Sunday, August 17, 2008

Tummy Yuck... Tummy Tuck...Tummy Yummy

I could be the poster child for tummy tuck surgery.

OK. Think about it. I've had SEVEN children, the majority of them over 10 pounds. I've had two c-sections. I'm 43 years old. I have not been blessed with a genetic tendency to taut, resilient skin.

I have a belly. A chubby belly that hangs down in an awkward fold. A belly that cannot be sucked in, no matter how hard I try. A tummy that positively shouts "THIS WOMAN IS A MOTHER!" A tummy that takes a fairly proportioned figure and turns it into something altogether different.

Yuck. Tummy YUCK!

I've never had a totally flat belly. (I don't think those are common -- or even ideal, for that matter.) But with each baby, and as the years have passed, I've noticed (how could I not?) that my tummy is well, out there. Way out there.

I've seen my share of photos on the internet of abdomens pre and post tummy-tuck surgery, and must honestly admit that I look much worse than many of the before shots. I'm not too keen on how some of the after pics look either, though. I joke with my family that if I came into the cash, I just might have the surgery. But I'm not really serious about it, even though friends assure me I'd be a great candidate, and that I "deserve" to put my body back to "normal" after having so many children.

But is that really something to consider -- major surgery?

There's much to discuss here. I don't want to live by vanity, falling into a ready trap set by the culture at large that says I must adhere to their standards of beauty. But I will be honest. I'd like the tummy to be smaller, smoother, more compact. I'd like to look more like my old self, that's all.

But there's another truth, one I find amazing. My kids LOVE my tummy. The little boys ask me often if they can see it or touch it. It's soft and cushy, comfy and squishy. Even my young adult daughters like it. They tell me they can't wait to have tummies, because they can't wait to be moms. How cool is that? And my husband loves me just as I am, tummy and all, and tells me how beautiful my curves are. Am I lucky or what?

I remember really loving my mom's tummy when I was a girl. In the evenings I would lay on the couch, my head on her lap, watching TV while she stroked my hair. She was so soft and huggable. I don't think I would have felt nearly as content there had she a rock-hard, six-pack belly.

And neither would my children.

So when I'm tempted to say yuck, I'll say yummy. I don't have a tummy because I'm lazy or gluttonous. It doesn't protrude because I'm ugly or "fat." It's a sign that I've used the beautiful gift of my body to produce seven precious babies.

I don't think I need to take a knife to that.


Soul Pockets said...

This post hits home. After 4 c-sections I would just like to have feeling in my tummy again. I never had a flat tummy. My mom would dress me in little bikinis as a kid because she thought my big tummy was cute.Yeah real cute. I have contemplated a tummy tuck, but like you I have come to like my tummy a little bit at a time. This issue must be the reason I like belly dancing. Beautiful women, showing off their beautiful pudgy bellies. Maybe belly dancing is something we should look into. :)

Jamie said...

Gosh, my tummy is just as you describe!! After 4 c-sections, there is no muscle left, when I do sit ups, I feel nothing!! My doctor told me the only answer is surgery, that no ab machine or exercise will do it. It's been stretched beyond limit and then cut.

I consider it my war wound from being the gift of children.

I remember as a child, my dad constantly telling me to "suck it in" I remember once yelling back and crying "I am!" I've always had a tummy, so I guess there was a lot to stretch once getting pregnant!!

Not to learn to like it...that's the hard part!

Jamie said...

Ok, I guess I have some typos, I meant NOW to learn to like it!

And I meant being given the gift of children.


Ginny said...

I struggle with my stomach too. I am pregnant with number four, and haven't had to have any c-sections, but I still look perpetually pregnant. My skin just hasn't ever bounced back and it never will. Ironically, the more weight I lose after a pregnancy, the worse my stomach looks. I struggle with thoughts of tummy tucks, my mom has had TWO now! However, I don't think I could ever go through with it.

Sarah Reinhard said...

Cathy, this is beautiful. Thanks for the reminder about the bigger picture...about just what our bodies are here for and what a blessing that is. :)

Anonymous said...

wow, great story, you don't need cosmetic surgery, wear that tummy with pride!

Me said...

Having a tummy tuck does not mean a person is vain or cares what society deems is an "appropriate" look. I just had a mini tummy tuck, and I could not be happier. I have always been thin; 5'5" and right around 115 lbs. Now for MY reason to have the surgery. My waist was and has always been (even before pregnancy) a size larger than my tush. I was always uncomfortable in my clothing, if I could find bottoms to fit without digging into my stomach or gapping in the rear. I guess my point here is that not everyone who elects to have the extra skin removed from his/her stomach does it for vanity reasons. I will admit that my stomach looks great. More importantly, my husband and I went out to dinner the other night. I went into our closet, selected a skirt, and was overjoyed from the comfortable fit. More importantly than looking "nice", I did not have the annoying pain of a digging waistband all evening. I would hope that anyone who decides surgery is not something for them also does not assume that the reason is vanity for someone who does.

cosmetic surg said...

A cosmetic surgery could give physical and psychological benefits. When you look great , naturally you would feel great. Self esteem and confidence can be boost by a surgery with good result.