First of all, I wanted to say a huge thank you for the tremendous outpouring of support, encouragement and excitement when I shared about my boob job last week! I can’t lie: I was anxious about posting it, primarily because I didn’t want anyone to think they were less than beautiful because they haven’t had their boobs done too. But you are a smart and wonderfully open-minded bunch of babes. The response was overwhelmingly positive, and I really appreciate that. Thanks, yo!
It has opened up a really interesting discussion too. Some people believe radical self love means that you should absolutely, categorically, not have cosmetic surgery — and that if you truly love yourself, you’d never change anything — and others can zoom out and see my larger view, which is that radical self love is making the right decision for you, no matter what other people think about it. I believe in the right to do whatever you want with your body, and to live for yourself. Not everyone agrees, and that’s okay. That’s part of what makes life interesting.
I received a fair amount of questions too, which I’ll address below. One of the reasons I wanted to write about my experience was to demystify it: I believe that sharing information helps everyone, no matter whether you’re considering a procedure or not.
…And then we can stop talking about boobs for a while, because honestly, this is not that important. Here we go!
Q. Who was your doctor?
A. I went to Dr Shafer and he is so nice, thoughtful and calm. He has an excellent track record and is one of the best surgeons in the city. (Check out his reviews.) He’s also a total germophobe which made this Virgo very happy! Hahah!
Q. Will you have any scars?
A. The incisions were made underneath my breasts, and they look like light cat scratches. It’s really nowhere near as gory as I thought it would be (I’m quite squeamish so having to “tend to” horrifying-looking incisions was a fear of mine). I’ve been covering the incisions with breathable medical tape, just so they don’t get rubbed by my clothing, and applying a scar gel twice daily. My surgeon is happy with how they’re progressing and said if they don’t completely disappear within a year, we can treat it with a laser.
Q. How do you reconcile loving yourself with body modification? Where’s the line between self-acceptance and self-improvement?
A. I believe self-acceptance and self-improvement can exist in parallel. I don’t go to the gym because I hate my body, I go because I love how I look, and I want to continue to make improvements: get stronger, have more stamina, look better. It’s possible to accept and appreciate the way something is and still want to refine it. This is true of everything, from old houses to businesses to interpersonal relationships and our own appearance.
Q. I don’t get it. This is not radical self love. How can you call yourself a feminist and modify your body?
A. Go back and read the original post. If that doesn’t shed some light on the situation, nothing will. I have explained my motives and beliefs to the best of my ability, and I reserve the right to not have to explain every single thing I do in minute detail. We never have the right to demand answers as to why someone made a decision, because it is genuinely none of our business!
To the few of you who have taken my decision personally, said this is not a “feminist choice” or that it calls my sense of radical self love into question, good luck to you! It’s my body and it’s my choice. I don’t believe in telling other women what they should or should not do with their bodies — I don’t have the time or the interest. You don’t have to agree with me, and in fact, it makes no difference to me whether you do or not. Go and complain to someone else, because you’ll get no traction here.
As for feminism, I believe the most important thing we can do is treat others with respect, avoid body policing or shame, stay informed, affect change, and be an ally. Wringing your hands about someone else’s cosmetic choices is the most unbelievable waste of time. #firstworldproblems to the extreme. Go and do something useful instead — I am. And let us never speak of this tomfoolery again!
Q. Do you feel the implants when you move?
A. Nope. Not yet, at least, because they don’t move much at this point! The first few days it just felt like there was something resting on my chest, and while they still feel a bit “foreign”, it’s really not that strange. I’ve adapted to them quickly. I’ve also been pleasantly surprised to find that I don’t find them heavy or weighty at all.
Q. Did you really experience no pain at all? I find that hard to believe.
A. Ask yourself, why would I lie about that? As someone with a considerable platform, I believe it is my responsibility to state the facts, and that it would be negligent if I didn’t. When I say my experience was pain- and complication-free, that is what I mean. I have nothing to gain from claiming otherwise.
I had an extremely positive surgical experience and for that, I am thankful. I think this is due to a combination of factors: I chose the best doctor money could buy (in fact, I paid top dollar, my thinking being that you only get one body, so why not do things properly?), I have a high pain tolerance, I’m physically fit, and I also have an extremely flexible lifestyle which meant I could be the perfect patient. I literally did everything my doctor asked of me and then some. I emailed his surgical coordinator obsessively with questions, because I wanted to do this properly.
