To Post or Not to Post: Tummy Tuck Stories

When I started SOAM, my hope was to change what our view of normal is when it comes to the bodies of women, particularly mothers. Our current view is held only within our culture. When you look at humans from an evolutionary point of view, you would never imagine that tribal women, untouched by our culture, would ever question the way their bodies change after having children. Watching the movie Babies reinforced that idea for me. Those mamas in Africa were completely comfortable with what we aren’t. I have even seen the bodies of other mammals change after having babies. So, when it comes to the entire course of human history, our need to look a particular way seems very small, very abnormal. My hope, then, my work here, is to help get us back to understanding and accepting what is normal. What I want for future generations is for body image issues to be such a foreign topic that no one ever even considers that their body should be anything but what it is. That it becomes a non-topic.

My personal feeling is that in most cases, fixing the problem of body hate, is an internal one. Body image issues are generally a symptom of deeper self-image problems. I know that when I was younger I always believed that if I just lost x amount of weight I’d be much happier. But once there, I didn’t feel any different, actually. I was still hoping for that magic moment. I think this is true of most women. As it turns out, the magic is there within you all the time, you just don’t notice because everywhere you turn there’s another advertisement for a way to fix your problem. Of course, the most sure way to fully fix everything is to do the work; wander the forest, defeat the Wicked Witch of the West, discover that what you’ve been following is really just a little man behind a curtain. You already have the magic. The joy in this path is that you’ve learned so much more about yourself, about the world, about humanity, and about beauty.

For women who are otherwise comfortable with themselves, perhaps body image issues are tied to society’s habit of fat-shaming. The other side of the media-driven frenzy to look a particular way is that anyone who doesn’t look that particular way gets shamed. People who are overweight are considered to be lazy or slow. It isn’t exclusive to fat people, though, skinny women are often accused of having eating disorders. What fat- (and thin-)shaming is, is judgement based solely on looks. No one except a person and perhaps his or her health care provider can know for sure why that person weighs as much as he or she does.

Now that’s a long introduction to my actual intent here because what I’m about to say could easily be taken the wrong way. So before I go on, please understand that I really and truly do not judge anyone their choices. I don’t live your life, so how can I possibly know the right choice for you? So if you have made a choice that is different from the choices I, personally, would have made, please don’t feel like I think you did it wrong. Have confidence in your choice; I support you.

Here goes.

I have such a hard time with the tummy tuck posts. I never know if I should share them at all. I do it because I want every woman to have a voice. But I feel like posting them is condoning them and I don’t want to do that. Largely because I don’t think it solves the problem 99% of the time, partly because I wish more women would stand together against the bullshit ideals we’re supposed to live up to, and another, very significant part, is because I have a friend whose mother died during a tummy tuck. So it hits home.

So I’m asking you, the readers, what are your thoughts? Does allowing tummy tuck posts condone them? If so, is that right or wrong? Should I post them here or not? Why? Let me know in the comments below.

PS. I will post all comments unless they are inflammatory, or attack either side of the issue.

40 thoughts on “To Post or Not to Post: Tummy Tuck Stories

  • Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 7:31 am

    I feel that if it is a woman’s story and she wants to share that she feels this way, then why not post it? There may be a word of encouragement from someone and decide not to go through with a tummy tuck or are you talking about not allowing posts where women have actually had a tummy tuck and want to share the after pictures? Either way, it’s their journey, their body and their choice. I honestly feel that tummy tucks can be dangerous and it’s not worth going under the knife for, but some women honestly struggle with losing the weight and they sink into a depression and this is all that they can see as a way out for them. IMHO it’s not for the best, but who am I to judge what is wrong or not for another woman? I see this site as empowerment for women, but I have noticed since starting to view the stories here about a month ago that there seems to be some issues with fit moms who work out really hard and get their bodies back nice which I THINK IS GREAT and inspirational and certainly what I strive for because I want to be healthy for myself, my children and look nice for my husband. I also feel that there are moms who struggle with the weight for so many reasons, medical condition, do not have the resources to help keep the baby so they can work out, even being too tired to work out. Bottom line, women should feel empowered to do what feels best for them and not try to fit any type of mold.

  • Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 7:55 am

    I personally like to see tummy tuck posts only because I like to see the type of transformation that it gives. I like to see if I can “hear” more confidence in the post of a woman who had it done.

    I do, however, agree with you. I do think it condones it. This site is all about loving yourself the way you are after giving life. There is a difference between eating to nourish the body, and exercising to keep it healthy vs getting a tummy tuck. Of course, people can take the eating healthy and exercise to the extreme as well.

    They do not offend me, but I think this site would be more pure without them.

  • Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 9:52 am

    As I read the title to this entry, I immediately understood where you were going with it, without even having to read the intellectual logic that followed. I have to admit, that when I search for a “cure” to my tummy woes, many times I venture the tummy tuck realm of the internet. This is on my “bad” days, when I feel down on myself and my new tummy. Other days, when I am actually feeling okay with my tummy (like today), I have zero interest in surgical procedures. I am confident in my new found workout routine and the effects it is having on my body. My lose and wrinkly skin will always be there, but at lease I can FEEL fit.

