“My Mom’s Getting a Boob Job. What do I say?”
It’s not just celebrities & swimsuit models getting breast implants: a whopping 305,000+ American women had breast augmentation in 2015 alone. With numbers like that, it’s not unlikely that you’ll eventually run into a friend, family member, or date who’s decided to boost their bust.
Even if you’ve never had a problem with the idea of cosmetic surgery in general, you may feel differently about it when it’s your mom (or wife, daughter, etc.) having the procedure. You may hear “breast implants” and envision your loved one coming home looking like Pamela Anderson and panic a little on the inside. But don’t worry—the vast majority of patients have very natural looking breasts after augmentation, once they are completely healed. In fact, most results are so natural looking that you probably already know a number of women with breast implants and just don’t realize they were augmented.
Remember that your loved one is having cosmetic surgery for herself. It’s not about you. Offer your support, and keep the conversation on her terms.
So what do you say or do when a loved one tells you they are taking the plunge and getting implants? You may be thrilled for them, or you may have questions or concerns over your loved one’s safety, but either way it can be awkward to talk about it. Here’s our advice on how to talk about cosmetic surgery.
Listen and offer support, not judgment.
Especially if the patient is a family member, it may be difficult to separate your own feelings and insecurities from the situation. It’s not unusual for spouses, partners and friends to worry that their loved one will “change” in a way that harms the relationship. But in our experience, what usually happens is the opposite. Yes, their cup size may be different, but the more important change for our Reading breast augmentation patients is their increased self-confidence—which usually enhances personal relationships.
Remember that your loved one is making a personal choice to have cosmetic surgery because she feels it’s the right thing to do for herself. She’s trusting you to be there for her. Set aside your own feelings and instead focus on making sure your loved one has what she needs to feel supported in her process.
Take time to read up on the procedure yourself to learn the facts about safety & outcomes.
When cosmetic surgery makes the news, what we usually hear about are the extremely rare cases of “cat face lady” patients or botched liposuction performed by phony doctors, not the millions of patients each year who enjoy safe procedures and love their natural-looking results.
While all surgery carries some risk, cosmetic procedures performed on healthy patients by experienced, board certified plastic surgeons have very low rates for serious complications. Rather than jumping to conclusions, learn the facts about plastic surgery safety; you’ll likely feel far less worried.
If it’s your (adult) child having surgery, it’ll be impossible for parental mode not to take over. You can check into her safety in a productive way by asking about facility credentials and making sure her surgeon is board certified in plastic surgery.
Resist the urge to react by asking “why?”
First, it’s really not your business. If a patient wants to elaborate on her reasons, she will without your asking. However, she has no obligation to justify anything to you or anybody else. Instead of asking “why,” a reply of “wow, that’s a big decision—tell me more!” implies support without judgment.
Post-procedure, keep your curiosity in check.
If there ever was a cardinal rule of breast augmentation etiquette, it’s this: never assume it’s okay to touch without permission. While many women are so thrilled with their results that they’re happy to tell you more and show them off, that’s not always the case—and choosing any cosmetic surgery is not an invitation for staring, unwelcome touches, or cutting comments.
Naturally, your curiosity may be peaked, and you may want to ask other questions, such as what the surgery was like, did it hurt, etc.? Depending on your relationship with the patient, they might love to tell you more about their experience, but if the person doesn’t want to share, respect her wishes.
Finally, remember that it’s not your news to share.
While some patients are very open about about having plastic surgery, many others prefer to keep it quiet and may share it on a need-to-know basis. While you may not intentionally spill the beans, you may find yourself fielding questions from others in your social circle.
If another person asks you, “Did so-and-so get a boob job?” The best answer is something along the lines of, “that’s a pretty personal thing to talk about, but I suppose you could ask her.” Typically, this will shut them down (and they’re probably too shy to ask directly). A win-win.
What if you find out about your loved one’s plastic surgery after the fact?
You may feel hurt that she didn’t want to include you in her decision. But try to see it from her point of view. Perhaps she didn’t want you to worry. It’s also possible that she simply wanted to keep it a secret beforehand and see what she felt like afterward. Again, it comes down to the fact that this is an entirely personal decision between patient and plastic surgeon. The best thing to do is to remind the patient that you love her and that she should feel welcome to come to you for support with big decisions in her life.
We hope our advice has been helpful! If you have more questions about the ins and outs of cosmetic surgery, give us a call! Our board certified plastic surgeons will be glad to answer your questions about what to expect with breast augmentation or any other procedure at a free consultation.