I Lasered My Fat After Having a Baby
When one of my favorite celebs praised her post-partum FUPA, I was sitting at home with my 9-week-old. Reading the article and consuming the global reaction, I felt simultaneously understood on a cosmic level by one of the biggest names in the entire world. And also, really f*cking angry.
I was at odds with my own body and had yet to embrace the postpartum gospel. A few short weeks prior, I had endured 30 hours of labor that almost ended in an emergency C-section and resulted in my son being vacuumed out of me during the final three pushes.
I had done the thing society applauds as beautiful and miraculous, but I wasn’t prepared for the aftermath. Having people tell you that you’ll still look six months pregnant in the days and possibly weeks after giving birth—and then seeing that reality yourself—isn’t an easy pill to swallow. That's especially true when you see celebrity after celebrity looking thin as a wisp mere days after delivering their own child into the world (don’t even get me started on a certain royal's appearance in heels just hours after her own deliveries). I didn’t want to accept this as my new normal, and I certainly wasn’t about to praise it.
Before getting pregnant and giving birth to my son, Peter, I considered myself a generally healthy and fit person. You wouldn’t see me on the sidewalk and mistake me for a model, but I maintained a healthy diet and taught barre classes at a local studio on the weekends. I had a body that made me happy.
I gained 35 pounds while I was pregnant. Thanks to my 5’11” frame, it was well distributed. I continued to eat healthily (with, ok, maybe more ice cream than my non-pregnant diet) and kept up my routine of taking and teaching barre, with some prenatal yoga thrown in.
After giving birth I kept telling people I’d be patient with my body and enjoy the time before my doctor would clear me to exercise again. Outwardly, I was all smiles. But inside, I was striving to do the impossible and comparing myself to those celebrity ideals. I bought compression leggings and nursing tanks, and even a belly wrap to help my swollen midsection return to its normal size as quickly as possible.
By the time I returned to work after my 12-week maternity leave, I had come to terms with my new figure... mostly. I had lost all but the last ten pounds and bought a few pairs of pants a size larger than the ones that hugged my pre-pregnancy hips. My body was noticeably softer than it was a year prior. I wanted to be patient with myself, but I also harbored a sadness that simmered beneath the surface.
I’m not a royal or a celebrity. I don’t have a personal trainer or a home chef. And as much as I didn’t want to admit it, those last ten pounds could sometimes eat away at my self-confidence. So I decided to get a little extra help—something I couldn't get from diet and exercise alone—when SculpSure® offered me two complimentary sessions. Because, why not?
SculpSure® body contouring is a laser treatment that helps eliminate fat cells from a targeted area. Named the Most Innovative Treatment of 2018 at the recent MyFaceMyBody awards, this noninvasive, FDA-cleared procedure can permanently reduce the number of fat cells in the treatment area by up to 24 percent1. In a nutshell, it's a light-based device that you strap to your problem area to let it destroy the fat cells.
When I first walked into Dr. Dennis Gross's brightly lit offices on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, I was ready to give it a try. In talking with the renowned dermatologist, I learned that I was a prime candidate for the procedure—I have a stubborn “bulge” that stands out and doesn’t respond to diet and exercise. (Frankly, most women who have a child know this “bulge” well.) I was hopeful that I might be able to shrink away a portion of my FUPA and maybe, just maybe, slide back into my pre-pregnancy jeans. I wanted my Miranda Hobbes walking into the club moment. Except, without the club.
I’ll be honest: Before the first of my two 25-minute treatments, I was nervous. I wasn’t sure what to expect or if it would hurt. I learned just how low my pain tolerance is during labor (I begged for not one but two epidurals). Gratefully, I found SculpSure to be cool and tingly—though others may liken it to period cramping. The machine alternates between 40-second-long cycles of heated and cool sensations. Even though it feels like your skin may be hot to the touch during the warming phases, the technician told me it’s cooler than normal and that the treatment was actually targeting cells beneath my skin.
When I left, we scheduled my second treatment—for best results, patients are encouraged to allow four to six weeks between visits—and I was told to expect full results approximately 12 weeks after my final appointment.
Fast forward a few months and I’m already impressed with how my lower stomach has responded to the treatment. With each week that goes by, my skinny jeans become a little more forgiving. I still have nearly six weeks to go before I’ll see my full results, and I’m excited about what that will look like. My body is still softer than I’d prefer and I know I’m still on my postpartum recovery journey. The scale hasn’t necessarily budged, but I’m also working on rebuilding my muscle mass and it may take a bit longer before my input and output start to move the needle.
The biggest change has been my self-confidence. You won’t find me waxing poetic about my FUPA, but I am learning to love it and give it the credit it deserves.
*1 Single treatment with an average reduction in fat volume as measured by MRI; Clinical and Histological Evaluations of a 1060nm Laser Device for Non-Invasive Fat Reduction - John W. Decorato, MD., F A C S. Rafael Sierra, Ph.D., Bo Chen, Ph.D., Westford, MA, 2014