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Feeling like herself again

Angela’s “mommy makeover” gave her the confidence boost she needed.

Blond-haired woman in her 40s who had a mommy makeover, dressed in a black long sleeve shirt and blue jeans, leaning on a wooden fence.
Angela loves being a mom—and now she loves the way she looks, too.

Again and again, Angela Garofalo’s husband, Joe, told her, “No matter what, you always look beautiful to me.” That was good to hear, but it didn’t change the way she saw herself. Many years after having children, the 43-year-old mother of two still felt uncomfortable with her post-baby body.

Angela has a master’s in social work and built a successful practice in Katonah, NY, working with children experiencing trauma. Now as a stay-at-home mom, she enjoys spending time with her 7-year-old daughter, Alli, and 5-year-old son, RJ.

“With my two little munchkins, a career is too much,” Angela said. “Both children are probably the most incredible human beings you’ll ever meet. They are my blessings!”

After having Alli, she’d gone back down to a size 8 just by eating sensibly. But after RJ was born, Angela had to buy a whole new wardrobe of loose-fitting clothes. She couldn’t get back to where she was, even though she was eating right and stayed active.

“I had loose skin and a flap over my jeans,” she said. “For several years after my RJ was born, people came up to me and mistakenly thought I was pregnant.”

That’s about the time when Angela started thinking seriously about a surgical remedy. Still, she was cautious of the message that would send to her kids, especially Alli. “I never wanted her to think it’s all about looks for women—that you always have to be thin,” Angela explained. “I told her that Mommy just wanted to feel like she once did.”

Woman in blue top and jeans squats down in the park to pose with her husband, daughter and son.
Angela with husband Joe and their two little munchkins, Alli and RJ.

Angela’s decision to go to Northern Westchester Hospital for a plastic surgery consultation was “a no-brainer.” “When RJ had the flu, I brought him there for treatment,” she said. “They recognized instantly he was a special needs child and made him feel so comfortable. It’s not just about having a great reputation; they care about patients.”

Angela met with Michael Howard Rosenberg, MD, associate medical director and vice president of Surgical Services at Northern Westchester Hospital. After discussing her concerns and her kids’ needs, Angela recalls the first thing Dr. Rosenberg asked, which was to make sure she had support and backup during the recovery process—one of the postoperative requirements.

“This was a man who just met me,” Angela explained. “Most surgeons just want to get in, cut and say goodbye. And I wasn’t even a guaranteed patient yet. He was genuinely concerned about the entire picture.”

Dr. Rosenberg said that Angela experienced common issues faced by many women after pregnancy and childbirth—excess skin, decreased abdomen muscle support and an umbilical hernia—a hole in the bellybutton area in the muscular wall that supports the abdomen. If abdominal contents get stuck in the hole, it can be dangerous. So Angela also needed surgery for medical reasons.

Angela’s “mommy makeover” (one surgery that addresses common problem areas all at once) included a tummy tuck and breast lift to get rid of excess skin and correct changes due to pregnancy and nursing. Dr. Rosenberg also repaired her hernia and tightened up the abdominal wall to recreate a flat abdomen.

“The day of the operation, I didn’t have one ounce of anxiety. I felt so comfortable with Dr. Rosenberg,” Angela said. “And the other members of my care team were beyond incredible, too. They’re at the top of their game, and they were always right there with me.”

The entire procedure took two hours and required an overnight stay in the hospital. But Angela said she saw results instantly. “The extra skin was gone! I couldn’t believe it. The staff was smiling, saying, ‘Remember, there’s still swelling!’ And I said, ‘This is me swelling?’”

Woman in her 40s in a long sleeve black shirt and blue jeans sits on a black bench.
Angela is happy with her results and grateful to her entire care team.

For so long, when Angela would look at herself in the mirror, she wasn’t happy with the woman looking back at her. Now, radiant with confidence, she looks in the mirror and thinks, “Wow, I look good!” She will “absolutely” wear a bathing suit this summer and can finally wear her wardrobe again—all the size 8 clothes she loves and that make her feel like herself.

And of course, Joe will never stop telling her how beautiful she is. But now, she actually feels it.

“Once I knew the kids were settled, I could then say, ‘I do deserve to feel like me again,’” Angela explained. “If you can do something that can make you feel better, why not do it? When you feel good, it projects onto other people. And I’m feeling so good now!"