Requiem For A Boob

May 28, 2009

When I was a kid, my mom used to joke about her boobs. “They’re tube socks!” she’d hoot. “I have to roll them up to get them in my bra.”

I would cringe and recoil. “Mom,” I’d hiss. “You’re embarrassing me.”

“Why are you so red, honey?”

“Because you’re embarrassing me.”

“I’m just talking about tube socks.”

“You’re talking about your boobs.”

“Sweetie, my boobs are tube socks because I bore and birthed you and your sister, so if hearing about it embarrasses you, well, tough.”

Then she’d cross her eyes and stick out her tongue at me. I’d run to my room at that point and discreetly peer down the front of my shirt and wonder whether I’d ever have any kind boobs, let alone the tube sock kind. Although I’d have preferred not the tube sock kind, at that point in my adolescence I’d have been happy with just about anything.

Ah, the deluded innocence of youth.

I grew boobs, eventually. They were never all that impressive – I was always skinny, with the type of cleavage that, in nature, attends skinny bodies – but they were there, and they were kind of cute. Perky. The kind of breasts that you never called tits or gazongas or hooters or even just boobs. You referred to them to them in the diminutive – boobies – or in the unsexed abstract – chest. So it was that when I got pregnant and, later, began lactating and those puppies grew – like, seriously, epically grew, like frightened puffer fish – I was both alarmed and thrilled. I had hooters. I had gazongas. I had BOOBS.

For a few uncomfortable but nonetheless thrilling years, I had a rack, and it was spectacular.

And now it’s gone.

Gone, disappeared, deflated, defunct. It’s as if, after watching me wean Jasper and my husband get his parts snipped, Nature herself gave my body the once-over and said well, you won’t be needing those any more, will you? and unceremoniously removed them from my person.

They’re gone now, and I miss them. I miss them, not only because they really were kind of epic – and what girl doesn’t fantasize, occasionally, secretly, about what it would be like to have epic boobs? – but because Nature, in all of her douchey wisdom, did not restore my chest to its modest but nonetheless entirely presentable profile. Nature, being the stone-cold bitch-goddess that she is (the very same one who gave us menstrual cycles and the pain of childbirth and the indignity of random chin hairs), turned my boobs into tube socks. Just like my mother’s.

Except smaller. Small tube socks. The tube socks of an adolescent boy with irregularly-sized feet. Because, yes, one is actually – oh, god – smaller than the other.

Which is why, when I found myself, yesterday, in the fitting room of the lingerie department, desperately trying to find a bra into which my breasts would not just disappear like a pathetic wad of crumpled tissue, I lasted all of three minutes before bursting into tears.

It’s not that I want – what are the kids calling it these days? – a bangin’ bod. I’d be happy with a bod that just pinged a little. I just want to not to not look in the mirror and cringe. Which I know goes against everything that I said a few months ago, but a few months ago I had boobs. Muffin-tops and extra ass-padding are one thing when you have the upper curves to balance everything out. They’re quite another when your upper body looks like a deflated pool toy.

I’m straining to accept this new incarnation of me, to learn to love it as I’ve learned to love all the other incarnations. But I am finding, now, as summer approaches and I wrap my head and heart around the fact (is it fact? is it? I am still struggling with this) that I will have no more children, that I am still, in my way, vain, and that I want my beauty back. Maybe not the same beauty, the same body, the same sweet boobs of youth, but something, anything, that makes me swell with just a little bit of pride when I look in the mirror.

Or maybe just a tit-inflater. Anybody got one of those?

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    { 97 comments }

    BeautifulWreck May 28, 2009 at 11:25 am

    If someone invents a tit-inflater I am willing to pay $$$ for it.

    There is a boob job in my future for sure!

    Thanks for the laughs this A.M.

    tom the girl May 28, 2009 at 11:26 am

    go out and buy yourself an awesome water bra. ef trying to find something that fits what you have. i know how you feel, and while most would say “your bod is beautiful and served its purpose”, i say go to hell. haha. seriously though. push up waterbra by wonderbra will make you smile again.

    p.s. vanity is not always a bad thing. it makes me feel good on the inside when i look good on the outside. which is why i do my make-up when i am sick or feeling down ;-)

    otherwise….au natural, baby!

    Jill May 28, 2009 at 11:27 am

    Just weaned my son as well and I’m rocking some porn star jugs right now. I mean, not that porn stars jugs really leak milk, but they are hefty. I am fully aware, though, that they are slowly deflating and I will soon be left with two fried eggs, flattened against my chest. Yes, I am vain. Yes, I am sad. Yes, I think I might need a boob job in the near future. I so relate.

    Heather May 28, 2009 at 11:30 am

    I too have tube socks. I will say one phrase to you "Molded cup underwire bras" i can't get those ones in which the only thing separating your girls from the outside world is a thin fabric. I have to have shape and molding. It takes a bunch of trial and error but I have found the perfect bras for me, and Playtex (those bastards) don't make it anymore. But if you find one you like and make your girls perk & sing buy as many as your budget will allow.

    Many hugs my friend. xoxo

    Twenty Four At Heart May 28, 2009 at 11:33 am

    I was a size D in 6th grade and a DD as an adult. I nursed 3 babies … and I’m now consulting with plastic surgeons for a breast reduction. All I think about lately is boobs, boobs, boobs! All my life I’ve wanted to go braless … or for that matter, to have a man talk to my face instead of my boobs. Sigh …

    Redneck Mommy May 28, 2009 at 11:35 am

    First of all, you are making a mountain out of some tube socks.

    Heh.

    Your rack? Tis lovely. I’d fondle those beaver tails anytime. And I just saw them days ago so I know of which I speak.

    However, short of a good bra or a chest inflation surgery, you could always go the route I did and get some boobie bling inserted.

    Sure it won’t make them bigger, or less tube sock shaped, but it will provide hours of distraction and entertainment for you and the mister.

    He’ll be so dazzled by the glints of hoopy wonder that he won’t even notice that the nipples are hanging by your belly button.

    Plus, you can string them up with fish wire and voila! Instead perkiness.

    *taps noggin*

    Oh ya. I’m always thinking baby.

    Dear Mazzy May 28, 2009 at 11:38 am

    I know how you feel. I just wrapped up nursing my second (last) child last month & a couple of mornings ago my husband asked me what the horrible look on my face was for, and I told him that I was pretty sure I just FOLDED my boobs up to put them in my bra. A bra which is still a G cup. So I'm with 24 at Heart in the whole breast reduction consideration.

    Anonymous May 28, 2009 at 11:39 am

    my mother recently confessed to my sister and i that she had implants put in after my sister was born. no one knew–except my dad and my mom’s best friend. (and twenty-something years later my sister and i are the only new keepers of this secret…)

    she said she didn’t want us to know as children because she didn’t want us to grow up thinking that breasts and their size, shape, etc were important or something to be idolized. the implants are totally average looking, a B cup, and she’s not the type of woman you’d expect to have had cosmetic surgery. (though i suppose i should have caught on as she aged and things stayed the same perky shape)

    however, now that i know that perky boobs post-birth are not a naturally inherited trait… i feel rather, well, overwhelmed, slightly deceived–like something that was silently promised to me has now been taken away. and at the same time, i totally understand why my mom did what she did, and i wonder if, when i have kids, i would do the same…

    (sorry to go off-topic, but this secret-keeping business is hard and this post made me understand more of my mom’s motivations…)

    Kellee May 28, 2009 at 11:41 am

    As someone who has had “epic boobs” my entire life, t’s not all it is cracked up to be. I was a B cup in 2nd grade, and it just became increasingly ridiculous from there. I know that “your body fulfilling it’s purpose” is not necessarily reassuring, but it could be worse. I’m 28 now, have not had any children, and already time has not been kind to the epic boobs, and I don’t have any children to show for it! LOL I know it is hard to watch your body change. I agree with the molded cup bras comment, they work well for me, if I can find them in the right cup size. They shape well, though. If only they all weren’t so expensive!

