Fair warning: this is going to be a blog about my boobs.
I suppose I always had a typical relationship with my boobs. For most of my life I didn’t like them and wished they were different (in my case, bigger). As I made it through my 20’s, I finally began to accept them and see the benefits of the particular set I ended up with. I could go braless reasonably well and had no problem sleeping on my stomach. Chances are I wouldn’t sag too badly as I aged. These were good things.
As I hit my 30’s, I began to finally put on some weight. This caused me to “develop” at long last. Despite my acceptance at my previous size, I was ultimately excited that finally I had natural cleavage. They still weren’t too bodacious, and the benefits I discussed above were still applicable (other than it became a bit harder to get away gracefully with the whole braless thing).
Then I got pregnant. As those of you who have been there, done that know, one of the first symptoms most of us get is that the girls swell and begin to HURT. This lasts several months, or at least that was the case with me. Once again, the size gain was appealing, but as all the books and blogs like to point out, who cares? They hurt too much to do anything with. Then came the stretch marks. That was a blow, I must admit, and I felt pretty resentful at the whole pregnancy thing when I noticed those. Sure, it was vain and probably stupid. No one other than myself, my husband, and medical professionals would ever know (and I should be grateful that was the extent of my stretch marking).
Then came Stella and the nursing. As with probably every woman, nursing started out pretty difficult and painful. For 2 weeks, it was a matter of gritting teeth and bearing it. There was chapping, chafing, some blood, and some tears. Then, abruptly, it’s like both of us simply got used to it. Stella seemed to be getting plenty to eat and it no longer felt like someone was taking a belt sander to my nipples. And if motherhood itself seems give you a ticket into a sisterhood with other mothers, nursing is almost like the frequent flier club. There is a whole new subset of anecdotes and instant camaraderie. One of my aunts has shared a whole lot of her own experiences, including a funny/scary tale of falling asleep with her breast pump running (causing some permanent effects). You feel closer to these women somehow.
I can now say with authority that I have a much different relationship with my boobs. They have gone from being ornamental– something to give purpose to the darts in blouses and dresses – into something much more. They are first and foremost functional. And I guess this gives me the sense of wanting to discuss and share them, the way you would a killer new kitchen appliance – like a kick ass stick blender or something. They get more use than I ever would have thought. They have metamorphosed. I have learned new things about them, such as for whatever reason, my right boob produces about twice the milk of the left. Go figure. They are Stella’s, and they wear the marks of her use. As she’s gone/going through her Freddie Krueger phase (see previous blog: A Nightmare on Elmo Street), my chest now often looks as if I’ve been wrestling with the Thundercats.
No doubt as she’s weaned, I will go through another transition. As for now, I can say with no hesitation that it’s all worth it: the stretch marks, discomfort, missing chunks. Being able to feed your child – knowing that you’re doing the best possible thing for her nutritionally, and seeing that sweet chubby hand resting on top of your boob, child smiling up at you, is all the payment you need.