OPINION: Jennie recounts why she chose to have her breast implants removed ...
It's not the kind of story you'll read in the brochure at a plastic surgery, but at 43, I opted to go under the knife to remove the breast implants I had in my early 30s.
It took me 12 years to make this decision. No one ever tells you that your breast implants will always feel like a foreign body inside you - it's something that hits you much later. Like the moment you realise they will always be a different temperature from the rest of your body, or that you'll never be able to lie comfortably on your tummy again.
No one ever talks about the anxiety attacks, either. The implants were like a bad memory that resurfaces occasionally. There'd be times when I was driving or going about my day and suddenly start thinking, "Oh my God, what did I do to myself?"
In time, I knew I had to get them out. But reversing a 'permanent' decision doesn't come cheap. It cost $NZ8000 to put the implants in and $5100 to remove them - over a thousand dollars for every year I had them in my body. On top of the cost, I was scared of the operation and worried about the time I'd have to spend in recovery. It was, after all, a major surgery.
It may seem obvious enough in hindsight, but none of these things had crossed my mind when I first contemplated plastic surgery. At 30, I just wasn't really thinking about the risks.
My husband is a very good looking man and I was starting to feel inadequate around him. I'd always been flat chested and everyone else I knew was better endowed. I also wanted to regain the fuller breasts I had had while I was breastfeeding.
I should say that my husband didn't want me to go through with the plastic surgery. We had a big fight about it on the way to the hospital. My family was also against it.
For a short time after the surgery, I did feel more confident but then I quickly got tired of some people talking to my chest instead of my face.
It was also hard to find bras or bikini tops that my 'fake boobs' could fit into properly. What I love about my breasts now is that they are flat at the top and round at the bottom. But because implants are completely round, when you put a bra on it doesn't fit at the top.
When I had the surgery I was told that my implants were 'new generation silicon' so they wouldn't rupture. But after they were removed the surgeon said that one of them had ruptured. They obviously do still disintegrate and it's worrying to think of something disintegrating inside you.
For a while, I wondered if I would feel less confident without my implants - but I feel exactly the same. It feels good to have my natural body back. My friends and I go to the beach and everyone's got saddlebags or dimples. That's just part of life. You don't have to be the perfect version of yourself.
Sometimes I think about how I could have travelled around the world for the money I spent on the surgeries to change my body - and often wish I did. Because they certainly didn't give me a thousand dollars worth of joy each year.
- Daily Life
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