Ann's Journey - Part I

I’ll be happy when the weather is warmer. I’ll be happy when I own a house. I’ll be happy when I reach my goal weight. I’ll be happy when I meet The One. I’ll be happy when I get a raise. I’ll be happy when I retire.

How many times have you told yourself “I’ll be happy when…”? We’re taught that patience is a virtue and that good things come to those who wait, but what happens when we put our happiness on hold? Why do we put off doing what we know will make us happier, healthier, more confident and more satisfied with our lives?

Ann was tired of waiting. After years of putting up with results she didn’t love from a breast augmentation surgery, she came to Edina Plastic Surgery seeking a change. She received a breast implant exchange and a breast lift that she says made her more comfortable, physically and mentally, and finally gave her the “cute boobs” she always wanted.

Just Skin

“A-” is how Ann jokingly describes her former bra cup size. She was a competitive gymnast when she was younger, then a gymnastics coach, and like many female athletes, her physically-demanding lifestyle left her with little natural breast tissue.

“I never, ever, ever had any chest at all,” she says. “I just had skin. Especially after having three kids and breastfeeding all of them for over a year each — then I really didn’t have anything. I couldn’t even fill an A cup bra. I didn’t feel like a lady.”

Breast augmentation intrigued her from a young age. She knew it could give her the feminine shape she longed for, and she was open to the idea of plastic surgery, but years passed before she considered it seriously.

“Pretty much my whole life, I thought having breasts would be so fun, but surgery never really entered my mind until my 30s. I always threatened, ‘When I get rich and famous, I’m going to get my boobs done!’ And now you don’t even have to be rich or famous — you just get ‘em done!”

The revelation that brought surgery to the forefront of Ann’s mind is one many mothers will find familiar: “I should do something for myself instead of just for my family for once.” For Ann and countless other women, motherhood was an all-consuming job that forced her own needs into the back seat.

“It’s funny,” she muses, “people who aren’t moms are like, ‘What do you mean? Why wouldn’t you just do it?’ You just forget about yourself, you know? There’s other priorities.”

Hi, Boobs

Ann was in her 40s when she decided the timing was finally right. She booked her breast augmentation surgery with an easy-going attitude and a few simple goals: “I just want to look like a lady. I don’t need to be a porn star. And I want to be able to find a bra that fits.”

She started having misgivings as her recovery progressed. Her breasts were significantly larger than she anticipated, and though she told herself that it could just be postoperative swelling or the shock of going from flat-chested to full, the doubts refused to go away.

“I came out with ginormous boobs. They were way too big for my body. I started feeling insecure about being in a swimsuit because it was like ‘Hi, boobs!’ instead of ‘Hi, Ann!’ I tried to get used to them, but I felt too broad and they got so heavy. It was just a lot.”

The heaviness became so bad that it turned into chronic discomfort. Ann’s breasts felt like they were sitting on top of her stomach, and she started getting frequent stomach aches. She began to consider another surgery when she learned that she was not alone.

“I have a home business doing eyelash extensions. One of my clients is a chiropractor, and she mentioned that she’s done referrals for breast lifts for people who have stomach problems because of saggy boobs sitting on their stomach. I guess it’s common. I thought it was just me.”

Fine And Ready

Two years after her breast augmentation, Ann returned to her plastic surgeon. She still thought her breasts were too large for her frame, and on top of the stomach aches, she also felt that her implants were moving around in a concerning way.

Her surgeon painted a different picture. “He was very convincing that they were nice,” she says. He suggested a breast lift to address the heavy, sagging feeling, but Ann’s previous surgery was too recent, and she felt she couldn’t spend money on another procedure at that time. She left with no plans for surgery and a fresh perspective on the consultation she’d had two years prior.

In retrospect, she chalks her dissatisfying experience up to a lack of communication with the surgeon and her own lack of preparation leading up to the appointment.

“He was a super nice guy, but I think his vision and my vision were different. We just had two different ideas of what cute boobs are. I should have been more prepared when I went in. I shouldn’t have just said ‘Make me feel like a lady.’ I was clueless.”

Another six or seven years passed before Ann considered surgery again. She never grew accustomed to the size or weight of her breasts, and was uncomfortable with the “little comments here and there” she received from others. “Not that I really care what people say,” she adds. “It’s more about what I felt. I felt like they were ugly and saggy like an old lady.”

After a lifetime of being unhappy with her breasts — first because they were too small, then because they were too large — Ann was ready to do what she needed to do to feel comfortable in her skin. Surgery was back on the table.

“I was not intimidated or nervous at all. I was perfectly fine and ready,” she says. “Why wait another day to be happy?”

Read Part Two

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