Scrolling through my Instagram feed as I do most mornings, I came across a picture of a 30-something influencer and her daughter smiling for a pic at a beach in Mexico. Said influencer is the mom of four children under the age of 10 (including a set of twins) and her body does not speak of such a thing.
Her blog launched her to the world of fitness apparel design and now she’s running a growing company (IVL Collective, if you’re interested) of premium activewear for women. As such, of course, one would feel that one needs to look the part, she does want to emulate her brand after all. Comments to the photo were, of course, nuts.
You see, for any woman in the know (such as myself), it is pretty obvious this already very slender woman has undergone a tummy tuck. She has been forthright about her breast augmentation years ago and her need for a redo as it is time for one. Side note: breast implants don’t last forever. You do need to get them redone every 10 years or so and report anything that seems not right about them to your doctor immediately. Now back to the story. This woman has also mentioned her want of getting a tummy tuck before. She also works very hard for her body as evidenced by her numerous workout class-related posts.
Anyways, the comments on her picture ran the gamut from women spouting off all the oohs and aahs and general female cheering, as one does, to people calling her out for her tummy tuck and chastising her for 1. Getting one; 2. Not reporting it to all her fans and followers.
And so here I am feeling the need to weigh in. Folks, what women choose to do with their bodies is their ding dang business that can be as private or as public as they want it to be. Each of us may have “rules” about what we are open to in terms of self-improvement, and while the body positivity movement is a good and necessary thing in society today, that must also include a woman’s right to do what she wishes to do to be her best possible self, as she determines. And it’s no one’s business but her own. If other women want to feel envious, disappointed that such results were not achieved “naturally,” judgmental that a woman would go to such lengths instead of accepting what has been dealt them, etc., those are issues that they must deal with for themselves. For the women that seek help through a variety of ways to take control of their bodies and lives to feel great again, more power to them.
Why? I repeat: It’s no one’s business but their own.
As a mother of two good-size babies who had crappy belly skin elasticity, my mid-section was TRASHED after baby #1. Baby #2 neither improved nor further destroyed the mid-section, just gave it a little more of a beating. At the time (22 years ago), no one was talking about diastasis recti and what happens to the abdominal muscles during pregnancy, nor was there any information out there on how to help the problem through proper corrective exercise. Ladies: crunches and sit-ups make it worse, and guess what I did a lot of? Crunches and sit-ups. Now if those muscles did correct themselves and regain their rightful place, there was still the continental road map of the United States with highways and byways etched on my belly thus rendering the skin shot to hell. What that meant is that no amount of exercise and weight loss was going to fix skin that was beyond fixing. And believe me, I tried.
So, after working hard for four solid years after my last baby was born and the baby factory was shuttered, I consulted a plastic surgeon about abdominoplasty. I did that after completing two half-marathons, losing all the baby weight (from both babies, mind you), even trying various creams and rubs—basically doing everything I could physically do to regain a mid-section I could feel good about. The goal was never to wear a bikini again or be able to wear crop tops, etc. I wanted my mid-section to match the rest of the body I consistently worked hard on. My hubby, who had witnessed what I put myself through over the years was in total support. Not that he wanted this wife with tight abs, but said he admired my work ethic and because of that, he felt I deserved to get the results I wanted.
And so I got a tummy tuck over 13 years ago and it is one of the best decisions I’ve made. I’m also so grateful to my husband not just for his support, but for how well he cared for me post-op. He was and still is, my greatest strength.
I chose not to share about this till now because it’s no one’s business. But in the spirit of solidarity with women who choose this route and get all kinds of passive/aggressive comments, or flat-out insults, or feel the need to lie about it for fear of what others think and say about it, I’m being honest about my experience. This is to say, as I will always say for myself and other women: Our bodies, Our choices.
Women, when are we all going to stick up for each other just in the spirit of kindness toward one another? Are we still giving voices to the inner 7th-grade mean girl when we are grown women with educations, careers, marriages, partnerships, and children to raise? Seriously? To those women who feel the need to weigh in with negativity, I say, get a life. To the rest of female-kind just trying to get through with their business, you are heard and seen and cheered for.
Let’s all do more of that.