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?
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?