If you ask adults what they miss the most about being a kid, you’ll get a dozen different answers, but many will mention the naivete or innocence of childhood. While there’s nothing wrong with feeling nostalgic for the more carefree days of our youth, it’s easy to forget that these same qualities can blind us to the consequences of our words or actions.
Sara had the chance to reflect upon this when she was a teenager. Her own body image was affected when her friends shared the footage of a labiaplasty gone viral, oblivious to the impact their reaction would have on her. She could relate to the woman on the operating table, but was too embarrassed to say anything, so she let the moment pass.
She didn’t know it at the time, but this would be a turning point in her journey to self-love and acceptance. A journey that began at the age of 13, after noticing she was different “down there.” At first, it was easier to fit in and deal with the discomfort alone, but after years of feeling insecure, she finally turned 18 and decided to contact Dr. Patel at New Reflections Plastic Surgery.
This decision would ultimately help her regain her comfort and confidence and give her the strength she needed to tell her story. She realized that you can never know what someone might be going through and used this knowledge to further her own personal growth, achieving a renewed sense of self-assurance and body positivity.
It’s a Family Thing
For as long as she could remember, Sara knew that something wasn’t right. Her labia caused her pain and discomfort, and she felt very insecure about this intimate problem.
“I was 13 or 14 when I realized it wasn’t normal, I guess,” she explains. “It looked weird to me, and I was just very uncomfortable and insecure about it. So I always told my mom, ‘When I turn 18, I’m gonna get the surgery.’ I always wanted to do it.”
And this was a problem her mom understood well. “It’s a genetic problem, it runs in my family. My mom, she always wanted to do it, but she’s scared of surgery. And my grandma always wanted to do it, but she passed away.” Both women were familiar with the discomfort Sara was describing, and knew that it wouldn’t get better on its own.
Even though the prospect of surgery was daunting, Sara realized that labiaplasty was the only solution to her problem. The pain, discomfort and feeling that she was missing out on something were getting harder to ignore, and her labia had begun to affect her life in some surprising ways.
“It was more than a thought,” she says. “It was a real problem.”
In this video, Dr. Nikesh Patel creates Sara’s “Before” sketch. Check out Part 2 of Sara’s Journey to Her Labiaplasty to the see the “After!”
The Struggle is Real
Sara is a cosmetology student, working to pay her way through school. Even at the age of 19, she knew what she wanted to do for a living. She loved doing hair and connecting with others, so she took steps to make her dream a reality. Now she’s taking classes while working at a beauty supply store.
“I love what I do. I like talking to people, getting to know people… and I wanna keep doing it. And learn new things, of course, like hair dye. It’s a lot, but I can’t wait to learn more. I’ve done every color in the book — I’m obsessed!”
Things were going well, but something was standing her way. At work, at school, Sara was on her feet all day, and her labia made her uncomfortable at every turn. “I’m going to school and working and I’m always standing up, always walking. The problem wasn’t in my head, you know. It was there. I knew it. I noticed it every second of the day. The struggle was real.” It was becoming a distraction that interfered with her ability to concentrate or focus on her job.
And dealing with it was a hassle. It wasn’t something she could ignore or pretend wasn’t happening. “I always had to take breaks to go to the bathroom and, you know, fix my underwear or something. If I was helping a customer, it would bother me, and I would just have to walk away for a second.”
Connecting with her clients was an even bigger challenge. Sara found it hard to be present in the moment, when she was constantly fidgeting, worried about her labia, or thinking in the back of her mind that she needed to readjust herself. “Even when talking to people, it was like not being there. Like I’m not there because I’m focused on something else.”
Not being able to pay attention to what people were saying made it difficult to have a normal conversation, and she felt trapped in her own head by her insecurities. After putting up with this for years, she’d had enough. Sara was eager for something better and began looking for a solution.
Ready for Something Better
Sara’s labia made her uncomfortable and caused such a distraction, it jeopardized her career and studies. Even shopping became a nuisance, as she had to carefully inspect the clothes she bought before taking them home. Needless to say, her options were limited.
“Panties, I couldn’t really wear. And I always had to go in person and look at the material, because that could bother me, too.”
Sara also felt the impact in her relationships. She and her partner struggled to find common ground in the bedroom, and she couldn’t enjoy sex as much as he did. He was supportive and understanding, but Sara was feeling frustrated. “Intercourse was very annoying, because my labia was in the way. I’d have to stop and fix things or move it. It was the worst.”
When Sara turned 18, she was ready to make a change. The problems her labia caused had hurt her confidence, affected her work and made her physically uncomfortable. The stress of it all made her want to hide, and she felt like it was holding her back.
“I wanted to do so many things but I just couldn’t,” she says. “I just felt terrible. I couldn’t be me. Even if others didn’t care, I knew it was there. I knew it. So I did this for me.”
That was her mindset when she scheduled a consultation with Dr. Patel at New Reflections Plastic Surgery. With the support of her family, she took the first step toward a new life, one where she would be free from the pain and embarrassment caused by her labia.
If you’re interested in learning more about labiplasties or would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Patel at New Reflections Plastic Surgery today, please give us a call at (732) 354-3792 today!