    In my tummy tuck searches, my main focus was the scar that remained. Yea, you get this flat, smooth tummy, but look at the SCAR! I always battled with “lose skin, or large scar and pain?”. Either way, our bodies change. While some mommies will go the tummy tuck route, and others will opt out and learn to heal from the inside, our bodies still are never what they were before babies.

    Having said that, and knowing that I completely agree with your point of view and logic on this subject, I don’t think that you posting stories of tummy tucks means that you “condone” them. Women are on here posting of eating disorders to lose their weight, but you don’t condone that. Yet they are seeking acceptance and support, just as a mom who did make the choice to have a tummy tuck procedure. I think, for myself, I would be curious to see posts about tummy tucks just to be able to get the full, raw, detailed experience and have that much more information to go with SHOULD I choose to go that route. Which I, in all likelihood, won’t. But that’s just it; once a mommy has decided she’s going to have a tummy tuck, she’s made that decision and will do so regardless if you post them here or not. I still think that your website serves the community in accepting our new mommy bodies and loving ourselves as is. This site has helped me tremendously in accepting the changes pregnancy bestowed upon me; and while I am on here every day, there are still days I venture tummy tuck videos and blogs.

    I have recently started a work out routine to see how I feel with my self confidence if I can just work towards toning and getting fit again. It’s been two and a half weeks and my confidence has sky rocketed! So while healing begins on the inside, and yes, I wholeheartedly agree with you on this, we also all need to just feel good about ourselves; for some of us, simple exercise will do it, for others, more drastic measures are needed.

    So no, I don’t think that by you posting tummy tuck stories you would be taking away from what you are trying so hard to achieve; personal love and acceptance of our mommy bodies, a breakdown of cultural expectations and a realization of true beauty, and what is actually the “norm” and reality. I personally would still respect you and your mission here if you chose to post tummy tuck stories.

    To end, I would just like to thank you for this site. It truly has been very therapeutic for me. Two babies now, almost 6 months pp with # 2 and I literally visit this site daily.

  • Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 10:07 am

    I say allow. I do not like censorship. However this is YOUR site, so what you say goes. Every woman has a story and how she found inner peace could be different than the last woman. I found peace, not in accepting my plump, wrinkly belly, but in working by butt off and getting the body I wanted. Some women cant achieve this without outside intervention, so I understand to a degree.

  • Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 9:35 am

    I’m amazed at the honesty and sensitivity of the information shared on SOAM. I think it would be helpful to women considering a tummy tuck to have that quality of information. Like you, I don’t believe a tummy tuck will solve what is truly a self-acceptance issue and I believe this will be highlighted by allowing women to share their experiences. Or maybe I’m wrong – I’d like to know what other women have learned.

  • Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 9:39 am

    I don’t think you condone them. You want us all to love us for who we are. NOT what society tells us to be. A lot of the stories you post are women who are not happy with themselves, but I think that by purposely keeping tummy tuck posts off the site you’re censoring a group of women. That isn’t your intent with this site either. I can see how you’re between a rock and a hard place. I know I come here to get and provide emotional support. I take different things from everyone’s stories, and I have read every single one on this site (it helps that I found you in 2009 :-)). From the stories I know that tummy tucks aren’t a solution, but it does help some women get healthier emotionally. And a healthy mom is a great way to be. And sometimes tummy tucks are medical… And then if you start not putting up the tummy tuck stuff, are you going to start not putting up breast lift stories? Or vaginaplasty (whatever they’re called) stories? Or I dunno. Something else I haven’t thought of? If you decide to keep them, perhaps you’ll feel better about posting them if you put a disclaimer above each and every one of them? Something like SOAM’s mission statement?

  • Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 9:46 am

    I say allow. its not up to us to judge which should be condemned or condoned. if you have a story, you should feel comfortable sharing it, no matter what it might be. tummy tucks on this website just show another type of womens’ bodies after birth. It shouldn’t matter whether the tummy is wrinkly or tight, either naturally or from surgery.

  • Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 9:48 am

    I’ll go against the majority and say I dont really think that tummy tuck posts are in unison with your original mission of creating this site, which is to show off the beauty of a mothers body sans airbrush and surgery, in all of its NATURAL glory. I feel like tummy tuck posts send the message that “you too can be happy” with just this minor surgery, when in reality, when someone is willing to go through with surgery to change herself, her unhappiness is not in her stomach, or her arms or her thighs.

  • Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 9:48 am

    You’re right, Kim, in that it’s not just tummy tucks, but cosmetic surgery in general. Not medically-indicated plastic surgery, but any that is done simply for cosmetic reasons.

    Putting a mission statement doesn’t really feel good, either, because if I put it on just the cosmetic surgery ones, I feel like I am singling them out as being somehow against SOAM’s ideals, and we’re back to judging others. Frankly, there are a lot of other posts that don’t necessarily fit, either, but the lines are sometimes very thin and I won’t always make the same decisions because I’m a human reading very human stories.

