Why I Got Breast Implants
It's time to get very personal here and spill my guts.
Fifteen-ish years ago when I was barely into my twenties, I went to a plastic surgeon and, armed with photos of beautiful busty models, showed him what I wanted to look like. My mind was already made up before I ever went: I was going to get breast implants.
How did I arrive at that point though? Without a shred of medical advice yet, and with no understanding of the full implications of breast augmentation surgery, I had already decided. No doctor ever told me I should get implants. I'm guessing that no general practitioner or psychiatrist ever would have. I had convinced myself to get them, based on the images I saw and messages I received growing up. That is backwards. And I'm guessing that's not far from how most young women end up with implants in their bodies.
My story starts with a very young me. I remember being teased by classmates and nearly all members of the family about my "big butt", "thunder thighs", and "itty bitty titties", including negative comments by my own mother (her own sizeable backside, wide hips, and small chest that I inherited notwithstanding). And I remember my father kept a Playboy pinup in the garage that really affected me from early on. If I wanted to be beautiful (and later feel worthy of love and belonging) I felt like I needed to look like that.
Looking back, my butt and thighs were not that big and of course there wasn't anything wrong with my body. I became vegetarian at 14 because of my love for animals and have maintained a relatively slender salad-munching build since. But I definitely received the message time and time again that I had undesirable junk in my trunk, hips, and thighs, and I believed it. In the 90s and early 00s, the big-booty-as-a-desirable-characteristic phenomenon had not yet emerged in the mainstream (I know, big booties have been prized for a long time, but people weren't getting butt implants much back in those days).
Cue years of me exercising like crazy, becoming a fitness instructor for a while and eschewing all desserts and plenty of other pleasures, only to come to the depressing conclusion: the less body fat I had, the smaller my already small boobs became and my butt and thighs didn't seem to budge. Or at the very least, the ratio stayed the same. I was a pear, and I couldn't exercise or eat my way to a "proportional" body shape.
I think stronger and weaker women would have moved on. The stronger ones accepting their own bodies and celebrating themselves as beautiful for being natural, and the weaker one just giving up and curling themselves into a life of self-pity. But I am - above almost all else - determined. I would not give up. I did not question my beliefs or what others had told me. I grew up in a society where we are constantly told anything is possible, you just have to want it bad enough. You don't like your body? There's a scalpel for that.
I wanted a 'womanly' body. I put together my savings and found a doctor I could afford. I marched in his office, mind made up that I wanted implants. Nevermind that this surgery is as major as an appendectomy. That it comes with big risks, lots of pain and a long recovery time. That complications requiring a second major surgery within a year or two are COMMON. That unless you die in the following decade, you will need another major surgery to change them out every ten years or so, until you finally get tired of expensive surgeries and opportunity costs, painful recoveries, and increasingly disappointing results. Getting an augmentation was already normalized by that time - it's even more so now. There are so many women, so many celebrities and instagrammers and people you know who have them. It makes you feel like the surgery must be no big deal. (I have unfortunately contributed to that, but I hope to make amends starting with this post).
The doctor saw me. We talked about why I wanted them and what I wanted to look like. We looked at before and after photos, and talked about the surgery in layman's terms. Then we got down to costs, down payments and financing. And then, after the sales pitch, I was handed the pamphlet that explains the risks that come with an augmentation. There were so many, it read like those annoying medicine commercials that list off a litany of potential side effects like an auctioneer. The list was so long it seemed more like a legal "cover my behind, I have to say these things to not be sued" document than an accurate reflection of what might really happen. I paused, but my mind was made up. I wouldn't budge.
I wish I had.
Except for being depressed that I didn't have a model's body, I was a very healthy young woman. I sought a dangerous medical procedure for vanity, not health (well, it's done under the banner of 'mental health' but more on that some other time) and for some reason I thought that was okay. Society thinks it's okay. There are people who speak out against it, but it's easy to dismiss them as angry, exaggerating the risks or just counter-culture.
Many women who have breast implants will tell you they love them. They make you feel womanly, you get much more attention, you feel more attractive, and for lingerie addicts like me you can wear amazing lingerie like Agent Provocateur's Mercy Corset that my silicone is spilling out of in the photos above. Plastic surgeon websites are covered with "success" stories of women who were dissatisfied with their appearance, but after getting a boob job they have "increased confidence" and report feeling sexier. It has a happily-ever-after ending. All these women have no regrets.
That is, until they do.
I've now been both types of women: the happily-ever-after busty babe and the reality-sets-in woman with big problems. I'll write more about that in my next post.