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?

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

  1. I had augmentation in 2000 when I was 30. I have been very happy with the results especially after having children. However, at the time, I didn’t remember the doctor saying they would most likely need to be replaced in the future because of the shelf life(no pun intended)of the implant. Since getting implants, I found out that I was predisposed to blood clots and should avoid surgery as much as possible. It makes me nervous now that I am 17 years past surgery that they may need replacement. I also don’t want to spend 5k plus to do it.

    All that aside, if I had to do it again, I would.

    1. My surgeon said that the implants of yesteryear often needed replacing, but what they’ve been putting in the last few years probably doesn’t. Let’s keep our fingers crossed! Thanks for sharing.

    2. Karen Underwood

      I first had BA in 1994 (!) and just had them replaced last year. They didn’t really need it, but I wanted a little fluffing and wanted to do it before I get too much older. My surgeon simply put these new (still saline) implants up a little higher in the pocket and that was all it took. My new husband and I are very happy with the results. A word of caution: get second opinions as always. The first Dr I went to told me..without examining me..that because it had been so long, I would need a bunch of scraping and a lift and so on..and that will be $7k. The Dr I chose did a fantastic job for $2,300. I did NOT need any painful fixing first.

  2. I recently had an augmentation done and had many of the same questions this reader did. J, you did an excellent job answering them!

    For me personally, choosing a plastic surgeon that specializes in fast recovery techniques made all the difference in the world. I chose not to tell any of my family and friends because criticism would have been the only response. When I could feel like myself and be back to my normal activities within a week, no one could have possibly guessed I had just had surgery. That and I was back to being mom to my young children quickly.

    1. Thanks, Jess! I also chose not to tell a bunch of friends for that reason, but…I guess it’s out now, eh? 😉 But I’m always happy when I do tell someone and their response is, “I never would have known.”

      1. I didn’t have to tell anyone. I was so flat it was obvious when I went to a b/c that I had something done. 🙂

  3. I am so glad that you are happy with them. Frankly, if a woman wants implants, it is no one’s business.

  4. Hmmm…. I seem to remember mentioning I wanted to get butt implants to look and feel more feminine (as I have large breasts but a very small butt) only to be told here that it wasn’t a good idea.

    So it’s okay for some women to surgically enhance a body part they are not happy with so they can feel more confident, but not others?

    I feel disproportionate, and I also think I look like a man from behind, due to my lack of rear “curves”. And although my husband compliments my breasts, I know he is a butt man. I’ve seen him notice this feature on other women many, many, many times. Why is it wrong for me to want to be pleasing to him, more confident, and more feminine?

    1. Hi, B! I totally hear your frustration, but my advice was entirely in keeping with what I’ve said here and about plastic surgery in general. Because I can easily search comments, I did that and looked about what you’ve said about butt implants. It has always been in the context of your belief that your husband doesn’t find you attractive and your insecurities about your appearance. Here is some of what you’ve said in three different comments:

      …he notices butts and I KNOW no matter what he says he compares and he hates mine because it’s so little and I cannot make it grow, no matter how much I run or do squats, I just am physically unable to make my butt bigger. And when I asked to get butt implants he got so mad, so he doesn’t even think I’m worthy of looking as good as the women he finds attractive.) And of course she was a brunette, and he loves brunettes. But every time I offer to dye my hair, again, he gets mad. It’s like he thinks I’m not worthy of being attractive to him.

      I just wish he’d realized what he really wanted and gotten himself that tiny brunette with a big butt back when he had the chance. I’ve offered to dye my hair and get butt implants but he gets mad when I say that. Because I’m not who he really wants and he doesn’t think I deserve to try to look like the woman he wishes he had.

      Why keep lying? Why not just admit that I am not your type and you do not find me desireable, or better yet, tell me what I can do to change myself to be more your “type” and I’ll do it. And he acts all surprised and weirded out that I even think that way. I’ve gotten much, MUCH better at keeping my mouth shut, but in the past I’ve offered to dye my hair, get butt implants, get fatter, get thinner, get a face lift, get veneers, get brown contact lenses – whatever would work!

      I replied to you in Should Christians Get Plastic Surgery like this:

      I remember that conversation, and I stated that I did not believe butt implants would help your particular situation…because there was so much else going on there. Honestly, if everything else gets straightened out, and you still want butt implants…
      But I stand by my encouragement to women to come from a place of self-acceptance and self-confidence before heading into a plastic surgery procedure. I wish you all the best and pray for you! Blessings, B.

