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As a mom, you may be considering—or scheduling—plastic surgery for any number of reasons. Perhaps your baby feeding machines (otherwise known as boobs) are starting to sag and droop, or maybe you’re looking into liposuction to shed a few stubborn pounds still clinging from the last baby or three. Or, like many moms, you might be considering a total “Mommy Makeover.”

Whatever your particular case, the dilemma remains: How do you explain it to your kids?

First, accept that you’re not doing something “wrong”

A lot of moms feel that getting plastic surgery is somehow selfish, and that explaining what they’re doing to their children will promote the idea that your body—and theirs, by extension—just isn’t good enough the way it is. It’s important for you to understand and accept that this is something you’re doing for yourself, so you can feel healthy and attractive.

There’s a difference between plastic surgery that gives you confidence in ways you wouldn’t be able to achieve on your own, and procedures that try to make you into someone else. You deserve to look and feel great, and if plastic surgery is the right answer, try not to feel guilty about it. Your kids will sense your guilt.

Choose an age-appropriate way to discuss

You probably aren’t going to get into technical details of a tummy tuck with your 2-year-old. But if you have older kids, they might want to know more. Choose the level of detail your child will be comfortable with, and tell them enough so they understand what’s going to happen, but not so much that you scare them.

Talk about your recovery

Kids can get anxious or scared when their parents are hurt, and you’re likely to be bruised, bandaged, and tender after your procedure. Regardless of your child’s age, make sure to explain that Mommy won’t be looking or feeling too great for a while after the surgery. Reassure them that after your recovery period, you’ll feel better than ever. Also, leave them an open invitation to ask you questions, and let them know it’s okay to be sad or worried.

Special issues for mothers with daughters

If you have daughters who are old enough to understand the concept of plastic surgery, it’s important to discuss the issue as a whole with them. Let them know that you’re not trying to change the way you look forever — you’re only restoring your looks to what they already were. You don’t want your girls to feel as though plastic surgery is necessary to look good. Explain that they need the opportunity to grow into their bodies before they make major, unalterable decisions about changing them.

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