It’s normal to feel worried about seeing others after explant, especially if few people in your life know you have breast implants. You wonder if the change in your appearance will be so obvious, they’ll ask what happened or whisper behind your back. You might dress certain ways before and after surgery, in hopes of making it less obvious.
This kind of social discomfort frequently plays out among the growing number of women around the world choosing to remove and not replace (explant) their aging or problematic breast implants.
The beholding of breasts leads you to feel worried about seeing others after explant.
Let’s just be real about this: breasts are possibly the most highly sexualized part of the human body. Somehow, we all learn that their size and shape “matter.” They matter so much, in fact, that we all take inventory of this part of each’s others’ bodies all the time.
To test that statement, picture in your mind any woman you personally know. You probably know how well-endowed she is, but have no idea what her elbows look like. That’s because…we notice each other’s breasts. Period.
Understandably then, you may feel awkward randomly showing up one day with this socially important landmark suddenly changed. (I did!) It can be especially awkward interacting with people in your life with whom your breasts aren’t a topic of discussion, but you’re confident they will notice (e.g., co-workers, boss, in-laws, extended family, partners of your close friends, neighbors, clients, etc.)
Take a break from self-judgment.
While this may not be a challenge for every woman, it can be uncomfortable to others. Each of us comes into this with our unique history, sensitivities, strengths, and heartache.
Whether or not you want or agree with your feelings, they alert you that something inside you needs your attention. If you get caught up judging your feelings, or judging yourself for having them, you’re NOT taking care of yourself. Doing that to yourself is like ignoring a scared pet or child during a thunderstorm simply because you disagree with their fear.
If you feel uncomfortable seeing others after explant, rather than judging yourself as being “vain, shallow, or weak” (or thinking your discomfort means you made a mistake), try taking care of yourself on the inside.
To take care of yourself when you’re worried about seeing others after explant:
- Acknowledge what’s going on inside you. You can’t take care of something that you don’t acknowledge. So be real with yourself when apprehension or discomfort shows up.
- Put a name to what you feel. Inwardly label feelings of shame, embarrassment, worry, awkwardness, annoyance, regret, dread. Naming your feelings helps you hold them, like a container, rather than letting them flood you.
- Look at the bigger picture. Notice that in addition to your feelings of discomfort, there are other things that matter to you, even in that moment. Remind yourself why you chose to remove your breast implants.
- Genuinely validate that it’s normal to feel uncomfortable while adjusting to and revealing your post-explant silhouette in a breast-obsessed society.
- And finally, remind yourself about the kind of woman you most want to be in these moments. Is she kind to herself? Brave? Self-respectful? Whatever she is, take steps toward behaving like her.