My Breast Friends

I imagine that my breasts are rather disappointed with their lot in life.  Born to a tomboy, they were rarely alloted their moment in the spotlight.  I found them cumbersome and inconvenient most of the time, probably because I was given grown-up boobs at a point in my life when I still enjoyed climbing trees and playing sports.  While most girls were busy stuffing their bras with tissues and rubberized chicken cutlets,  I was using every means I could think of to diminish mine, short of duct taping them down.

I spent the better part of a decade either ignoring them, or wishing I had the option of taking them off and on like a pair of shoes.  Though if I really had that option, my breasts probably would have ended up being stored in a shoebox on my closet shelf, collecting dust, until they shriveled up into two pitiful, peach-colored raisins.

I was in a training bra for about five seconds, and the next thing I remember I was fourteen years old, standing in a department store dressing room with my mother, and she was gasping, “Good lord!  Where in god’s name have you been hiding those?!  I had NO idea!”

I was spilling over the top and oozing out the bottom of the pathetic, little bra – giving my breasts the appearance of an exploded tube of Pillsbury biscuit dough.  Without the camouflage of my usual baggy attire, I could no longer hide nor deny their existence…. especially now that there was a witness.

I was a late bloomer in every other respect, but I guess my precocious breasts decided to lead the charge into adulthood.  Whether I liked it or not (at that point, it was definitely not), I was going home with my new 34C bras, and reluctantly leaving the last shreds of my childhood behind in that dressing room.

By the time my teens were over, I stopped treating my breasts like a dirty, little secret and started to use them to my advantage.  I realized that they were handy things to have on the dating scene; finally connecting the dots that big boobs = attention from guys.  So I’m a little slow, shut up.

But my days of attention grabbing low-cut tops and lacy bras were short lived because by age 23 I was married, and two years later, I was pregnant.  No sooner had my breasts made their public debut than they were being placed into one of the most hideous garments a breast can wear – a nursing bra.

During my pregnancy, some of my old tomboy insecurities resurfaced because the damn things were getting bigger again.  D-cup sized breasts were the things of most men’s dreams, but my own personal nightmares.  I had visions of turning into my middle school chorus teacher – a woman who used her enormous chest as a writing desk whenever she wrote out a hall pass.  While it would be handy to never be at a loss for something to lean on should I need to jot down a quick note, the thought of having classroom furniture jutting out from my chest scared the hell out of me.  How was I going to nurse an infant with breasts bigger than she was?

As it turns out, nursing my newborn daughter was challenging, but doable.  And when I looked down at her sweet face the first time she nursed, I felt something about my breasts that I had never felt before – appreciation.

I forgot about all the times they got in the way when I played sports, or the fact that they never fit into those cute, girlie tops designed for the B-cup set.  They were sustaining life, and giving my daughter everything she needed to thrive.  And that appreciation grew tenfold during midnight feedings when I didn’t have to go all the way downstairs to heat up a bottle; I was like my daughter’s own personal 7-11, convenient and always ready for business.

When I stopped nursing her, I kept waiting for my breasts to go back to their original size, but it never happened (much to my chagrin).  I lost all my “baby weight” everywhere but in my bra.  And when I got pregnant for a second time (four years later), it was time for another growth spurt that added another D onto my cup size.  And like my previous pregnancy, my breasts didn’t decrease in size after nursing was over.  I knew that unless I did something drastic, like undergoing plastic surgery, my double-Ds were here to stay.

And mine weren’t the double-Ds of most porn addict’s fantasies; they looked more like something out of Salvador Dali’s imagination.  Despair took hold when I said goodbye to my chances of ever being able to shop at Victoria’s Secret again, and hello to unflattering bras that used descriptives like “minimizer” and “full-coverage” in their advertising.

My 30 year-old breasts were now wearing geriatric garments; bras designed with one purpose in mind – to prevent my breasts from making a pilgrimage towards my feet.  I can remember as a girl, the test to see if your breasts were sagging was to place a pencil under your breast; when you let go, if the pencil stayed without falling to the ground, gravity was starting to take its toll.  Well, by this point, my pencil days were long gone – I could successfully store all of my children’s back-to-school supplies under there.

Around age 35, I got a healthy dose of perspective that made all the years I spent complaining about my breasts seem absurd.  I started hearing a lot of stories about women my age falling victim to breast cancer – a fact that was both startling and scary.  Cancer was no longer something that happened to mothers and grandmothers, it was happening to my peers.  And once I became aware of it, the subject seemed to be on everyone’s lips.  Famed breast cancer survivors like Christina Applegate and Melissa Etheridge were championing the cause, and pink ribbons were everywhere.

