Parents are constantly shamed for their choices. From how we feed our children to how we educate them, everyone has an opinion on how to raise kids. The result? Moms and dads feel endlessly judged for the choices they make — even if they have no other options. This week, families around the country are sharing their inspiring, funny, honest, and heartbreaking stories with Yahoo Parenting in an effort to spark conversations and a little compassion, and to change in the way we think about parenting forever. Share your story with us — #NoShameParenting.
The pressure to slim down quickly after having a baby is both pervasive and powerful. (Case in point: You can’t pick up a magazine without seeing a celebrity flaunting her perfect “post-baby body” — which, by the way, she achieved in a matter of weeks.) And while many women in the “real world” also strive to quickly get back their pre-baby bodies, there’s a certain shame factor if they don’t work at it the old-fashioned way with diet and exercise. But one mom tells Yahoo Parenting that she enlisted the help of a plastic surgeon to feel confident again — and that she doesn’t care what anyone thinks about it.
“I believe in doing whatever makes you happy as far as confidence and making your life better,” Cindy Moore, a financial executive and mother of two in New Jersey (pictured above in her “after” photo), tells Yahoo Parenting about her decision to get a combo tummy tuck, liposuction and breast implants — call it a mommy makeover — after she grew frustrated with her body following the birth of her second child two years ago. “There are probably a lot of people who think it’s vain, but I’m happy with myself and not in people’s faces about it. It’s something I did for me. I couldn’t care less if someone wanted or didn’t want to do it.“
STORY: Why I’ll Never Wear a Bikini
Moore, who lives with her husband and two boys, ages 2 and 5, says she was never overweight but was really bothered after the skin on her stomach “really stretched out” following her last pregnancy, and diet and exercise didn’t make a difference.
Moore’s stomach, presurgery. (Photo: Cindy Moore)
“I was working out a couple of times a week and eating healthy, but it wasn’t working,” says the 39-year-old. “I’m a pretty determined person and I tried everything, but when I did planks, you could see stomach muscles were so loose they were hanging and I knew it would bother me for the rest of my life. I also knew it was something that I had to take care of with surgery even though nobody likes surgery.”
Since she was going under the knife anyway, Moore says she decided to “do the whole shebang.” A “deflated A” cup breast size post-kids, she says she’d wanted implants for years. And while liposuction on her inner thighs “wouldn’t have been something I’d have done alone,” since she was having work done she figured, “I’ll just add it on.”
So on St. Patrick’s Day 2015, Moore, who’d had previously consulted with six other doctors before making her decision, drove to New York City where her surgeon, Dr. Matthew Schulman, gave her the surgeries: an abdominoplasty (aka “tummy tuck,” in which abdominal muscles are tightened and stretched-out excess skin is removed), liposuction (which permanently removes fat) on her inner thighs, and silicone “big B” breast implants during a single four-and-a-half hour session.
Moore’s stomach, presurgery. (Photo: Cindy Moore)
The price tag: Approximately $22,000. "It does set you back, especially if you go to the best doctors. It’s the same thing as buying a car. It’s a one-time investment for your body,” Moore says. “You get what you pay for. It’s still cheaper than the price of my car. My body is something I live with and look at every day.”
Schulman tells Yahoo Parenting that these combo procedures are becoming “extremely common” and offer speedier recoveries than separate surgeries. Such “mommy makeovers” he estimates “are about 25 percent" of his business. “The other 75 percent are the same procedures, just done separately,” he says.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports that “mommy makeovers” are of “growing interest, [reflecting] the increase in pregnancies at later ages and increased multiple births, in a generation of women with ‘a keen interest in nutrition, fitness, and a continued desire to retain a youthful figure,’” but the organization keeps statistics only on individual procedures, not the combination that women including Moore have had.
According to Scot Glasberg, president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the “mommy makeover” is a five-year trend by now, “but it is something that we’ve seen growing because of the media and social media as more women are talking about it,” he tells Yahoo Parenting, adding that doctors don’t really use the term themselves. “What constitutes the ‘makeover’ is unclear because it can be anywhere from one to three procedures,” he continues, noting that the price tag can vary between $5,000 and $20,000-plus depending on what is done, and where, with New York City, Miami, and Beverly Hills being the most expensive areas to have work done. “More than three procedures typically isn’t safe at one time.”
Moore admits that she was concerned with her safety before going under the knife. “It’s very dangerous, and with small children I had that fear of, ‘What if something happens to me?’” But she quelled her fear of death, complications, and “botched results” by reminding herself that she’d done her research, enlisted a qualified doctor, and that “no matter what you do, there’s always going to be a risk, even just crossing the street.”
Now six months later, she’s thrilled to say that the hours of surgery, five days of painful recovery (including drains attached to her body), and three days of sleeping upright in a recliner were all worth it. “I’m just so much happier in general,” she says. “I don’t think it solves any internal issues you may have, but since I always wanted to do it, now that I have I feel like a better person — for myself and for my family.”
“Before I didn’t have the confidence to wear a bikini,” she explains. “I’m wearing what I want to wear. It’s more mental than anything else. It’s been a huge confidence boost.”
Body image, she insists, is different for everybody. “If you have sagging skin and wear a two-piece and own it and rock it, that’s awesome, but I couldn’t. This makeover was something I wanted to do for myself, but I don’t think it’s for everyone. I’m not on Real Housewives of New Jersey, but I want to look and feel my best.”
Moore feels no guilt over the expense, week of recovery in which she couldn’t physically parent, or the risk she took on, she says, “because after everything that I went through having kids and always focusing on my family, it was one thing I wanted to do for myself.”
“You have a short time on this earth,” she insists, “and if there’s something that makes you happy and confident and you’re able to do it, you should do it.”
(Top photo: Cindy Moore’s “after” photo)