    Becca, check out the cosmetic surgery category in the drop down box at the bottom of the page. You can see the comments there. :)

  • Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 10:30 am

    I agree with the other commenters that allowing tummy tuck posts seems to be the most holistic route to go. For some women, the post-tummy tuck body IS their Shape Of A Mother, though I am in full agreement with you personally that the hope of SOAM would be to foster growth in our personal and cultural levels of acceptance of changes to our mama bodies.

    This question, of tummy tuck, is actually huge for me. I am a 39 y.o. mother of 2. I had my first son at age 20 and developed massive, extensive stretch marks up and down my entire abdomen, down over my pubic arch, and a very voluminous hanging belly. At age 20!!! It was hard not to feel ruined for the rest of my life. And through all of these years, though I am an active, fit woman who eats a very healthy diet, even though I have spent years weighing well below my pre-pregnant weight, this striped and hanging flesh has never diminished.

    I did not remain with my children’s father and spent the next almost 20 years of my life in and out of relationships and ALWAYS feeling hugely vulnerable at that moment of taking off my clothes with a new lover. And yet, I had lovers, and none recoiled in horror, though I feared they would.

    On top of it all, I am a very committed feminist wanting to condone, support, and role model that women of all sizes, shapes, and presentations are beautiful. I AM beautiful, and I know it, and yet I struggle with my own body changed by becoming a mother, my personal crowning glory in life. Add to my complicated mix of feelings about surgical body alteration that as a teenager I had breast reduction surgery. I felt very pressured to do so by friends, family, and the surgeon, and having that surgery is the hugest regret of my life. It was horrifyingly painful, left me with scars that NEVER diminished the way the surgeon led me to believe, and worst of all, the surgery resulted in my having very, very, very low breast milk supplies with my two sons. My first baby got so sick from dehydration even though I was nursing him around the clock that he spent a WEEK in the hospital.

    So, you would think I would be really poisoned on the idea of plastic surgery, right?

    But, alas, now I am gratefully and joyously pregnant with my 3rd baby, all these years later. I survived the gamut of single mother dating with my stretched out mama body and found an amazing partner who revels in my body and finds nothing but beauty in this raggedy, stretched out, hanging belly of mine. And yet, at 35 weeks pregnant while I adore my big globe of belly full of baby I STILL cannot make peace with the loose hanging flesh that swings below my firm, full, pregnant form.

    I stand in the mirror and pull the flesh out so it rests firmly against the rest of my belly, and I wish that this could be how I look pregnant. I worry that after this baby my 20 year pooch will now be even more pronounced. I dread going back to not fitting into clothes, because maternity clothes are actually made to accommodate my non-pregnant belly, but “regular” clothes are not.

    And so, despite my clear personal and political reasons for being opposed to a tummy tuck, I fantasize about doing it when I am sure I am done having babies. It seems the antithesis of what I believe in and who I am to even entertain the idea. The only reason I think I wouldn’t do it is because I cannot bear the thought of the physical risk to my health, especially with my children in the world. But, oh, how I struggle with the fantasy of a “normal” belly.

    So, I want to hear the stories of the women who made that choice. I feel they deserve to share their stories. And, I also deeply, desperately need SOAM to continue with its mission to promote my body, my belly as normal and beautiful, to help me not be alone in choosing to move through life with this form.

    Thank you so much for giving us an opportunity to voice our opinions on this issue. I think you are doing an amazing service through the work of this site.

  • Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 10:40 am

    In reading the comments above, it seems like there are two sometimes-conflicting needs to be addressed. Mothers, including mothers who choose to undergo surgery to change the way their bodies look, need to be heard. Other mothers, who don’t want to make that choice, need to hear stories that nourish their feelings of normalcy and beauty in the face of a culture that promotes the message that “you need to change to be acceptable.” And it seems that sometimes, the mothers who need to hear non-surgery stories also need NOT to hear the surgery ones.

    How, then do we (actually, you, the person who will decide about this) meet both of these needs? It doesn’t seem right to me to deny mothers who choose surgery a voice. (I will admit that the first time I read a cosmetic surgery post, I didn’t know it was going that direction until late in the narrative, and I was saddened and pretty surprised to find it here. Then I thought to myself, “What, you expect her to silence a mom sharing a story, just because that choice doesn’t seem to “fit” with the internal culture of this site?” I did, though, start scanning for clues when I read stories after that, because I just don’t want to read stories about surgery and “looking good for [someone else].” They make me feel worse, not better.)

    So based on such an experience–and I don’t think I’m alone–I think perhaps we could treat such posts as other sites that post “triggering” material do. The solution they have found is to label them at the start because they are triggering. Nobody would silence a mother who has been sexually assaulted, but it is important to acknowledge and respond to the fact that the telling of that story may harm another person who has experienced trauma and who may be reminded of it.

    A criticism of that solution that may come up (and has, on sites that post stories of assault and label them “triggering”) is that any label feels like a scarlet letter. I hear you saying that posting, for example, the mission statement, feels like judging. But I think that in situations in which two groups have needs, and meeting the needs of one (who needs to share one’s story and be accepted) may harm another (who needs to experience a safe space in which surgery is not promoted as a solution to body image struggles), you have to find a compromise that minimizes that potential harm.