It’s horrible for anyone to be struck with cancer, but it seemed particularly heinous for someone under the age of 40.  The weight of that cruel reality hit me one day while I was in the shower.  Without the cover of my granny-bras or my baggy t-shirts, my breasts were there, just staring up at me… well, I guess they were staring more towards the floor…. but let’s not get technical when I’m trying to be sentimental.  As I stared back at them, it was as if I was seeing them for the first time.  And a genuine feeling of gratitude washed over me.

I was grateful that my breasts had been there to feed my two children.

Grateful that they were still healthy.

Grateful that they were still here for me to bitch about – though I would probably be doing a lot less of that from here on out.

Ever since that day, my breasts and I have reached a new level of friendship and understanding (hey, if you guys can name your penises and talk about them like they’re separate entities, I can be friends with my breasts).  And in the spirit of friendship, I decided to make them a few promises….

I won’t complain whenever I have to pass up the cute, lacy bras for ones that actually have a shot at holding my girls up.

I won’t make fun of them every time I lay down and they disappear into my armpits.

I won’t pine away for the breasts I had when I was sixteen… at least not out loud.

And in return, they will do their best to enjoy a long, healthy life with me.  After trying to hold them up for nearly 30 years, I figure the least they can do is try to hold up their end of the bargain for the next 30.

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36 thoughts on “My Breast Friends

  1. All right – that entry was definitely NOT meant to be read by “Anonymous Guy Who Is Not Your Brother”… pardon me while I hit the Delete key on my short-term memory…

  2. Hilarious, thoughtful and true. Thank you my sista. I give thanks for my double D’s too, my best friends for life.
    Dimps

    • Aw, thanks Dimples! I think we should start the Double-D club. We can share painful underwire stories, and discuss various ways to avoid giving ourselves a black eye whenever we workout – it’ll be great!

    • Your comment made me groan and giggle simultaneously…. I’m not sure I could reproduce that sound again if I tried. You win the breast pun of the day award 🙂 Thanks for posting!

  3. HaHa! I have the same relationship with mine, only a “smaller” version! And I too have come to realize I need to just live with what I got, and be thankful I still have ’em!
    Nicely done!

    • Thanks! Yes, I think reminding ourselves to be grateful for what we have is not only important for our mental and physical well-being, it’s also a lot more pleasant than beating ourselves up every time we glance in the mirror.

      Now, if I could learn to apply the same appreciation I have for my breasts to my pregnancy stretch marks, I’d be in REALLY good shape! Wouldn’t hold my breath for that one 😉

  4. I could really relate to this blog. in fourth grade my nickname was big ones. Puberty set in very early. just recently I was saying how I wanted to cut them off, and remembered that the same day, Kristen was visiting her forty two year old friend who just had a double mastectomy. I felt ashamed. thanks for the story

    • Kat – sounds to me like our breasts are soul mates 🙂

      I not only hit the nail on the head with you, I pounded that sucker into the ground! Looks like I finally managed to write something you could relate to. I can die happy now…. though I’d like to live long enough to enjoy a few beers with you and Garv next weekend. But THEN I could die happy…

  5. Well done Linda…. it was truly a walk down memory lane. I am very happy that you finally are at peace with your body, love you and it very much… Mom

    • Mom – Thanks for coming onto the blog and leaving a comment! Glad you enjoyed the entry. While it may be difficult to STAY at peace with my body all the time, at least now I have more peaceful moments than I ever did before.

      How does the serenity prayer go? Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference? Well, I have enough wisdom to know that the boobs I inherited from Grandma definitely fall among the things I cannot change…. at least not without several thousand dollars and a good plastic surgeon 🙂

    • Anon – Wow, that’s some serious high praise. Thanks so much! I’m ALL for the rest of the world reading my entry…. you wouldn’t happen to have the email addresses of the 7 billion people, would you?

    • Thanks for reading my blog, Shell! I really appreciate you sharing my blog on your facebook page too. Every share usually means a few more readers I can access. The response to this blog was nearly three times larger than last week… who knew boobs were so popular? Well… I guess I did…

      Keep lovin’ those mommy boobs of yours… at least as much as Jaret does 🙂

  6. I laughed so hard and then cried a little at your brilliant and touching writing. Thanks for expressing your views with such humor and grace.