      I’m not opposed to butt implants; I’m opposed to a woman having plastic surgery out of misguided insecurity about her appearance. You’re a beautiful woman, B, and the current issue isn’t needing plastic surgery, but rather self-confidence and relationship building. If you come to a good place with those and still want butt implants, go get ’em.

  5. I’m at the other end of the scale, where the size of my chest is seriously out of proportion to the rest of my body, and causes me a lot of back pain, trouble finding outfits that aren’t obscene, and expense in weirdly-sized bras. I’m breastfeeding now, and hope to have a reduction after my childbearing is done with, but what can I do in the meantime to help myself be happy with the body God has given me? My DH likes them, but not how hard I have to work to keep other men from assuming stuff about me because of them. I struggle every day when I get dressed, breastfeed, walk on stairs, bend down, run after my kid, sweat, try to wear sexy lingerie (none of it fits), everything. I’m having such a hard time not being mad at God for these lumps I lug around all day…

    1. Bless your heart! That can be hard. I cringed especially when you said, “I have to work to keep other men from assuming stuff about me because of them.” But I agree that you should wait until you’re done with nursing. From my research, I drew the conclusion that it was best to wait a couple of years after you’re finished.

      As for the meantime…not sure. Anyone else have suggestions?

      1. Hi Alice! I can kind of understand your frustrations. I still slouch too much (a bad habit I’m trying to break) because I’ve spent a lifetime trying to hide my breasts. The comments of others, men AND women, have always caused me to be self conscious about them.

        Dresses can be tough. If it’s cut right for my waist and hips, it will NOT fit up top. If it fits up top, I look like I’m wearing a tent. So I go more for separates. That way I can buy a smaller bottom with a larger top.

        And button up shirts? Forget it! I. Sure you know that aggravation when you put on the cutest top in your size and the top two buttons gap open because the shirt won’t button right over your breasts. Sometimes I just can’t wear the top, but in some cases I’ve had luck with Fashion Tape (I think I got it at Joanns.)

        I like to run. A super supportive sports bra is key. Between you and me (and others reading here ?) if I go up or down stairs and no one is around (like if I’m running down to the laundry room) I sometimes hold on to them so I don’t bounce too much. If people are around I just try to go slowly.

        I get really frustrated that a lot of the cute bras are just for tiny sizes. I wish someone would make cuter bras for well endowed gals – ones that didn’t cost a fortune! I also get frustrated trying to buy bra and panty sets that are sold together. If I find a bra big enough, manufacturers assume my butt is big, too. So here again is an area where I need to shop separates. Harder to find a cute match, but such is life.

        Don’t be embarrassed, and try not to worry about what other people think. I know that’s way easier said than done. Hang in there!

        1. I think the middle sizes are where manufacturers focus their “cute” efforts, so if you fall outside that area (either small or large), then it’s more difficult to buy clothes. I appreciate you mentioning the sports bra! That can help large-breasted women who are active.

      2. Thank you, J! Its nice to be heard on this, even if it isn’t your experience! My mom and I are at opposite ends of the scale; me halfway through the alphabet, and her a double-A cup, and she doesn’t really understand. As a teen I stuffed my chest into ridiculously small girls’ bras and endured a fair bit of teasing and targeted modesty talks. I’m figuring out how to work with my chest size somewhat and I’ve got my rebuttals down for all the guys who think I’m easy because of it, but I think, even just for reducing the back and neck pain, a reduction is in my future! I’m taking a bunch of your advice on board though, slightly tweaked for my situation, as I’m sure I’ll run into some similar things!!

    2. Alice, I’m right there with you. I always wanted to get a reduction after my breastfeeding years. Now… sadly, I’m glad they’re still as big as they are because they help cover up the “baby weight”. If I could loose the weight I put on with having kids, I’d reduce these things for sure. I have a few acquaintances that say it was the best thing they ever did.

      1. I feel like men (and actually sometimes women too) assume that I’ve had a breast augmentation and therefore want attention on my chest, because it is so out of proportion to the rest of my body, so they comment or ask for my card (!) or assume I’m looking for a good time. I also have people (usually older people) tell me to cover up or to ‘adjust myself’ if my shirt or cami (which I have to wear with most shirts) slides around. I get talked to as if I didn’t know and could prevent the fact that my clothes don’t fit properly or they shift if I run after my son, or do anything other than sit nicely. I can’t count the times men have passed the playground and looked just at my chest or commented on me, to my face or someone else.

