A Pinay Reveals What It’s Like To Get A Breast Augmentation

'I knew I was willing to go through treatments or procedures to look better.'
PHOTO: istockphoto

With Breast Cancer Awareness Month prompting us to look chestward, it’s only natural that we take this chance to evaluate our bond with our breasts. While you may not spare a second thought for your twins, for some women, their breasts can be a source of daily inconvenience, constant discomfort, or low self-esteem.

We recently talked to a Pinay who got breast reduction surgery to pare down the DD breasts that had burdened her all her life. This time, we talk to a Pinay who signed up for a breast augmentation to look good—and by doing so, win the self-image battles she had waged since she was a child.

“Having a breast augmentation was one of the life-changing decisions I’ve made that I was so sure about,” says Renee*, a 25-year-old flight attendant. “It may sound petty to others, but it was a huge deal for me.”

Read about Renee’s breast augmentation journey below.

Tell us how you felt about your breasts prior to your breast augmentation surgery.

I honestly felt my breasts were too small for my body type. I know claiming that I’m “big-boned” sounds like just another way of saying I’m fat, but let’s just say I definitely don’t have the average built that you would expect from an Asian girl.

Growing up, I had a big-built body, and on top of that, I was chubby. Unfortunately for me, my excess fats went to my arms, legs, stomach—everywhere but my breasts.

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Remembering all that I had been through as a bullied kid, I knew I was willing to go through treatments or procedures to look better. To me boobs were just secondary; primarily, I simply aspired to look better whenever I could.

I had a bad childhood because I was bullied for what I looked like. When I was a child, I was fat and ugly. My classmates never failed to come up with names to make me feel bad about myself. As I transitioned into my adolescent years, I shed some of my baby fat. I was hopeful for a while that I would look normal like the other girls in class, but no—pimples started coming out. It was so bad that the pimples occupied my entire face. The bullying got worse.

Thankfully, I lost weight and my skin cleared before I graduated from high school. However, all these painful experiences had left a mark on me. Having gone through all of these ordeals, I resolved to accomplish one thing: I wanted to look good.

Remembering all that I had been through as a bullied kid, I knew I was willing to go through treatments or procedures to look better. To me boobs were just secondary; primarily, I simply aspired to look better whenever I could.

When and why did you decide to get the procedure?

I always wanted to have my breasts done since I graduated from college. I even asked my mom to give it to me as a graduation gift. Of course, it didn’t push through; my mom raised me to work hard for everything that I aspire for in life, and this one was not an exception.

My first job as a flight attendant for a low-cost airline in the Philippines didn’t provide me with enough funds to save up for the operation. Thankfully, I moved to another airline based in the Middle East, and after more than a year of flying, I saved up enough money for the procedure, then just borrowed some from my mom.

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I decided to do it during my annual vacation in May 2017; it was a month-long vacation so I had ample time for the operation and recovery.

How did the people in your life react when you told them you were getting a breast augmentation?

My family and friends weren’t surprised. They always knew I wanted to have them done. In fact, they were so happy and excited for me. None of them even attempted to discourage me from having the operation.

A typical and memorable reaction that I got from friends and coworkers was them commending me for my bravery. To them, it seemed like a really serious operation.

Tell us how you prepared for the procedure.

Whenever I’m hooked on something, I launch my own intensive research, and by intensive, I mean every night before I go to sleep I would go online. I delved into the frequently asked questions that bothered me: Could I still breastfeed after this? Would I still feel sensation in that area? Is an implant safe for me, knowing the nature of my job as a flight attendant? I looked up even absurd inquiries such as whether or not my implants could withstand the pressure of flying. How long would the recovery be? Would I be bedridden for the rest of my annual vacation? Would I still be able to help passengers with their bags? What’s the after-care? Could I have sex right away?

I also read a lot of posts online—from cosmetic clinics, from surgeons, from patients. I watched videos on YouTube explaining the after-care.

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People may say it’s fake, but a boob job doesn’t have to look so unnatural.

Since I work abroad, I had no direct contact with my cosmetic surgeon. I would bombard my mom with questions to ask my doctor. I also went through his work, focusing particularly on the before-and-after photos of his clients who had an augmentation.

Breast implants are not measured in cup sizes; your new cup size will depend on the prior size of your breasts and the size of your implants measured in cubic centimeters. Prior to the operation, my doctor made me choose between 280 cc and 300 cc implants; he had evaluated my body size and decided that 280 cc was enough for me. Of course my excitement got the best of me, and I insisted on a bigger size. He settled with 300 cc or 330 cc and assured me that he would prepare those two sizes by the operating table. When my procedure came, he ended up choosing the size most suitable for my body: the 300 cc. I’m actually happy he went with that because I realized he wanted to achieve a natural look. People may say it’s fake, but a boob job doesn’t have to look so unnatural.