    • I know I replied to you on facebook, but I felt this lovely comment deserved another word of thanks. It seriously might be the best comment I’ve received thus far…. if you could stick around for awhile, it would do wonders for my self-esteem 🙂

      Hope to see you next week!

    • Hook – We meet again. You’re starting to become a regular around here. If my blog was the bar “Cheers”, you’d be my Norm. 🙂

      I’d like to think I’ve got a creative mind… at least more creative than my breasts – they never come up with ANY good blog ideas!

  7. a beautiful post..I often curse mine as they have stopped my running and other sports..but this post have made me realize how important they are and should be loved…Thanks. 🙂

    • Nisha – Thanks for such sweet comments!

      Don’t even get me started on running… there isn’t a sports bra on earth that can manage to keep my girls in place when I try to do any kind of cardio. Which, I guess I should thank them for because it gives me a good excuse NOT to do any kind of cardio – I hate exercising 😉

      Keep lovin’ the girls!

  8. Absolutely awesome post! You literally had me laughing out loud! 😀 And that’s because I can toootally relate. I’m 24 years old, not yet a mother, but I’ve always has these huge boobies–which I don’t consider my friends. I’ve had them since I was 9 years old (Shocker! Well, they obviosuly weren’t this big at 9). Unlike you, I was an early bloomer–way too early for my liking. My tomboy days ended all too soon; I could no longer play outside with my brother and his friends, and I was waaay too embarrassed to run around and play netball or dodgeball at school. And the cute girly tops always had to be passed over, too. I wish to have that appreciation you now have for your breasts (though, I am grateful they’re still healthy). I’ve never used them in my favour–I just don’t see how they could ever be, not even with boys. I need to learn to stop looking at them with dislike every time I shower. And I hate bra shopping. I’m pretty sure I’m not even wearing the best bra for my sized breast. It’s just too depressing.

    Thanks for the hilariously great post. Absolutely loved every line!

    • Ruqaiyah – I totally understand what you’re saying – big boobs can be a real pain in the ass! But finding a good bra can do WONDERS for being able to tolerate them better. Here is a link to my all time favorite bra:

      http://www1.macys.com/shop/product/wacoal-bra-bodysuede-seamless-full-figure-bra-85185?ID=97172&cm_mmc=Google_Feed-_-2-_-26-_-MP226

      That was a ridiculously long web address… sorry. Yes, the bras are insanely priced, but in my mind, you can’t put a price tag on comfort. The bra stays put, and it is SO comfortable. And while getting properly fitted for a bra is embarrassing, it’s a necessary evil (like going to the gyno every year, lol). I promise that if you do these two things, you will have Breast Friends too!

      Thanks for posting!!

      • Thanks so much for the link, but sadly, that brand is not sold here in South Africa :(. But I agree with you, I should just suck it up and get fitted properly for my correct bra size. I will do that and seek out the best bra South Africa has to offer me 🙂 ASAP.

        Thanks a lot, again, for the inspiration to embrace my breasts as friends 😛

  9. “I won’t make fun of them every time I lay down and they disappear into my armpits.”
    Mine do this anytime I am not wearing a bra – standing up, sitting down, laying down, it doesn’t matter. I’m pretty sure I could channel my inner bat and hang upside down; and still, they would go sideways.
    Your writing is wonderful and refreshing! Keep it up!

  10. So wonderfully expressed! This very nicely echoed some of the sentiments I’ve had after just weaning my firstborn. However, you have me somewhat horrified. Having started as a C cup pre-pregnancy, finding myself in a D cup during pregnancy, and then venturing into DD territory while nursing…I thought one maxed out at that point and was spared during future childbearing/rearing. Isn’t there some test one must take – or at least a passport needed to make the jump to the middle of the alphabet?

    • Untamed – Fear not, not everyone’s breasts stay the same size after they’re done nursing. In fact, I think I’m more the exception than the rule (lucky me, huh?). Most of my girlfriends and family members who nursed, managed to find their way back into their old bras when they were done.

      As for the the bra alphabet, I think the letters go up pretty high… though I hope I never experience that firsthand. I have no interest in needing a wheelbarrow in order to get me and my breasts from place to place. 🙂

      Thanks for posting and may your breasts shrink back down to the size from whence they came!

  11. Pingback: Just because we have smaller breasts doesn’t mean we are less desirable | Flat-Chested Señoritas

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