Let's Stop Telling Moms They Need a 'Mommy Makeover'
Mothers are superheroes and goddesses in my eyes—why imply that they, that we, are broke down messes; that because we've born children, we are decidedly worse for the wear? Dilapidated shacks need makeovers. Not the women raising the future of the world.
A few weeks ago, a friend told me she recently got a "Mommy Makeover"—and that I should get one too.
Wait. What did she say???
First of all, I wasn't exactly sure what a Mommy Makeover was. Second of all, I wasn't sure if the expression offended me … or enticed me.
The word choice definitely felt wrong. Mothers are superheroes and goddesses in my eyes—why imply that they … that we … are broke down messes; that because we've born children, we are decidedly worse for the wear? Dilapidated shacks need makeovers. Not the women raising the future of the world.
Turns out, it doesn't matter how I feel about Mommy Makeovers because everyone is having them. At least in New York City. One of the most sought after plastic surgeons in Manhattan, Norman Rowe, M.D, says he gets at least five patients a day asking for Mommy Makeovers. Five a day!
"Traditionally, the 'Mommy Makeover' entails breast and tummy surgery and then non-operative procedures like Botox, fillers, and lasers," Dr. Rowe, who's also famous for his "designer nipples," said. He also does quite a few "Daddy Do-overs," which usually means, "Botox, hair plugs, and the chin, or chins…sometimes a little work on the tummy, too."
Dr. Rowe says the Mommy Makeover expression is fine with him, and not just because it's clearly good for business. "I don't believe in shaming mothers for getting makeovers or not getting makeovers—it is their body and only theirs. No one should tell a woman how to feel about her body."
The more I heard about Dr. Rowe's breasts that swoop, and faces that don't droop, the more I realized that maybe the "Mommy Makeover" expression doesn't make me feel insulted, maybe it makes me feel, um, jealous? Amazing boobs would indeed be awesome. I wouldn't refuse a tighter stomach. And hello, if I looked like naked Emily Ratajkowski instead of naked Alyssa Shelasky, I bet my sex life would not suffer.
But still. Mommy Makeover is a no good, very bad term. Right?
"It doesn't offend me, but I prefer to say 'restoration,'" says Jennifer MacGregor, M.D., a high-end dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology, and a new mom herself. ""Mommy' almost sounds demeaning. Like, 'I'm a mommy now,' somehow implies you're dowdy and not fashionable and not attractive anymore."
Semantics aside, Dr. MacGregor says that pregnancy "accelerates aging, there's no doubt about it." She cites hormonal shifts, weight gain, weight loss, sleep deprivation, and breastfeeding as the "exhausting and demanding factors that change the way we once presented ourselves to the world."
It is extremely common for Dr. MacGregor to see new moms for said restoration. "Everybody wants to take care of themselves. Everybody wants to protect their skin, feel healthy, and feel radiant. My clients don't want to look younger, they just want to look healthy, vibrant, and more rested."
Healthy, vibrant, and more rested. Yes, please.
- RELATED: What Motherhood Really Looks Like
I asked Dr. MacGregor about products for those of us who aren't ready for, or can't afford, or simply aren't sure about, seeing a plastic surgeon or dermatologist. "You can get on a good topical regiment or an anti-acne treatment, and there are also products that help with things like hollows under the eyes, and overall hydration."
Dr. MacGregor's practice recommends SkinCeuticals products. They're all pretty magical, I've tried them, but the best ones for restoration are the Glycolic 10 Renew Overnight for glowier skin and SkinCeuticals A.G.E. Eye Complex to tackle that under eye puffiness and dark circles.
OR….do nothing. Do absolutely nothing. Luxuriate in your body and face exactly the way it is because every wrinkle and every ripple tells the story of your life and the gorgeous struggle and privilege that is being someone's parent.
When I first had my daughter, I was a hot mess according to anyone's definition of hot mess. But you know what? I never felt more beautiful. I wore big sweatpants and bushy eyebrows and had many stretch marks and one long, recurring chin hair. Did I need a major Mommy Makeover? Yes. Did I want one? No way!
A few years later, I'd like to look a little better, and that's okay. It's up to me. But whatever I decide to do, I won't call it a Mommy Makeover and it (probably) won't include designer nipples.