botox to liposuction.  Where’s the line?  I don’t know!  But I’m pretty sure that a woman slapping in implants big enough to don an F-cup results in the wrong kind of attention.  So I’ve done what I can to keep myself in check–choosing an implant that will take me to a reasonable bra size.

4.    Am I able to help others in the future with this issue?  I think so.  Sure, there are times we’d all like an extreme makeover, but my experience might help others sort through the actual issues involved.  You gotta ask yourself: Why am I doing this? Is it pure vanity or something else?

I took my sweet time considering this operation–making sure that I was sure.  But my time has arrived.  And I’m looking forward to my chest bulging forward very soon.