How much did the entire procedure cost?

My mom knew the cosmetic surgeon we worked with. We were able to negotiate the rate with him and he gave us a good price. The entire procedure cost P160,000. For sure there are cheaper ones offered at other clinics, but it was a reasonable rate because his team took good care of me.

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Not all breast augmentation procedures require hospital admission; normally, most patients could leave the clinic or hospital a few hours after the procedure, but what I paid for included a stay in the hospital for one night.

How did the actual procedure go?

I went to the doctor’s clinic early in the morning because I had to go through some laboratory examinations before I could undergo the actual operation. There was a hospital beside his clinic, and that’s where we did the lab exams and the operation itself.

I couldn’t feel anything at first, and then I felt it all at once. I felt an immense pain throughout my upper body; I started crying as they moved me from the table to my room. The pain was unbearable, but I desperately tried to endure it.

They took my blood pressure, ECG, and blood test. Afterwards, I was dressed in a hospital gown and the anesthesiologist came in to explain to me in detail what he was going to do and what was about to happen. Then he put me to sleep. I couldn’t remember what happened next; the last thing I could recall was lying down on the operating table.

I woke up to the sound of my doctor’s voice informing me that it was done. I couldn’t feel anything at first, and then I felt it all at once. I felt an immense pain throughout my upper body; I started crying as they moved me from the table to my room. The pain was unbearable, but I desperately tried to endure it. I couldn’t move on my own that night; if it weren’t for my mom who was there with me the entire time, I would have struggled.

I had painkillers every four hours. The nurses and other staff were very attentive to my needs; they checked on me from time to time.

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Take us through your recovery.

I left the hospital the day after the operation. Before I left, they cleaned the stitches beneath my breasts. They were surprised when they saw that I could move around without difficulty a day after the operation. They told me that most patients can hardly move that soon, but I was able to easily bend over to put on my shoes.

I could still feel the pain in my upper body, but I managed to do my daily activities with minimal effort. My doctor prohibited me from doing certain activities such as swimming because I needed to avoid infecting the wound. He also told me to avoid carrying heavy objects.

I was told that recovery was six to eight weeks, and that full recovery could take up to six months because the swelling would take time to subside.

How did you feel about the prospect of people seeing that you had your breasts done?

I was not self-conscious at all. If anything, I was confident and proud. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t really care that much what most people think. The only opinions that matter to me are those of my family and friends.

After the boob job, people could definitely notice on plain sight and in my photos that I had something done. Within a week since the operation, I had gone on a beach trip with friends, where I had taken photos—although I couldn’t swim due to my operation. It was noticeable how big my boobs were since my cleavage was exposed plus my breasts were swelling. They looked so round, I can tell you they did not look natural!

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How did people actually react once they saw your new breasts?

They were genuinely happy for me. They all knew I wanted this; like a broken record I would go on and on about saving enough money from work to get my boobs done. Now that I finally made it happen, most of them couldn’t help but blurt out, “Finally! I’m so happy for you.”

My coworkers teased me about how hot I looked with my new breasts. Since I did it during my vacation, most of my close friends in the airlines only saw my photos online. They were dying to see how I looked like for real.

I bet people had their own opinions—and I respect that—but none of them ever really told me that they were against cosmetic enhancements or that natural is better.

I also got casual comments like, “I haven’t met anyone who had a boob job before.”

And of course, the endless poking at my breast. Everyone was curious about how it felt to get your hands on fake tits. It’s been over a year since the procedure, and until now my friends are still poking at them.

Whenever I would casually mention that I had them done, I would explain it in a matter-of-fact tone like it’s nothing. I bet people had their own opinions—and I respect that—but none of them ever really told me that they were against cosmetic enhancements or that natural is better.

How do you feel about your breasts now?

I feel very happy and content with how my breasts look. I love looking at myself in the mirror and feeling giddy with satisfaction. More than getting my boobs done, I gained that feeling of empowerment at being the boss of my own body and acknowledging that I have a choice in how to manage myself.

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I know some people will say nothing beats natural or that we shouldn’t be messing with what God has given us, but one of my mantras in life is “you do you.”

What can you say to other young Filipinas who are thinking of getting the procedure?

If you’ve learned to love your body just the way it is, then good for you; if there’s an inkling inside of you that getting something done will fulfill the ideal body you’ve always dreamed of, then do it.

I consider what my husband or mom would say, but at the end of the day I’m the only person who knows every detail of my body: every strand, crevice, surface, and edge.

Look at yourself in the mirror and know which features you take pride in or which imperfections you can eventually accept. Only you know the answer and only you can act on it.

*Name has been changed

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