I put a great amount of effort into helping other girls with body positivity and encouraging them to feel comfortable in their own skin, but I’m also a firm believer that every person has rights over his or her own body. It might seem perplexing or hypocritical that someone who is such a big advocator for body positivity would opt for breast augmentations, but like anything else in life, there is more depth to my story and I think my experience could bring a unique perspective to the critically judged field of plastic surgery.
In my early teens, I was self-conscious about having such a small chest. I identify as a woman and having a small chest made me feel less feminine. I wanted to feel comfortable naked, just me in my skin. These thoughts were also during a period of disordered eating, which only made the situation worse. As a graduating senior, I’m happy to say I’m no longer living that lifestyle or having such negative thoughts. I learned to just accept that part of my body and focus on the things that I could control that make me feel more feminine and comfortable in my body.
So why implants? What changed my mind?
Well, breast augmentations were something I have always thought about, and honestly, I think many girls have given it a quick thought once or twice in her life. I never really voiced my thoughts about it so it was kind of out of nowhere when my parents brought it up to me. I was shocked by their support, as they told me that if it was something that would make me happy, they would support me. I know they only said this because they knew I was at a point in my life where I was at peace with my body and that anything of this nature would be for the right intentions: to make ME happy, not a significant other or to live up to societal standards.
A lot of thoughts ran through my head. “Do I really want to do this? What will others think of me? Will this really make me happier?” One thing I’ve learned over the past few years in college is that any second caring about what others think is a second wasted. I went in for the consultation to have the surgery only 3 days later. It may have been executed quickly, but this is something I have thought long and hard about for years! I went into that surgery a happy person; a person with a bright smile and pep in her step. I left that surgery still the SAME person.
It’s been 2 months since my operation and I have never been happier, and the augmentations are only a small factor in that. I have grown to find happiness and fulfillment in so many other things that do not involve body image. There are some individuals out there that believe breast augmentations will make their whole life better because they are doing it to satisfy others, and yes, I would say that’s really unfortunate and shines a light on the darker side of plastic surgery, but not all procedures are fueled with wrong intentions. Plastic surgery can be extremely empowering and give people a part of their life back. Improving an individual’s confidence in any capacity can be life changing, as all areas of wellness are deeply connected.
What about the health risks? How can I justify going under elective surgery?
These are certainly valid questions and dug at me the most. I did my research and asked my doctor loads of questions to really pick his brain. Of course, I didn’t want to put my body in a dangerous situation. With any surgery, I make sure I know the risks, am well informed, and I am with a physician that I respect and trust. I try my absolute best to uphold a healthy lifestyle and treat my body with care (you only get one, folks!). Life is a matter of choices, really, and I choose not to drink or smoke, I take a great deal of care in the foods I choose to fuel my body with. When someone asks me how I rationalize my decision, I ask them to consider how to rationalize binge drinking at college parties or filling our bodies with sugar and loads of empty calories MANY TIMES throughout the day. All are not conducive to health, and that’s okay! They are choices, right? No person is really in the right or wrong, it’s just something to think about!
What I want people to understand is that plastic surgery will definitely change your life in some capacity, if it’s for the better or for the worse depends more so on your intentions, expectations, and quality of care. Will your struggles with confidence and body image go away from the surgery alone? Definitely not. And I’m telling you this from experience. You can’t look at your body and your feelings about it as something that can be “fixed.” Body image is something that we carry with us throughout our entire lives. Our bodies are constantly changing, so having a “fixing” mentality just creates a lifetime of unnecessary struggle. Would I do it again? Yes, I really would. Would my life be drastically different if I chose not to? Not at all. It’s wonderful having this boost in my confidence, but I believe the amazing things that have happened for me in the past few months (acing exams, getting into medical school, making new friends, reaching goals in the gym, you name it) all would have happened regardless! The empowerment that came from my augmentations was not from looking different, it was from confidence. Confidence is the most beautiful thing in a person, not what you see on the outside.
If you’re reading this, I hope that you love who you are in your own skin. I also hope that you take opportunities to let yourself be happy. I would never advocate for breast augmentations, it is truly a “you” decision. Whatever you decide to do in this life, I hope you do it safely and thoughtfully for the sole reason that it makes YOU happy.