Mum heads to Facebook in quest to increase breasts

Sonia Mobbs (pictured with husband Luke) is hoping people will vote for her on a Facebook competition to win a breast augmentation and a trip to Thailand.
Sonia Mobbs (pictured with husband Luke) is hoping people will vote for her on a Facebook competition to win a breast augmentation and a trip to Thailand. Christopher Chan GLA260213BOOB

Confessions on a Facebook cosmetic surgery competition page reveal pain behind body insecurities

Full Q&A with psychologist Paul Grant

A GLADSTONE mum is the latest to join the quest for bigger breasts, as the craze sweeping Gladstone's female population moves to the internet.

Sonia Mobbs is one of more than 100 Australian women entering a CosMediTours cosmetic surgery competition on Facebook, trying to win a trip to Thailand and a body overhaul.

The 28-year-old has two children, and said she would take the whole family on the trip if she won.

She said she was determined to fight the effects of gravity.

"I had both of (the kids) and was married by 21," she said. "Kids do quite a bit of damage to your body.

"Now that they're older (ages 11 and seven) it's something I want to do for myself. Just to be a bit happier and fill that t-shirt."

Ms Mobbs wants to go from a C-cup to double-D, and is happy to face critics.

"It doesn't worry me what people think... each to their own," she said. "It would be nice to be comfortable and happy with myself."

Cosmetic surgery does not promise happiness

RAW confessions on a Facebook cosmetic surgery competition page reveal the pain behind body insecurities.

Many of the women are after bigger breasts - "Since growing up I have become more insecure within my own skin," 20-year-old Rebecca from Gladstone writes.

While others want the opposite - "Hate the stares and comments. Hate that no clothes fit me," Georgia from Melbourne writes.

Marilyn Fisher, from Gladstone's Gryphon Psychology, said the competition was a promotional tool for the company but participants should first consider their motives.

"If you have a scar or a particular feature that you've never liked, and this makes you feel good, I think go for it," she said.

"Some people overdo that."

Psychologist Paul Grant, from Gladstone Psychology Services, said people were not necessarily happier after plastic surgery.

"Most people are happy with the results of their surgery, but they do not rate their overall appearance more highly," he said.

"Overall, they do not report being happier in the long term."

The key, Ms Fisher said, was to work on building self-esteem.

"People should look at what they are good at," she said.

"Have life goals that you are working towards and reward yourself when you achieve.

"Be kind to yourself."

Q&A with psychologist Paul Grant from Gladstone Psychology Services

Women say that they'll be happier after a plastic surgery operation, that they'll be more confident. Is that really the case?

There has been significant research effort put into identifying whether people feel better after plastic surgery, but it has probably raised more questions than it has answered.

There needs to be a lot more research done before we are certain of some answers.

It may be that different kinds of cosmetic surgery have different psychological effects on patients.

Most people who seek cosmetic surgery believe that they will be happier after the surgery.

The general conclusion from the research, although there is not a lot of agreement between some studies, is that most people are happy with the results of their surgery (ie the change in appearance of the body part operated on), but they do not rate their overall appearance more highly.

Overall, they do not report being happier in the long term.

There is a strong suggestion, from the research, that cosmetic surgery tends to have minimal effect on people's self-image.

There also does not seem to be a long term improvement in self-esteem or psychological wellbeing post-surgery.

A large study from Norway, completed in the last couple of years, found that girls who do undergo plastic surgery may be more depressed and more anxious than most of their peers.

There is also some suggestion that they may be more at risk of suicide.

These differences appear to be present both before and after surgery.

Several studies have found a link between breast augmentation or breast implant surgery and suicide, with women who have had the surgery being more likely to commit suicide than their age peers who haven't had the surgery.

The nature of the relationship between these two events is, however, not clear at this stage.

Why is it more women than men that have body image issues?

Many people believe that, as a society, we are becoming more concerned with body image and physical appearance.

The significant increases in the number of cosmetic surgery procedures undertaken each year are consistent with that belief. 

Although more women than men undergo cosmetic procedures, the gender balance  is more even when it comes to significant body image issues.

About as many men as women suffer from Body Dysmorphic Disorder, a psychological illness where the person is intensely preoccupied with some perceived defect in their appearance, and the defect is either imagined or much less pronounced than they believe.

The person with Body Dysmorphic Disorder usually experiences significant distress over their perceived defect, and this may interfere markedly with their social and occupational functioning.

They may pursue cosmetic surgery or treatment to "fix" their perceived defect/s, but are often not happy with the outcome, and these treatments can often cause the  illness to worsen over time.

Topics:  breast augmentation cosmetic surgery editors picks facebook psychologist

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