    If I were reading a website about women’s relationships, and saw a warning preceding a story of assault, I would not think that the site manager was judging the storyteller. I would just think that the person who added the warning was protecting someone who might unwittingly read the story and potentially undo some of the emotional work they had accomplished.

  • Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 11:00 am

    That’s a very interesting suggestion, Elizabeth. I’ve never considered trigger warnings on SOAM or TIAW b/c, well, I think the entire site is kind of a trigger in that sense. I guess I assumed it was implied. However, I can see how there are sometimes specific things like abuse or eating disorders or cosmetic surgery that are slightly different angles to the typical story found here and therefore could benefit from a trigger warning. I think my biggest fear is if I might screw up. I am, let’s face it, flaky (haha), and there is the chance that I might miss or forget on certain days.

    I’m going to think on this for awhile. It might be a good solution.

  • Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    First, I want to say how much I love SOAM. It has been a wonderful resource for me. So many women post their stories and photos and I feel privileged to share in their journeys in even the smallest of ways. In answer to your question, yes you should post stories about tummy tucks and I will tell you why. All of the stories I read on SOAM are about journeys; journeys through hardship and tragedy and disappointment, journeys through pregnancy, infertility, childbirth, motherhood and self-esteem and self acceptance. Why is the journey for a woman who chooses a tummy tuck any less valid than the journey of a woman who does not? If you stop including stories about tummy tucks then you are invalidating the stories of the women who have chosen that route because their choice is not in line with your views about how you think women should see themselves after having children. I do understand why this is a dilemma for you but if you want to give all women a voice then you have to extend that courtesy to all women – even the ones who make a choice you would not make for yourself. I have combed through SOAM, reading the stories pertaining to tummy tucks. What I found was very interesting. I did not read about women wanting to have this procedure because they felt the need to look like a Victoria’s Secret billboard. Nor were the men in their lives pressuring them to have the tummy tuck. In fact, they were doing it for their own comfort with their body. Not for anyone else. Does that mean that all their stretch marks were taken away? No. One woman celebrated that she still had some but was relieved that the extra skin was gone. Does it mean that their breasts will not bear the marks of pregnancy and nursing? Doubt it. I don’t know a mother who does not have softer, saggier breasts postpartum. The shape that motherhood built is still there for these women. They just no longer have to contend with a flap of skin that has to be “tucked” into their pants. Or deal with having to wear shapewear in order to contain the extra skin. Or (as I have heard from women I know who have what they call an “apron” of skin) deal with their “apron” being a nuisance when they exercise (running in particular). Many of the women who contributed to SOAM about their tummy tucks also had severe diastasis recti that needed surgical repair. I can certainly see why someone would have the tummy tuck done at the same time. So, along with the removal of extra skin many women also have the peace of mind that they are no longer at risk for a hernia. When I had my first baby, all I remember wanting was for something to be the same. My entire life had changed in so many ways. My sleep pattern was shot to hell, my marriage was altered, my home was suddenly overrun with baby paraphernalia and I just wanted to recognize something that was me, my old self. At first when I looked in the mirror I found no solace. I was changed. It’s not a bad thing but in a time when a woman is desperate to feel like herself in some way, looking in the mirror and feeling like you know the woman you see there isn’t vanity. It’s survival. I cannot say how I would feel right now if I had the “apron” of skin after having my second baby. Would I see the beauty in it the way I can see it in others? I just don’t know. These women just want to feel like themselves as much as possible. They are trying to reclaim themselves in the ways that they can. Why shouldn’t their body be part of that? Everyone has a different journey to find self-acceptance and self-esteem. Some start working with the inside, and appreciating the outside follows. For others, it’s different. Some need to work from the outside in. Much like the “Look Good Feel Better” programs for cancer patients and reconstructive surgery for survivors of domestic violence, I think some people need to have the outside in a way they are comfortable with before they can feel better. Before I get blasted for comparing cancer and domestic violence to pregnancy and childbirth, let me say I am not comparing them! I am merely comparing the philosophy behind “Look Good Feel Better” and reconstructive surgery for domestic violence survivors to a mother having a tummy tuck. It’s about healing the outside to heal the inside. If that is someone’s journey, who are any of us to judge? People find self-acceptance in so many different ways. SOAM has certainly shown me that no one finds it the same way in the same time. Personally speaking, if I ever did have a tummy tuck it would not be in service to some insane ideal of what a woman is supposed to be. It would be for me, because I would want to feel like myself . My heart goes out to you and your friend for the loss of her mother during tummy tuck surgery. Every surgical procedure carries risk. I suppose the only precautions anyone can take are to be in good health for the surgery and ensure that you have an excellent surgeon with a long-standing reputation. It is up to the individual to decide what risks they are willing to take. I really wish for every woman to love themselves completely – not matter how they reach that destination. I respect women who accept everything about their postpartum bodies. I equally respect the women who make no excuses for having a tummy tuck because it made them feel better about themselves. Everyone has to be true to themselves. So, please keep posting these stories. Giving all women a voice is absolutely in keeping with the spirit of SOAM.

  • Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    That’s an interesting way to look at it, Sara – a tummy tuck to try to reconnect with yourself. I will think on that for awhile.

    I do want to adress something, though. You said, “…because their choice is not in line with your views about how you think women should see themselves after having children.” I don’t have any opinions about how women should see themselves. As I said in my post, I do not claim to know what is best for each individual woman and for the life she has led and is leading. It is more about what I WANT for women in general. I WANT body image to not be an issue. That is to say that I want all women to just love their body no matter what. It is my vision for the future, not what I expect to be real today. So my question is – what is SOAM? Is it the voice of women? Or is it a place to help guide women to total self-love? It sounds like the majority of people here feel it is the former so I will probably continue to post tummy tuck stories here. And I will be more comfortable with that now knowing what the community here is looking for. :)

  • Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 10:26 am

    Bonnie, I completely agree. I want every woman to see their own beauty. I see such beautiful women on this site. And most of the time they’re tearing themselves down and my heart breaks for them. Do I love myself all the time? Sometimes I pick myself apart, sure, but I have beauty that is all my own because there is only one me. I am trying to lose some pounds because I want to be healthier. I workout when I can with the goal of having more energy. I eat good food and I stopped obsessing. It’s taken a long time and no one will arrive at self-acceptance in exactly the same way I did but I can say this for certain. There will never be room for any woman to improve their outlook on their body if they waste all their energy hating themselves. Ladies, give room to a little bit of love for even one small part of your body and you make room for energy to spend on the things that will make you feel and look your best. We’re all muddling thorough trying to do our best and be our best and find ourselves again after motherhood takes so much of our energy and time. It gives so much but there is no doubt that identity is often a casualty when one has small children. All the entries on SOAM are like a distillation process for the contributer but also for those sharing in her journey – whatever it is. SOAM has helped me gain perspective about so many things. Kathleen’s recent entry gave me the last push I needed to tell myself that I could get into better shape with a crazy schedule and only a few minutes here and there to workout. In a society where women are often pitted against one another SOAM is a place where supporting one another reigns supreme. I LOVE that.

  • Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 11:36 am

    Thanks, Sara. I love that, too. And you know I don’t allow unsupportive comments, but the fact is I almost never have anything unsupportive that I have to moderate. The women here are awesome!

  • Friday, March 22, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    Many thanks for including tummy tucked mamas on SOAM. I treasure hearing their experiences.

    My POV may be invalid, as I have never given birth, and when I was 15 got breast prosthetics surgically placed to correct a body that failed to ever produce any breast tissue. And for that surgery I am fantastically grateful….life would have been so different without the surgery. Thanks be to my compassionate and loving (and able) parents.

    Whether by surgery or by exercise or diet or piercing or tattoo, we all reconstruct our bodies to the extent that we want and/or are able. I do not recognize a difference between those means of body modification. So my train of thinking is that if you were to disinclude the surgically altered ladies, you must then disinclude the exercise altered ladies and the diet altered ladies and the ladies altered by tattoo or piercing.

  • Friday, March 22, 2013 at 7:45 pm

    I have been reading posts here on soam since i had my daughter. Ihave never posted before but wanted to share my opinion. I think that any type of plastic surgery is a persons personal decision and is right for some but not for others. I also think that a person who chooses to get plastic surgery(while it’s perfectly ok) is choosing to alter their true shape of a mother. If you have a sagging stomach but choose to have a tummy tuck to fix that, the tummy tuck gave you that flat belly, not being a mother. Because of this i do feel a little like they go against what soam is truely about. Reguardless of all that i dont mind them being on here but i think it would be good to have the tags listed on the main page where recent posts are displayed. This way before someone clicks on a post they are already aware of the content of the story. I know i have read some stories under recent posts that i would not have read had i known what they were discussing simply because for me they hit a sore spot. Just a thought and thanks so much for this site!

  • Sunday, March 24, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    After having triplets and having back pain for the last two years that can literally take over my day, a tummy tuck would be wonderful. A tummy tuck is not always purely cosmetic. The skin and weight along with the separated muscles can cause painful damage. That’s why some insurance companies with proper documentation will cover them.

  • Monday, March 25, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    I read this a while back but I was on my iPod and too lazy to type out a reply on that. I’ve been reading SOAM for 5 years (or so), and as I think back, all of the posts I can think of that involved tummy tucks were mothers of multiples. I even remember commenting to my husband once that almost all of the triplet posts ended up tummy tucks. Like Sarah said, it’s not always cosmetic. I think those stories are an interesting perspective and since they’re not very common on SOAM, I don’t see that posting them should be an issue. I can actually see how they might even be helpful when the poster was pro-active about fixing an issue that was negatively impacting her life.

  • Monday, March 25, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    I do realize that there is sometimes more to a tummy tuck than just the cosmetic aspect of it. :)

  • Wednesday, March 27, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    I feel that there really isn’t any way to truly know every reason why a mother may choose to have this procedure. It may have nothing to do with societal pressures at all. If a tummy tuck is going to make a mother feel stronger and more confident, then more power to her I think. Please continue posting stories that discuss or show tummy tucks. It would be wonderful if we could all accept ourselves for the way we are, and I believe this site has helped a lot of mothers along the way with this issue, but in reality, I don’t feel that it is an issue that will go away completely.