        1. I’ve also talked to many women with larger breasts who say that they get criticized for showing off their breasts even when they’re wearing very modest tops.

  6. Alice, I’m there with you. I wish I could get a reduction. I too live with major back and shoulder pain, pain in the pectoral muscles, and have men who don’t know me make really nasty comments and/or assumptions about me because of my bigger chest size. This is even with me dressing in ways to try to hide them, not accent them. A friend of mine had to have a mastectomy recently because of breast cancer. She obviously hated the reason she needed it, but because she’d been big- chested and they’d been causing her pain for years, she said she was actually happy not having to lug around boulders anymore, and didn’t plan to get them rebuilt. From an outsider perspective, while I certainly felt horrible for her having cancer, and wouldn’t want to have to lose my chest at the risk of my life, I found myself feeling rather jealous of her not having said boulders anymore, because mine hurt me so much. I’ve had Christian friends criticize me for wanting a reduction, as J talks about having Christians criticize augmentation. In my case, I’d just like to be free of the pain, and the weight these put on the upper half of my body that pulls my back and shoulders forward. Unfortunately, due to being disabled and on Medicare/Medicaid, I can’t get a reduction covered. If others here can give pointers on how to live with both the pain and the unwanted comments/assumptions, I’m all ears, too.

  7. I would love to have this done! I have a few friends who’ve done it with no regrets. After nursing 3 kids I’ve gone from a solid B to one side almost an A and the other even smaller. 🙁 I don’t think I could ever tell my family though. I remember when I was a teen there was a lady at my church who was considering BA and somehow word got out to the congregation. My mother was very against it. There was a lot of judgement passed her way.
    Honestly, most of the time it doesn’t bother me too much (thank heavens for padded bras!) but when I’m being intimate with my hubby it bothers me.

  8. J, I seriously had thought about emailing you and asking these very questions!!! I’m so glad you did this post. And this – “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? “. LOVE IT! I want to say that all the time!!! (I’m in the AAA club as well, but only since I breast fed 4 kiddos. I used to be a 34B. Yep, they shrunk that much!). Swimsuits?! Forget about it.
    I do have one other question though. Have you noticed any effects on your health with the silicone implants? I’ve read that your body can reject them and cause issues? Oh, and my husband would like to know if they feel like your natural breast? I’m seriously considering this, but like you said, am carefully researching/praying/saving before I do. Thanks for being so brave and helping all us other women out!

    1. Thanks! Here are my answers to your excellent questions:
      1. “Have you noticed any effects on your health with the silicone implants? I’ve read that your body can reject them and cause issues?” No, no problems at all. Back in the 1990s, I worked for an attorney who represented some implant recipients who received a class action payment for silicone leakage into their bodies. In the wake of these issues, the breast implant companies redesigned, and silicone implants don’t leak. They’re kind of like a gummy bear, where if you cut it open, you could squeeze and the inner part would push out but it wouldn’t spill. That said, I’m one person answering this question. I encourage anyone considering surgery to research what risks are currently known about the procedure and take those into account. Others have reported problems, but I’m not up on what the issues were.
      2. “Oh, and my husband would like to know if they feel like your natural breast?” Mostly. Mine — like most, I believe — are underneath the muscle. So the implant essentially pushes your own breast tissue forward, and that all feels natural. If you move your hand around to feel under the muscle, you can tell something’s there. My husband described it like a two-tier cake, where the top tier is all you and the bottom tier is something else. Reminder: I’m talking about silicone; I cannot speak to how saline feels.
      All the best!

  9. I have large breasts too – and one day I would love to get a reduction. Some things I do – it is just worth it to buy the nice bra. I finally started thinking of it as my “work wear.” My husband buys work boots about once a year, and a good pair costs money. My bra’ s do serious work. 😉 Same with good fitting tops – I have a friend who runs a boutique and specializes in plus size clothing that is gorgeous and comfortable. I have grungy t’s for at home when it’s just me and the kids. But I also have carefully chosen nice tops, some dressy, some casual, (watch for sales!) So that I can feel comfortable and feminine. I don’t have closets stuffed with clothes, I am a little on the minimalist side, but it is worth it. I don’t thrift for myself anymore, because it is next to impossible to find clothes that fit me that aren’t stretched, worn out, slightly too small but I buy anyways because I need something. I ask for gift cards to my favorite store for birthdays, Mothers Day, Christmas, etc.

