So you’ve decided to restore your figure with a mommy makeover. Congratulations on making this important decision for yourself! Once you have worked with your plastic surgeon to plan the procedure, it’s time for another kind of preparation: talking to your family. Today, we’re offering some advice to help you as you prepare your whole family for the surgery and recovery.
1. Handle errands ahead of time
You will need to rest and recover for 2-3 weeks after a tummy tuck procedure, which is key to reshaping the postpartum abdomen. You will also not be able to safely drive for a few days after surgery when you are taking prescription pain medications, and will additionally want to avoid having a seatbelt strain your healing abdominal and/or breast surgery incisions. For these reasons, you can expect to be housebound for some time.
To prepare for this, be sure to check on your stock of essentials and pick up any you’ll need, including basic household supplies and your prescriptions. You may also want to go ahead and take care of any tasks that may come up in the next few weeks, like taking the dog for grooming—or getting a mani/pedi for yourself! Consider anything else you can handle ahead that will allow you to recover with fewer pressures and less worry.
2. Ask for help and make a plan
Make sure your recovery plan takes into account all of the help you will need in the weeks after surgery. While we encourage you to begin moving around gently the day following surgery, you won’t be back to doing housework for about 2 weeks, and you can’t return to your full gym routine for 6 weeks. Here is a breakdown of the help you’ll need during this time:
- You will need an adult to drive you home and stay with you for the first 24 hours after surgery.
- In the first few days after surgery, you will need help from a partner, friend, and/or family members for basic, everyday tasks like making dinner. If you are the cook in your family, consider a meal delivery service or stocking the freezer with your family’s favorites.
- For 2 weeks, you’ll need help with driving, carpool, and errands.
- For 4-6 weeks, you will need to ask for help with anything that involves lifting or bending over, which could include lifting children, carrying grocery bags, doing the laundry, diaper changing, or walking the dog.
Note that planning for help with childcare looks different for each family, and will be based on your recovery timeline, whether or not school is in session, and your children’s ages (you may just need someone to be there to help with bigger kids’ homework).
3. Talk to your children
As a parent, you instinctively want to protect your children. You may feel like you can’t let them know that you will be in pain, or “sick.” But setting them up to understand what to expect from the recovery process is the best way to protect them from miscommunications or misunderstandings, and it doesn’t have to be a difficult conversation: you can be honest with them while also staying positive.
Explain your surgery & its effects in a positive way
Many of our patients tell their kids that they are undergoing an operation at the doctor’s office. If your children ask why, you may choose to tell them that the doctor recommended this surgery. Stay positive, and give them any details that are appropriate for their age group: some parents tell their children that their body underwent some changes during pregnancy, and this procedure will return their body back to how it was. You may choose to tell them about some of the emotional improvements and medical benefits you expect to gain from surgery, such as a boost in confidence, more comfort, a stronger abdomen, and/or reduced back pain.
Even small children pick up on changes, and if they don’t understand why something is different, they may believe they did something wrong. This is why it is helpful to give children clear expectations for the recovery period. Explain to them that you have to be gentle on your body for a few weeks after surgery, but emphasize that you will be safe under the care of family, friends, and your surgeon, so there is nothing to worry about. Make sure they know who will be making them dinner, taking them to activities, or helping with their homework, reassuring them that their routine will not be completely disrupted.
Plan gentle “quality time” with your children
Be specific with kids, also, about what you can and can’t do in the weeks after surgery. You won’t be able to play or lift your kids (and they cannot jump on you), but you can enjoy some quiet activities together. At first, you may choose to watch a television show together or listen to an age-appropriate audiobook. After you are more mobile, you can join children for coloring, puzzles, or tabletop games.
4. Set up your recovery space
It is critical not to cut corners on your stress-free, healthy recovery! Your recovery zone should have everything you need where you can reach it without bending over, including medications, water, plenty of extra pillows, your phone charger, reading materials, and entertainment options (it’s a great opportunity for binge-watching shows you’ve missed). Make sure that everything is ready for you when you arrive home on your surgery day.
It’s also a good idea to practice sleeping in the position that will be required in the weeks following surgery—check with your doctor, but it is likely that you will need to sleep on your back, supported with pillows. Practicing ahead of time can ensure you have everything positioned to get a good night’s sleep, which will be vital to your healing process.
Schedule your Eugene mommy makeover consultation today
Eugene board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Kiya Movassaghi offers a full range of procedures to help you restore your figure after pregnancy and breastfeeding. Our practice also offers fillers and BOTOX®, laser technology, advanced medical-grade skin care, and non-surgical spa treatments at Ziba Medical Spa. To learn more or schedule a consultation, we invite you to give us a call at 541.686.8700 or contact us online today.