    Thank you for inviting our comments and opinions on this, and for providing this safe haven that is SOAM for so many women.

  • Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    While personally I have no issues with plastic surgery (No tummy tuck have had surgery when I was younger) I always find it a bit startling coming across a tummy tuck post because it seems to clash with the sites ideals & purpose.

    On the other hand the majority of posts are so sad and upsetting going through the posts to get to this one the overwhelming theme is sadness. So many women hate their post pregnancy bodies. Maybe it’s just because people who are ok with their stretch marks, sagging etc dont think to submit their stories?

    Although the tummy tuck doesn’t align with the sites values I like that those posts have a happiness too them. It’s actually quite depressing and not uplifting at all to read submission after submission of women who hate their bodies :(

    You’re a mom – be proud!!

  • Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    I do not think you should post tummy tuck photos here. This site is about exploring and accepting our natural bodies, not about getting them altered. There are plenty of sites that will show you that if you look, there are not many that will show you the “real deal” that gets shared here. I have to disagree with the poster who said these stories are sad. I think they are real and it does make me feel better to know that other feel as I do. Seeing women who are having surgery is depressing to me if for no other reason it cements the fact in my mind that a) Surgery is the only answer to the “problem” and b) many women could never afford it so they are “stuck” forever. I visit this site from time to time when I am feeling drab about myself, please don’t make it a place where I have to look at artificial bodies and feel even worse.

  • Friday, April 12, 2013 at 9:11 am

    Kristin, you touched on another aspect that bothers me. As cosmetic surgery becomes more prevalent, I fear the social classes will be further divided. What will be seen as a “right” by the middle and upper classes – a right to cosmetic surgery, a right to be able to look a certain way – will not be possible for the lower classes. That bothers me, too.

    That said, the fact is that I almost never get tummy tuck stories. I think there are less than five total in all the thousands of entries here. If they begin to become more common, I will reevaluate.

  • Wednesday, April 24, 2013 at 10:42 pm

    I love SOAM, becouse when I was worried about my changed body (during pregnancy and after birth),this webside show me, that my body is normal and beautiful. It helped me to accept my stretch marks. Stories of other women inspired me to eat healthier and loos weight. I don´t look like before, but i finaly love my body the way it is. I don´t like tummy track stories, in my opinion it is against the idea of this webside.It is normal that woman change after birth. It is normal that she is not perfect. I feel that this webside is about acceptance of normal. For me, it is only place on internet, where i can feel normal. For me, tummy track surgery is oposit of acceptance. It is bussines whitch make money, becouse this culture, internet, magazine… are trying to persuade women, that they are not good enought and their body aren´t beautiful if they haven´t beautiful, flat stomach.

  • Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at 9:56 am

    I have two beautiful daughters, ages 5 and 2. After having them my ab muscles separated to the point that I had NOTHING holding my insides in. I thought for the longest time that maybe I just wasn’t accepting myself, loving my body the way it had become. I understand that some women might find it vain, and I’ll agree that when someone just has a little mommy tummy, getting a surgery that costs thousands seems ridiculous. However, for me, after much consideration, I had a tummy tuck with diastasis/hernia repair on May 9. The recovery so far has been very painful, but I feel so much better. I say you should post tummy tuck stories. For me, and I am not a vain person (I don’t even wear makeup), the surgery was the right choice.

  • Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    I am 43 yrs n I jus under went the abdominoplasty surgery on Sept 24/13 so still fresh n recovering. I am a very small lady n have always weighed under 100lbs. In saying that, I have had 5 babies in not one weighing under 8lbs4ounces biggest was 9lbs 3ounces and I have always went back to my normal weight n I am fit, active n healthy . Reason I had the surgery was 1: I had a lot of loose skin, tremendous stretch marks from top to bottom n side to side. 2: I have a hard time dating cuz guys got nasty. 3: all my stomach muscles n belly button was ripped n detached inside n needed repair badly . I was willing to opt for that one scar to wat I had. I am happy but at the same time feeling emotional as I am not liking the recovery part, it feels too long n painful n exhausting n irritating. I can if ppl want, keep you s posted as I go.