As for my recovery, I already had the ideal scenario. I was able to work from bed and take naps whenever I wanted them. I took my pills like clockwork, I ate really well, I moved around as much as my doctor suggested, and my boyfriend took excellent care of me. All of these things contributed to make this a stellar experience. I literally had no bruising and my pain was so minimal that my painkillers went virtually untouched. I took Tylenol Extra Strength for a while, and called it a day. This was a model surgery by all accounts.
I have been very very fortunate. Not everyone has a perfect surgery; in fact, a friend of mine had a near-death experience during her augmentation over 10 years ago. There are risks, of course. You could die during a general anesthetic, for crying out loud. (You could also die crossing the road, so hey.) I was aware of all of this, but — as you may have guessed by my life story — I am not risk-averse, and I am almost absurdly optimistic. Your mileage may vary! If you’re considering surgery, you are an adult and therefore, capable of making your own decisions. Do your research, and weigh it up for yourself.
Q. I want to get surgery too. What do you recommend?
A. A few things.
1. Think carefully about your motivations. Why do you want this surgery and what do you hope will be the outcome? You don’t have to tell anyone your motivations, but it helps to have your intentions clear in your own mind. It’s always good to make decisions from an informed place of power.
2. See lots of doctors. Read their reviews. I think RealSelf is great for that. Pay as much money as you can afford (but please don’t go into debt — save your money first and only spend it when it’s comfortable and not a stretch for you to do so). You only get one body, so don’t get a cosmetic surgery Groupon or some other nonsense! Go to someone reputable with an excellent record.
3. Get your lifestyle in order at least a couple of months before the procedure. I had a few moments during my recovery where I was glad I was so physically fit. If, for example, I didn’t have the pre-existing core strength to sit up, I would have been really screwed, because you can’t use your arms to press up from lying down into a sitting position. Stop smoking, eat good food, meditate as much as you can. You’re putting your body under a lot of strain, so make it easy on yourself.
4. Clear your calendar for the week after. Take some time off work, foist your children on someone else for as long as possible, cancel any meetings or potentially stressful situations. Healing is a serious business, and you will not want to be rushing around, forgetting to take your medication, or lifting any supermarket bags!
Q. What has been the most difficult part of this whole process?
A. Just little things: my movement was limited for the first few weeks, and I’d stretch and think ‘Ouch.’ I went to the grocery store during my second week and halfway home, realised I was carrying way too much weight. (You’re really not supposed to carry anything at all. Thankfully, I didn’t hurt myself, but I could have.) And, interestingly, this sentence from the instructional document I got from my surgeon: “Day of surgery instructions: Take care of no one, and let others tend to you.” I found it challenging just to READ that! I’m not great at asking for help and the idea of being totally reliant on another person made me feel deeply uncomfortable. Thankfully, my boyfriend is amazing and he did everything possible to make me comfortable and happy. What a man.
Q. What has been the best part of getting breast augmentation?
A. Having new boobs is AMAZING! I am so psyched every time I look down or into the mirror! None of my old bras fit so shopping for new lingerie has been really fun, and I noticed I hardly own anything low-cut so I’m on a quest to remedy that. Hahah. Like I said in my original post, I feel more sexy and confident and my posture has improved (and we all know that physiology informs psychology, so it literally makes me happier to sit and stand up straighter). Oh, and… See below.
I’ve noticed that since getting my breasts augmented, my orgasms are much stronger! Like, markedly so. Bonus! I’m not totally sure why this is, but I have a few theories. I’ve been reading a book called Tantric Orgasm For Women which says that orgasm begins in the breasts, and I’m not all the way through the book yet, but I think it’s a really interesting idea. I think it ties into the below too, somehow…
In this study, 84 women completed questionnaires on sexuality and self-esteem before and after breast augmentation surgery. According to the studies author, women experienced every measure of sexuality more strongly, reporting significant increases in arousal, sexual desire, sexual satisfaction, and lubrication. Source: Women Fitness
Plus, here’s a really interesting infographic about how women feel after augmentation. Worth a read.
Now, correlation is not causation and some of this might be chicken or the egg kinda stuff — e.g. do these women feel better now during sex because previously they lacked confidence? — but I think it’s worth considering. I felt great and confident in my body during sex before my augmentation, but I think maybe now that my actual body lines up with what I find attractive in another woman (hi, I’m queer), it enhances my arousal and thus, my orgasm. I don’t know! But it’s really cool, and I am not complaining.
Interesting stuff! Boobies forever!
Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming…