Mommy's New Face
I suppose it was only a matter of time before someone brought out a book like My Beautiful Mommy (Michael Salzhauer, MD, Big Tent Books, $24.95), a picture book that tries to help young children make sense of the physical changes associated with their mother's plastic surgery.
After all, with cosmetic surgery becoming increasingly popular with women of child-bearing and child-rearing age (the peak age for cosmetic surgery in North America is 35 to 50 and the majority of people opting for elective cosmetic surgery are women), there's an obvious need for this type of book. And with cosmetic surgery increasingly being marketed as something you treat yourself to because you're worth it (the same type of pitch that was once used to sell cigarettes to women of generations past), that market is likely to continue to grow.
If the goal of My Beautiful Mommy is to create future consumers for the cosmetic surgery industry, then the book can be considered a roaring success. After all, countless studies have demonstrated the powerful link between a mother's poor body image and her children's negative feelings about their own bodies. Those powerful lessons in body image are learned by the little girl in the story when her already beautiful Mommy explains why she needs to go to the doctor to get "fixed" in order to feel better about herself:
"My nose may look a little different after the operation," said Mommy.
"...Not just different...prettier!"
"But you're already the prettiest Mommy in the whole wide world."
"That's sweet of you to say, my love, but Mommy is also having her tummy made smaller. As I got older, my body stretched out and I couldn't fit into my clothes anymore. Dr. Michael is going to help fix that and make me feel better."
The book's author—Florida plastic surgeon Michael Salzhauer, MD—reinforces these messages with a powerful metaphor that explains the before-and-after transformation that the mother will undergo pre-and-post surgery. The little girl comes to understand that the mother's post-surgical bandages are like a cocoon. When the mother finally emerges from her cocoon, she becomes "the most beautiful butterfly in the world."
In the final lines of the book, the author takes us inside the little girl's head, showing us how profoundly the little girl has been affected by her mother's transformation:
Mommy took out two big lollipops shaped like butterflies. Mommy gave me the pink, which is my favorite color. We snuggled on the sofa and Mommy hugged me tight. I fell asleep dreaming of butterflies.
My Beautiful Mommy will be released on Mother's Day.