  • Saturday, January 11, 2014 at 6:58 am

    I think they should be posted. I hope I do not offend but I think to some extent you are extending the noble savage fallacy with some of what you have said, although some of it is very true too. Like it or not, many people do undergo these surgeries and Often they hide it because they are ashamed that there was this one thing about themselves that they could not accept or change. Just a few months ago my mother told me that when she was much much younger, and before cosmetic surgery was so popular, she had vaginaplasty. She is not a vain woman, nor “perfect” looking in any way. I actually think it is very human for anyone to have a few flaws they dislike in themselves, and for women to take some time to struggle with body image after they have children. I know you said earlier that if you look at animals or women through out history, this is not the case, but I entirely disagree. Women in many many cultures over many many centuries have tried various things to keep a flatter stomach firmer bust after children etc. There were corsets and stomach binders, extremely restrictive clothing and all kinds of potions and herbs women tried. So to say women have only just become concerned about looking a certain way after children simply isnt correct. Tummy tucks for women who have had children are also often not purely cosmetic. At the end of the day, while it would be nice if we could all look in the mirror and love every inch of our bodies, it does for some of us come as quite the shock to see how things have changed. I am not someone who wears a bikini much, my husband loves my body as it is, I dont read womens magazines like COSMO or to be honest, even give much thought to my appearance most of the time while Im at work or with friends.. but when I look in the mirror, there are a few things I would change and I dont feel guilty for that. On the whole, I am happy in my skin, I enjoy my body and I dont obsess over minor flaws. Promoting positive body image is an awesome thing, which will hopefully normalise the many shapes and sizes women come in. On the other hand, I dont think it is necessary to go so far as to say that all women should be completely comfortable with their natural self, and if not, they have low self esteem or need to work on their own confidence. Tummy tucks, boob jobs, and all of those procedures are quite extreme examples. But women do many other minor things in an attempt to change themselves.. wear make up, buy padded bras, wear god awful suck it all in knickers etc. Sometimes just because something is natural, doesnt always mean it feels comfortable or is right for everyone. That doesnt make one woman less “Real” than another either.

  • Saturday, April 26, 2014 at 1:31 am

    This thread has made me feel really sad. I have just had abdominoplasty 4 weeks ago. It has been incredibly challenging – physically, emotionally and financially. I am a small person, in the space of 3 yrs I gave birth to 3 amazing children… All big boys, the second being 11 pounds. I was suffering chronic back pain due to the massive abdo separation, I had a large umbilical hernia plus an inguinal hernia/cyst. I suffered stress incontinence, had stretch marks that looked like flames tattooed on my skin and an apron of skin that I literally had to tuck into my pants. I was frequently asked if I was expecting again. My gp referred me to a surgeon for a medically necessary ‘tummy tuck’. For all those that think I am now ‘unnatural’ or my surgery opposes acceptance about ‘the shape of a mother’ please re-think your views because they are quite hurtful. This surgery has been absolutely necessary for me to repair the damage incurred in 3 difficult pregnancies – I would not have needed it if not for my becoming a mother. My stomach now has a huge scar on it as well as many stretch marks – all of which remind me of how much my body has endured for my kids.

  • Wednesday, August 6, 2014 at 9:40 am

    I think the point being missed here is that we are talking about this specific site- “The Shape of a Mother”. Nobody is here to judge a tummy tuck, or to say that it isn’t helpful to some- the question here is whether or not it fits THIS PARTICULAR WEBSITE’S GOALS. I don’t personally think it does. This site was created so women could see other women’s natural bodies after giving birth. It was to offer another choice then what we are already getting in media: bodies made perfect with surgery, air brushing, etc. Society gives us that routinely, and this was supposed to be a place where we can see bodies and what they look like without all that. I don’t understand why some of you are taking offense. If you chose to have a tummy tuck that was your choice and nobody is here to debate that. We are however saying that it just doesn’t for into the goal of this website: to show all different women’s post birth bodies the way they are NATURALLY. It does women a disservice to see a surgically altered body that they maybe cannot have- which was the whole reason this site was created. To get away from that and to see the raw, natural version of post birth bodies. No disrespect to ANYONE, it’s just my opinion.

  • Thursday, September 4, 2014 at 8:13 am

    It is really easy to have the hardcore anti-plastic surgery opinion when your body is only beautifully altered by pregnancy. My stomach hung down past my thighs. My diastis recti was the worst (THE WORST) my doctor had ever seen. I literally watched him stick his entire hand through the muscles. My boobs were enormous double F’s that hung down to my belly button. I should just suffer through those horribly uncomfortable things because it’s “natural?” That’s like saying I won’t take modern medicine to help an illness because it’s not natural. I traded an apron of skin, a literal apron, and the most shockingly sagging breasts for a stomach that is still covered in stretch marks and now a ugly shocking scar. My boobs now look like a normal woman’s post-birth, still saggy and covered in stretch marks, but not to my waist and also with ugly scars now, too. I also have seen and felt the visible judgment from other moms for having had this life-altering, excruciating horror movie of a surgery. But, I feel like a human being again. I can actually exercise again. I can sleep well again. I thank god I was able to do this and I fully support and give my love to any women who are struggling the way I did. I thought I was completely against plastic surgery before I had children (two on whom were twins). It just goes to show- don’t judge someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.

  • Friday, January 23, 2015 at 7:36 am

    Reconstructive surgery is part of some women’s motherhood journey. Sometimes things go wrong and it’s not cosmetic, would people be judgmental if a woman had a poorly healed scar down below revised after delivery? Of course not!

    My 3 babies were big (9lbs) for my petite short waisted frame. There was no where to go but out and the diastaseis recti separation was significant with no way of natural closure due to a new umbilical hernia. The general surgeon said I required a large piece of mesh to stabilise the muscles and this would mean a 20cm scar running down my stomach. Since my 3rd c-section scar healed with excessive keloid tissue underneath he suggested a have the operation through my c-section scar thereby leaving me one scar rather than two large ones.

    The plastic surgeon involved said the muscle / fascia damage I had was so bad that she charged me only a token amount saying one of her wealthy facelift ladies would cover it. She said she loved reconstructive work and managed to save my belly button which was not going to survive the mesh without her skills.

    My belly button is now off centre and looks very tummy tuck like. I have an ugly scar running hip to hip and although my tummy is flat it has a lumpy mass shelf above the scar and little feeling due to nerve damage from inserting the mesh. Basically it doesn’t feel like me and I often cry about it even 10 years on. Sometimes it feels bloated, sometimes too tight so I needed many hours of deep tissue massage to help break up adhesions etc that bound it up.

    I do not look like a glamour model nor do I look like the beautifully soft and natural women found on this site. So where do I fit? It was not a vain decision but I feel deeply shamed by society for my scar as though I have it for vanity reasons. Sometimes I wish I didn’t have it, that instead I went for the extra scarring so I wouldn’t be judged. But I know the truth, my body went through a lot having my 3 children and I could not repair the muscle damage done through physiotherapy rehab so turned to surgery.

    It is SO easy to dismiss a woman’s journey if it doesn’t fit an ideology easily but that may diminish a woman’s trauma and bravery. I had an ideal of beautiful drug free natural births. However, I got a badly managed 1st delivery resulting in a c-section, a failed trial of labour for a VBAC due to time restriction (even though I was at 9cm) resulting in a c-section and a planned c-section (with a partially failed epidural) as they don’t allow a 2nd VBAC trial here. Even though many may see my scar and judge me harshly my husband sees me as a very brave woman who still endures discomfort from the pulling of the mesh at times and the battle scars of our journey (stretch marks, TT scar, strangely shaped belly now and wonky belly button). No perfect Hollywood babe here.

    Please, before making any judgements please hear stories as I feel so ambivalent about my belly – am I a real mother? I don’t recognise the odd belly I now have as it doesn’t feel right. To be shamed for having the surgery is unhelpful as I feel I have endured a lot and should not feel less of a real mother because I had reconstructive surgery. If I could have been functional without it I would have worn my battle scars proudly, I couldn’t be functional without it so why can’t I wear my battle scars proudly?

  • Saturday, September 19, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    Do not condone tummy tucks. It is a terrible surgery I am 5 weeks post op and truly regretting the surgery. Please if anyone out there is considering a tummy tuck, don’t do it.

  • Saturday, September 10, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    If my husband wasn’t so disgusted and turned off by my body after six children, if men weren’t so disgusted with my stomach after children I wouldn’t want a tummy tuck. My husband hated me, hated my body after six children and said he did not want to waste the money on weight watchers, he’d rather just divorce me. He said about my lower abdomen after giving life six times
    : your not sapposed to have fat hanging here and fat hanging there! I was crushed and wounded beyond belief. But he didn’t want to spend the money on surgery….he’d rather divorce me and he did. All he wanted was the children. I hate my body.

  • Saturday, September 10, 2016 at 10:02 pm

    Oh, mama. Your husband wasn’t worthy of you. I am so sorry he hurt you the way that he did, but I promise you that you are worthy and beautiful just as you are.

  • Sunday, September 11, 2016 at 9:00 am

    Well, thanks. I know that I am. Men are so hateful and stupid.

  • Thursday, October 11, 2018 at 8:32 pm

    It’s my biggest regret of my life!
    I have a wide, stretched scar. It’s both horizontal and then goes up in the middle. Like a cleft.
    I have a shelf where my abdomen are

  • Wednesday, October 31, 2018 at 1:04 am

    It is great you share your stories. And sorry for all of you who had bad experience with surgery. I probably belong to those who were lucky. I underwent abdominoplasty after 3 children. Great was that my husband really supported me, i would not say that he did not like me with my saggy tummy, he never ever even commented it, but he could see that i did not feel good about myself and really wanted to to something. And when i mentioned surgery he was like do whatever will make you happy i will still stand next to you. Love him for it. He even agreed that i will fly to Czechia for it, because i really found good price. I must confess that i was really frightened, because i red many experiences with tummy tuck so i had mixed feelings. But i wanted to love my body again so after i spoke to surgeon i was booked in couple of months. What i really appreciated was very positive and friendly attitude of people working at Forme clinic. Could not be more grateful for their care. And the result is great, i healed very well and the scar is not wide at all, it looks good and it is hidden under my briefs. Would never regret and tummy tuck was the best decision of my life

  • Tuesday, October 5, 2021 at 6:00 pm

    I had a tummy tuck recently.. I think they should be posted. Not all are for strictly cosmetic reasons or to improve a person’s looks. I had mine done for function. The belly overhang I had removed prevented me from doing many activities and also affected my job performance due to the physical nature of my job. I was having more and more back issues from the excess skin, and yes it also affected me psychologically, but most of that was from the activities I could not due such as riding a bike without developing chaffing or a rash. It’s not always about vanity. Sometimes they are about quality of life or pain reduction.

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