Why I Took My Perfectly Healthy Implants Out
Our lives are filled with decisions. Some decisions are insignificant, but every once in a while we make a decision that creates a landmark in our journey of discovering what is core to us. This is a story about one of those decisions.
I got my implants on the friday before 4th of July in 2008. It was an exciting time for me. My boyfriend was on a deployment in the navy and we had planned for me to go visit him in Japan after I went on a weekend girls trip to Palm Springs. I was excited to go to a new land, that was, leave the Land of Flat Chested Girls to go to the Land of Normal Looking Girls.
I had long been insecure about the debt in my bra, and I finally caved to the idea of plastic surgery when a co worker had gotten them done a few months earlier.
This story is about why I took them out, so I will blur past the surgery, the trip to Japan and the first couple years I had them. I will write about that in another post sometime.
I was thrilled that going bra and bathing suit shopping was no longer a literal “you don’t measure up” experience. I felt that my implants hid my “abnormality” of having small breasts.After my husband and I got married in 2010, I went back to school to become a Holistic Health Practitioner/Massage Therapist. As we practiced different types of massage, I became a little annoyed and resentful that I couldn’t relax completely when I was face down on the table. One example was during Table Thai class. Traditional Thai is a type of bodywork that involves the practitioner working on the clothed client while they are lying on a mat on the ground. Sometimes the practitioner uses her bodyweight to do certain moves. Table Thai is essentially TT but on a table, and let me tell you, it is pretty amazing. But there were certain moves that I could feel my body resisting because I knew the fully pressure of somebody on my upper back would make me feel like my implants were going to pop out. I couldn’t quite get to that ahhh state because I was self protecting.
I felt annoyed that I was missing out, simply because of my implants. My resentment began to grow.
Thankfully, I never had any medical problems, and they looked great. But I began to resent the fact that it was me who was paying the price because of some sexist belief that my body wasn’t up to par. when I couldn’t wear normal t-shirts without bringing attention to my body, when I couldn’t do pull ups or push ups the way I used to (doctors don't tell you that they cut the lower part of your pectoral muscle, and it is forever damaged), when I realized I would have to pay to replace them, when I realized that I may have to choose between something valuable (say like my child’s education or a sport etc) and replacing an implant due to age or potential damage.
Another thing that really bothered me from the beginning was when people would compliment me on my body. I am no super model, but I am average height and athletic build, and apparently my perfectly shaped additions were like a cherry on top. Aside from the awkwardness of somebody talking about your body, it felt awkward to accept the compliment when they weren’t really “mine”. I felt like a fake, a poser, or like I was lying when I sheepishly said “thanks…”.
and especially the fact that I was perpetuating the belief that bodies need to look a certain way to be sexy, or even acceptable.
But the biggest thing that bothered me was the message that would be sending to not only my own children, but to the young girls around me. I imagined my daughters coming to me when they were in middle or high school, full of their own insecurities, and trying to explain to them that they were beautiful because of who they were not the way they looked, but being a total hypocrite myself. What message would it send to them that I had spent (and would spend) thousands of dollars and time on a cosmetic procedure that reinforced the idea that they were not indeed okay.
So I began to make a plan. I began to research the surgery, which I found was called “explant” surgery. I found a website called RealSelf where I could look at pictures, find doctors, and talk to people who had actually done it. I will write in more detail in another post on the surgery. But the surgery itself was a destination that had plenty of practical and emotional obstacles to get over. Many doctors I visited to get them taken out looked at me with pity, saying I would be extremely unhappy, and so would my husband. It was completely dehumanizing.
Here I am 4 years after my explant surgery and I am so happy I did it. My life is not without the body image struggles that I had before surgery; I still have some pain deep down that God is helping me work out so I can be free from shame and fear of vulnerability. But I write theses stories because I want to share my pain, struggles and victory over the things that most of us struggle with, but cannot find the space to talk about.
I hope this story has inspired you, and perhaps encouraged you to take any scary step to anything that has been intimidating you. If you loved this story, please share it with friends.