Does plastic surgery bring happiness?

I have officially three and a half weeks left of pregnancy No. 2, and as the time draws nearer and the stretch marks get clearer, I’ve often found myself thinking, “Would I ever change something about my body?”

There are many women who have had plastic surgery following multiple births. There’s even something called a “mommy makeover” that basically nips, tucks, perks and plumps things to appear as they once were. There’s a billboard on the side of the freeway with a picture of two lemons, two cantaloupes and two watermelons sitting side by side as if to say, “Which ‘fruit’ would you like to have?”

Are we getting too vain about appearance? Or is it perfectly normal to want to look like we did before we had kids?

I go back and forth on this issue. Most of the time I look at my body and the changes it’s gone through and think, “I just grew a baby!” The wonder and miracle of it all enchants me and I think how lucky I am that my body is able to do something so amazing as to sustain another life besides my own — inside my own. At those times I don’t care about a single dimple or mark. I don’t care that I’ve become much softer and a little heavier. I think about the divine gift I’ve been given and I how I can’t wait to one day do it all over again. I actually feel more beautiful and womanly because of my pregnancies.

And then I read comments like this one by Jessica Alba, who recently did a shoot for British GQ magazine: “My breasts are saggy, I’ve got cellulite, my hips are bigger … every actress out there is more beautiful than me.”

This definitely makes us moms feel like we are somehow ugly or worn out or second-rate now that our bodies have gone through such major changes.

Which brings me to my moment of weakness when I see beautiful 30 and 40-something-year-old women who are quite possibly even better looking now than ever, thanks in part to their surgeons. They seem vibrant and vivacious. They don’t even look like they’ve had “work” done. And they seem genuinely happy because they’re confident with the way they look.

But is plastic surgery a necessity for happiness? And is it vain and somehow ungrateful to want your body back?

Some women I’ve talked to are against getting any kind of plastic surgery or artificial enhancement. And there are actresses, such as Julia Roberts, who are refusing any kind of “help” as well.

“Your face tells a story, and it shouldn’t be a story about your drive to the doctor’s office,” says Roberts. “It’s unfortunate that we live in such a panicked, dysmorphic society where women don’t even give themselves a chance to see what they’ll look like as older persons. I want to have some idea of what I’ll look like before I start cleaning the slates.”

“Good Morning America” recently reported that stars such as Dana Delany, Lisa Rinna and Kim Kardashian are also voicing their regrets about plastic surgery. “GMA” stated that: “According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, last year cosmetic surgical procedures in the United States decreased 9 percent from 2008.”

But there are still others who see nothing wrong with enhancing their bodies, such as Kate Hudson who reportedly underwent a breast enhancement to plump up her chest back in April.

What do you think about plastic surgery in general? Does our society put too much pressure on women to look like a Barbie doll after baby? What makes you feel confident and comfortable about your body?

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