The American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery reports that 53% of women and 49% of men approve of cosmetic surgery and would make no effort to conceal it if they chose to undergo a procedure. It also indicates that majority of men and women who invest in this surgery fall between the ages of 31 and 45. As these are typically child raising years, most of these people will have children. Often, for women, the surgery in question is sought to undo the inevitable, ravages of childbearing and breastfeeding. The question of whether to tell your child about the surgery, and what to say if you choose to, is a difficult one.
No one knows your children better than you do, and you are the one who has the right to make the decision, without judgment. Before you decide, however, consider some points. First, there may be some bruising and swelling. Second, your movements may temporarily be limited; you may not be able to pick up your child, or you may need some help with everyday activities. Third, consider the fact that children are often more astute than parents give them credit for. You may consider changes to be subtle, but a child may easily pick up on the before and after differences. How will you explain these things to a child who does not know what is happening?
If you choose to speak to your child, talk to them before it occurs. A lot of your explanation will depend on how old your child is and how extensive his, or her, understanding is. As this surgery has been given a lot of attention by media recently, they may surprise you with the depth of their knowledge. Make sure your child understands the facts you feel are necessary. This could encompass what will be done, what will be different, and what restrictions you may have after the surgery. If they know what to expect, it will be easier when the time comes.
Your decision may not be easy for your child to understand. It is important to stress that you are in good health and that there is nothing wrong. Let them know that it is a decision you have made for your own personal satisfaction. Allow them to voice their opinion, but stress that this is your choice, and be willing to discuss it with them.
Stress that a person’s beauty comes in many forms, including through actions, and from the inside. Furthermore, let them know that they are perfect as they are, help them understand that, in most cases, you are not trying to change, but restore yourself to what you once were. If they express an interest in plastic surgery, explain that their bodies are still in the process of “becoming,” that they really do not even know what will be. A little simple communication before surgery of this type can usually help you find an unexpected, but faithful, ally.
About the author: Laurie Terrill is a mother of 2 and works as an assistant to one of the top Louisville plastic surgeons and is an advocate of safe reconstructive plastic surgery.