As I sidestepped back into my aisle seat on the plane, I told my husband that I walked to the toilet with my boob hanging out. We both had a little chuckle, but neither mentioned how this was mortifying because we both knew that the reason my left breast was hanging out over my camisole, barely shielded with a bit of cardigan, was that I had been feeding the baby earlier and had forgotten to re-stow my boob. Gone are the days of being embarrassed by a wardrobe malfunction; although I do aim for discretion, these tatas get whipped out whenever — and wherever — they’re needed. (And usually I remember to tuck them back in.) My boobs just aren’t what they used to be …
It’s not just their purpose and amount of use that have changed with having a baby, it’s also their look. They’ve changed size and shape and now have the ability to make me cringe. In the morning they’re plump and ready to be drained by a hungry little button, but come late afternoon, they’re deflated, with crepe-y skin and faint stretch marks. When I was pregnant, I was so diligent about oiling up my growing stomach every day like I was basting the Thanksgiving turkey, and it worked — I didn’t get any stretch marks. So why haven’t I shown my boobs the same love by moisturizing them daily? At first it was because I was concerned baby would eat the product or dislike the scent. Then it never developed into a habit, and now I rarely remember.
And in terms of containing these beasts, nine months in and I still haven’t figured out what kind of bra I’m supposed to be wearing. I bought one maternity bra — I didn’t want to buy a lot of short-term-use clothing — and it fits my right breast fine. But hefty lefty bulges out the top and bottom like a sausage busting out of its casing. I wear regular bras with camisoles for the most part and just pull my boob out for feeds. But guess what that’s done? Stretched the heck out of my camisoles, bras, and probably also my skin. (I tend to handle them like water balloons.) One mom friend recently told me that wearing underwire can limit the milk flow; I may as well rest my boobs on my thighs if I decide to forego underwire, and we haven’t had any flow issues yet, so underwire is staying in the rotation.
Lest I seem all about vanity, there’s also the pain of chapped nipples and cuts from little finger nails that mommy hasn’t gotten around to trimming as regularly as she should. Really, is there anything pleasant about my breasts anymore? They hurt, look gross, and put me in the category of occasional exhibitionist.
But before my pity party could get any further momentum, my husband offered a sweet reminder that refocused me, saying, “Isn’t it amazing that you can sustain a whole person, just from your body?” And at that moment, I began to appreciate and love these udders more than I ever had before.
What has been your hardest body change to accept during or after pregnancy?
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