’I decided to change my body because I couldn’t change my life.’
Stephanie March is 41-years-old and a Hollywood actress. That by itself is a really treacherous emotional body of water to be treading in. Patricia Arquette used her moment on the dais of the Academy Awards to talk about ageism and gender discrimination in Hollywood, and earlier this year, Amanda Peet wrote an essay for Lena Dunham’s Lenny newsletter about being a “low-tier TV-mom-type,” staring down the plastic surgery crevasse.
And now, March has penned her own entry for the entertainment industry’s growing anthology of women’s realness columns. It’s called “Why I Got Breast Implants—And Then Had Them Removed,” and it’s available to read on Refinery29. March shares the details of her “year of living terribly” in which her career was languishing, her marriage was falling apart, and several medical emergencies led to surgeries that left her unhappy with her body.
With so much out of her hands, March says she did “exactly what you are not supposed to do when it comes to plastic surgery. I decided to change my body because I couldn’t change my life.” Specifically, March chose to get breast augmentation surgery, and everything started out fine, but after a little more than a month one of her new implants ruptured—twice.
She explains what happened by saying, “I had a hole in my breast for 6 weeks while I blasted my body with antibiotics. I had the implant put back in. I had another infection and rupture on Christmas Eve. I had it taken out again. I had more cultures and tests and conversations with doctors than I care to recall.”
With the support and advice of her surgeon, who March praises as a “conscientious practitioner” with an “immaculate” workspace, the actress decided not to further pursue her implants. It turned out that her body was allergic to the synthetic material, and so would keep rejecting them no matter what she tried.
March spends the rest of the essay explaining how she came to terms with her body, which actually meant coming to terms with her life overall. She didn’t rule out the possibility of getting breast implants again in the future, and made a point to say she supports the personal, private choice to have elective surgery. March’s scars are now fading, but she has finally come to a place where she is proud of the story her body tells. She uses the essay as a platform to help others to feel empowered by their own unique bodies as well.
March concludes her story by saying:
“Finally, once and for all, this isn’t about what anyone else thinks. It really does not matter anymore. I have accepted this episode as a part of my larger story. And I refuse to be ashamed of it. I am taking back my body, my story, and myself in a bathing suit. Today, the scars are fading into fine white lines. My breasts are small, well proportioned, and just right for my body…
All that I had, all that I was, from the beginning, was all I needed to be. And now, I anticipate summer of 2016 with great joy. I will be poolside, beachside, and swimming — and perhaps, in a more daring moment (with a margarita nearby), I will be topless. I have nothing to hide.”