    1. I admit that I’ve changed my thinking about bras: A well-constructed bra will not be inexpensive, but it will also feel and make me feel much better. So I now invest more than I used to, although I definitely sales and clearance to get the best deals. But I really like what you say here.

    1. Yes. From what I read, the decrease in nipple sensitivity mostly happened when they used to go into the breast through an incision around the nipple. Surgeons have since changed their approach and typically make an incision below the breast.

      1. Thanks for the post. I’ve been wanting ba since June 1995. Hope to get it done soon.

  10. Very interesting post J! Great to hear from so many other women on the topic too. I’m also small busted and haven’t often been bothered by it, except when I had babies and time after time I couldn’t produce enough milk for them and had to supplement. They (breasts) didn’t grow much during pregnancy/breastfeeding either.
    But I thought I’ d reply, because there wasn’t much response from small busted ladies that are happy to keep the body they have, and I am. I’m in no way condemning anyone who’s had surgery, and I really appreciated hearing about others journeys.
    Possibly other attributes have helped with self esteem/body image though…like my hubby would be seriously disappointed if I was fat. So though I don’t have much bust to speak of, he’s happy that I’m still slim. And then attitudes and behaviour go a long way in how your spouse sees you and affirms you also. If I nagged and irritated him, it wouldn’t matter how sexy I looked, he’d be repulsed by the attitudes. But having a happy and honest relationship between us I believe does a lot for how we see each other.

  11. After having 3 children and breastfeeding them my once perky girls looked like empty socks. I was then a droopy 36C…I did decide to have implants about 10 years ago. The day after I regretted it. I had an excellent surgeon and after a few years they looked very natural. Physically however my nipples hurt to the extent that you couldn’t touch them without it feeling like needles. Not even drying off after a shower. My husband couldn’t touch them. For me, personally I was self conscious and wouldn’t get in bathing suits and wore baggy clothes for the 10 years. They were a 36. I had been a competitive athlete when I was younger and had smaller breasts before children….Two years ago I had the implants removed and had a lift. They are perky and my nipples are back to normal sensation and I feel very confident and wear clothing I didn’t feel comfortable in for years. At a 34 B I’m the happiest I’ve ever been and my husband is thrilled he can once again touch me. I don’t think there is anything wrong with implants they just weren’t right for me. My husband says he prefers the real ones because they are soft and sensual but mostly that I am confident again. Just really pray about them because reversal isn’t easy or inexpensive.

    1. Thanks so much for your story! Yes, I think a lift is what some women really want, rather than implants, and I appreciate you talking about that option. Blessings!

  12. Thank you so much for addressing the topic that no other Christian in my life has ever addressed. It is very hard to be even 50 years old and run away from ladies at stores that want to measure you with long scary measuring tapes and you just don’t want to know that you are a 32A or God forbid a 32 AA. Even at 50 now being a recently widowed woman, I am considering again the idea of a surgery. I would not do anything without feeling that God’s approval is on it so reading this out of the blue really helps me seriously decide that I should consider more reading about the subject and more prayer and make sure I make a decision that is “blacked up by God”. I don’t want to feel that I am the biggest sinner in the world just because at 50 I want to feel and see myself like a grown woman!!!

    1. Yeah, I never wanted help from the “bra specialist” at the stores. I don’t know if it was that they actually did look at me with pity, or that I imagined they would, but I understand that feeling. Anyway, I strongly suggest you do your homework before deciding. I’m very glad that I thoroughly looked into it before I chose my path. Many blessings!

  13. Hi J,
    I have wanted BA done for a long time to even my body proportion out. What I am struggling with is the conversation I need to have with my husband about it, since the cost is quite a bit. Any suggestions as to how to start the conversation?


    1. Um, I’m not sure. I know that’s not helpful, but I think a lot of it depends on the personality of your particular husband. What I can tell you is that it was several conversations for us. I brought it up as a “I’m wondering about…” and that got shot down pretty quickly. And then I brought it up again later, and then again. Over time, I was able to express my thoughts and feelings, hear his reassurance and concerns, and reach a mutual decision. My hubby also came with me to the initial appointments, showing I valued his input and wasn’t going to do something crazy. I wouldn’t push the issue too hard at first, but let things unfold. That said, how you actually start that conversation? Again, it depends on your hubby. How have conversations that went well in your marriage before started? That might give you a clue.

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