Mina Starsiak Hawk Felt ‘Mom-Guilt’ About Getting Plastic Surgery: ‘I Was Very Hard on Myself’
Mina Starsiak Hawk thought for a long time about getting plastic surgery to improve how she felt about her body after two pregnancies. "It was not a spur of the moment decision by any means," she says. But it was still a decision that she doubted and questioned.
"I was very hard on myself for wanting to do this, because it's super selfish," Starsiak Hawk, 36, tells PEOPLE. "But I decided that's okay, and I just have to keep telling myself that."
She went through with the surgery — a tummy tuck, liposuction and breast implants, a group of procedures often referred to as a 'mommy makeover' — in early December, and hasn't regretted it. But she has thought quite a bit about why she felt guilty for wanting the surgery.
"It's like this mom-guilt that everyone else needs to be taken care of except you," she says.
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Starsiak Hawk said that she just didn't feel like herself after two pregnancies — both of which required C-sections — plus breastfeeding.
"You don't go back to being the same after a baby, no matter what you do," she says. "A lot of women really love and embrace that, but I just didn't feel that way."
"No matter what I put on, I didn't feel comfortable in my body," the mom to Jack, 2, and Charlie, 4 months, continues. "And if you don't feel good about yourself, it's going to affect your work life, your social life, your sex life. It just inhibits you."
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Starsiak Hawk's desire to get back to feeling good about herself — along with rebuilding the core strength she had lost after developing diastasis recti, or ab separation, during her pregnancies — solidified her decision to get surgery. But it also brought up another concern — how her 463,000-plus Instagram followers would react to the news.
"I wanted to be very open about this from the beginning," she says. "I don't want to post a family picture on our vacation a year from now and have people think, 'Oh my gosh, if I just work hard enough, I can have abs like that.' Because no one tells you, 'I had surgery to do this; my stomach would never look this flat, no matter how much I starved myself, no matter how many crunches I did.' "
When she shared her plan in November, Starsiak Hawk braced herself for the mommy shamers. But instead, the reaction was "overwhelmingly positive."
"I expected to get a lot more judgment for it. But it was all, 'I did this and never regretted it,' and 'You're going to love it,' " she says, which led her to realize that "women do this all the time but not a lot talk about it."
She also got messages from women who said they wished they could, but it wasn't something they could afford.
"I recognize that I'm in a very good, lucky position that I was able to do what I felt like I wanted and needed to do, to get to a good place," she says. "And that not everyone can and not everyone wants to."
Now eight weeks out from her surgery, Starsiak Hawk is healing well and is thrilled with the results — and how they've helped her confidence.
"My husband always thinks I'm smoking hot," she says. "But I feel better about myself now, which is huge."
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