Many women on RealSelf love their kids, just not the toll pregnancy takes on their bodies. In fact, reviews on our site include an all-too-common sentiment: “It’s time I do something for me.”

Reclaiming a post-pregnancy bod often includes a tummy tuck, breast lift and/or augmentation, and liposuction — or a combination of those procedures called a mommy makeover. Restoring a body after children is one of the most popular topics on our site.

Below, we talked with one woman who decided at 47 to make the leap and get a tummy tuck. And her results did not disappoint.

How did you find RealSelf?

I was googling abdominoplasty and it came up. I’d never seen anything like it. I was hooked! It was so helpful to understand and follow other people’s journeys and see their pictures. Every single one is so personal. It made me so much more educated on the process and the doctors who do it.

You interviewed five surgeons. What made you decide to go with Dr. Jeremy Pyle?

Once I identified people locally, I went and interviewed them and had consults, and of course, read more about them. I love that you can get data on patients and experiences, and you don’t have to go through a doctor to get it. Obviously, if you go through a doctor for a [patient] reference, they’re not going to send me to someone who had a bad experience. I wanted to expand my search into the whole state. 

What made you decide to chronicle your story?

Reading other people’s stories was so helpful for me. I do medical research for a living, and there’s so much missed information that I wanted everyone to know. I wanted to share an experience from an educated person, someone who works close to the field, to help set realistic expectations.

I was lucky I had a positive experience. But I didn’t want to see people just jump into it. I want to see them take it seriously.

What was the best part of sharing?

When you’re going through it, it’s nice to not feel like you’re going it alone. I didn’t share it in “real life,” so it was nice to share with people who are going through it at the same time, to give and get the support.

 

Related: How to talk about plastic surgery

 

What was the scariest?

Putting out those pictures that show how gross you are and praying to God there is never any hacking that would reveal that’s my body. The confidentiality part is the scariest part for me. None of those people know who I am, and I don’t mind sharing, but it’s embarrassing to put up a picture of gross, hanging skin.

What were some of the main surprises you experienced pre-op, during surgery, and post-op?

I’m a data person, but at some point you have all the info you need, maybe way more than you need, and you have to take this “leap of faith” and hope it turns out OK. You can do everything right, and there can still be a complication. I definitely felt as prepared as I could have been.

What has been the best part of your recovery process?

[Laughs] Did you see the pictures? The best part is having the self-confidence. I don’t look like a model, but that isn’t my goal. I didn’t want to feel disgusting and embarrassed. I wanted to have the confidence to wear a swimsuit and not look deformed, and just feel better about that part of my body. I got a really good result. I had a small waist to begin with, and you can see that again.

How do you feel about your surgery today?

I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat. Knowing what I know now, I wish I’d done it sooner. No regrets.

Have questions about a procedure? Ask a doctor