When 30 rolled around, Pirate Mom decided it was time to get her pre-baby body back. Now she finally feels like her body reflects the time she spends in the gym.
I’m 30, a stay at home mom and freelance photographer, and I like to do anything on the water.
I’ve always had big breasts. I started wearing a bra when I was nine, but once I had kids I had those Dolly Parton big boobs from breastfeeding and they just never went down. The only thing I lost was firmness, but they were still huge and it was hard to find clothing and exercise.
I couldn’t run comfortably because if I found a bra that was supportive enough it usually didn’t let me breathe deep enough, and I would hyperventilate. Or vice versa it wasn’t supportive enough and my breasts would bang on my lungs and I couldn’t breathe, so it was very counter productive.
I could never find tops to wear, I could only wear a certain style because everything is made for teeny tiny boobs and little triangles. It’s almost like they are trying to dress little boys nowadays.
I gave myself until I was 30 for everything to settle back naturally, and when it didn’t I went ahead and did it [breast reduction and tummy tuck]. I have a daughter and a son, and my mom actually had it [a mommy makeover] done years ago and it’s always given her such confidence. My kids look at her and they look at me and they go, “Oh mommy she has a flat belly after having four kids,” so I had to explain how she had her muscles repaired and that’s why it happened to her.
I also wanted to do it for my own self image. I would go into the dressing room and take 10 hangers with me and literally find one thing I could buy, and usually I would buy something because it fit not necessarily because it was something I wanted to wear.
I’m still very young and I’ve been married a long to my husband. He has an incredible body, but he didn’t have to have two kids, so I felt like we didn’t match anymore. I’ve always been active with yoga and pilates, and when I had time between the two kids I managed to have time to get to a gym that had daycare. But now that the kids are older, they aren’t able to go to the gym daycare anymore and they’re home schooled so I don’t really have any time on my hands for myself to get to gym.
I have free weights that I do at home, and I did Tough Mudder (an endurance competition) last July, so I’m very fit I just don’t look as fit as I am. It’s better to know that when I work out and exercise now, I can actually see the results that I’ve been working towards, whereas before I would work out, and we’re a vegan family so we’re pretty health conscious, but I had this hanging skin all the time.
It took me a long time to get my husband to agree, just because of the risk factors. I ended up in the emergency room with my son, and it was a little touch and go for awhile, we almost lost both of us. So he was just very uncomfortable with me being in a hospital situation, but once he researched it a little bit alongside me and realized that the risk gets lower and lower as technology advances he became a little bit more comfortable with it.
I think he also realized how much it did to my self-image knowing that I worked out as much as I did and I saw zero results. I eat well and I live healthy , so it frustrated him as much as it frustrated me because I think, like every woman does, I sometimes took it out on my husband. Just being frustrated because I have nothing to wear and yet I have a closet full of clothes, so he knew how much it was getting to me that as much as I tried nothing was happening.
I had a friend who recommended my doctor, so it was very easy for me. Once I met with him, I also had appointments with other doctors just to say that I’ve been thorough, but once I started reviewing the other doctors I realized that the reviews were really bad. Whereas if you look at my doctor anywhere online, he just has amazing reviews across the board. So I figured it was worth it going to someone I trust, rather than trying to save a couple of bucks.
My kids and I have a very open relationship, they come to me with all of their questions and discussions. Like I said, they’re home schooled, so they were with me during the last two weeks of healing. I just explained to them that my son stretched out mommy’s muscles (which is what happened he separated my muscles by about 3 or 4 inches sideways) and I explained that they are going to go in there and sew them back together where they belong so when I exercise you can see that I have a pretty stomach.
I showed them some photos online of what the scars would look like and the drains, so they wouldn’t be freaked out about me having drains dangling out of my pants. I showed them this is what the stitches will look like and explained a little bit of the procedure, basically that they were going to lift the skin and go in there to put everything back together and they were happy with that.
I was more excited than nervous going into the surgery, I was surprised about that because I thought that I’d be really nervous, but I was actually pretty calm about it. I think once I got there I was just so excited I couldn’t stop smiling all the hospital staff kept saying, “Oh you’re so happy usually people are sweating bullets.” But I was just so excited, I had been thinking about it for a long time just waiting for 30 to roll around so that I could do it.
I’m a big ’80s girl, so during my recovery I watched a lot of feel good ’80s comedies. I watched a lot of my old favorite shows like Monk and things on Netflix. But mostly I’m a mom, and I got to put my feet up for two weeks, so it was kind of nice. It was like a mini vacation.
The only thing I hate is the binder, it’s bloody awful. It’s a very strange sensation because if I take it off I can’t wait to put it back on, but when it’s on I cant wait to take it off.
I actually started feeling better about myself a week before my surgery, my friends noticed and commented. I had my last hurrah and went out with the girls the Friday before my surgery and some of my friends commented that I’m acting like I used to act pre-kids. I was much more talkative, active, and I was dancing a lot more, they were just commenting how I seemed to be acting like my old self.
Since the surgery I’ve noticed a huge difference in my body. I recently went to a friend’s engagement party and even putting my jeans on over the garment and the binder my jeans were loose! I can definitely see my waist back to where it was pre-kids. I have a waist again and I’m really excited about it. I’ve never been petite but having my hourglass back is enough for me.
I used to be able to put my hand underneath my breast and my whole breast would cover my four fingers, right now my boobs are actually lifted to the point where there’s nothing covering my fingers if I put my hand under my breast. My boobs are just staying up there by themselves, there’s nothing hanging over which to me is very exciting! I don’t think I have ever had perky boobs!
I’m looking forward to finally being able to wear strapless tops or anything even with a spaghetti strap because before I could never wear a strapless bra. My boobs did not like them. Also after having kids, the skin around my stomach was so stretched that my pants would fall off my hips just because it had to fit around my waist. I’ve only owned two pairs of jeans at a time since I’ve had kids because I always used to only wear dresses because I looked horrible in pants, so it will be nice to wear jeans again.
Before the surgery I just didn’t feel like myself. I would look in the mirror and feel like I was not looking at myself, like I was looking at somebody else’s body. After every workout I would look at myself and I would fell like my body was letting me down, I would give it all that I had, and there was nothing coming back to me.
And now two weeks after the surgery, I’m just excited to go out there and show everybody the old me again because I’ve met so many people who only know me as a mom, with that body that I’ve been stuck with. I can’t wait to unveil this is who I really am, this is what I’ve been working towards. I’m here, I’m going to maintain it, and it’s going to be great.
As told to Nicole Fukuoka
Want to read more Journeys? Check them out below!
My Journey: A Year After Surgery And I Still Love My Butt
My Journey: Allyn Rose — ‘I’m Choosing Life Over Vanity’
My Journey: I Met A Friend On RealSelf Who Supported Me Through The Process