    Rebecca @ Playground Confidential May 28, 2009 at 11:44 am

    So I’ve just decided that I’m never going to wean L’il I. Nope. I’ll just hang on to the milk jugs, thank you very much.

    Jill May 28, 2009 at 11:53 am

    Oh great, so you can be a tyrant and have a great rack, too? That’s not really fair to the rest of us, is it? :-)

    Sarah @ BecomingSarah.com May 28, 2009 at 11:54 am

    I’m not at that stage of my life yet, so I can’t completely relate, but I CAN relate to Anonymous above. I, too, know someone who had implants post-babies and when I found out, I felt a little…horrified? deceived? offended?

    As time passes, I understand her motivations more and more, and I think it’s imperative that women like you and like her speak out and explain the emotions attached to the post-babies boobs. Because honestly, it makes women like me understand a little more. And there’s never any shortage of understanding in this world.

    Lynn May 28, 2009 at 11:54 am

    I’m with you — I’m back to my AA cup size and I miss my nursing boobs. I think I actually got up to a D cup at one point. CRAZY.

    I recommend Calvin Klein brand for small-size chests. I recently splurged on one of their bras and they shape and enhance…yet are totally comfortable! It’s a modern miracle.

    Jen May 28, 2009 at 11:54 am

    I am in the process of weaning right now and holy crap, what I wouldn’t give to have my pre-baby breasts back. A nice size and perky!

    The other night I was complaining to my husband about it. I said how I never thought I would be one for plastic surgery but now, if we had enough disposable income after someday child 2, I would totally have a boob lift. He looked at me like I was insane but it really is annoying trying to stuff the saggy things into a bra. My right side is also smaller than my left so the right side swims and the left side overflows. It sucks. I feel for you. I hate bra shopping now.

    TeacherMommy May 28, 2009 at 11:56 am

    Oh, I’m with you girl, I’m with you. The glory that was my rack during those pregnancy/breastfeeding/pregnancy/breastfeeding 2.5 years…

    What’s really sad is the collection of beautiful bras that no longer work.

    Though I was amazed to find out, when I went to a proper bra shop (not just a department store) that I’ve had size C boobs all along–so I most likely was a D or DD during those years! I just wasn’t wearing them correctly, and the number was a size too large. Tip: not only do you need to roll up the tube sock boobs, you need to grasp the band of the bra right at the side, under your pit, and heave all the mammary tissue hangin’ out uselessly over there into the center. You still need some good cups for support, but voila! Something to look at!

    (Of course, you, your doctor, and your hubby will always know what happens when all that support goes away…)

    Annie @ PhD in Parenting May 28, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    I love love love lululemon tank tops. I hate wearing bras. These tanks are flattering and do the trick.

    Anonymous May 28, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    I just weaned my second and the combined two years of nursing have taken a toll. A terrible toll. After I weaned my first, while less perky than my pre-baby almost B cup doesn’t need a bra boobs, I ended up with fuller larger boobs, almost a C cup. Now? I almost fainted when I got a glimpse of what they have settled into. Smaller than before babies. And flat. And irregular. I am determined to accept them, but I am having a hard time with the increased width on my lower half met with a deflated top. Either both bigger or both smaller would be the kinder transition.

    Wacoal makes great molded/padded bras. I just have to never take mine off anywhere there is a mirror. (T.J. Maxx has them.) But maybe I will give the jewelery a shot…

    Sarcastica May 28, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    Heh! You make me giggle. I’m sure I’ll face the same issue when I wean Nolan. But I think you can get inflatable padded bras?

    ClumberKim May 28, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    I had boob removed. On purpose. Over 2 pounds of it. Never regretted it for a second (and managed to breastfeed two babes afterwards too).

    I only wish I could have shared the wealth. When I suggested to my surgeon that he figure out the whole boob transplant thing he said he was sure that would get him a very, very early retirement.

    Molly C May 28, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    I’m more than happy to share. I’m 20 and an F. these puppies are NOT gunna be pretty when I have kids. I feel like I should start saving up for my boob lift now.

    I’d say go to a good bra place. I went to a place called Townshop (it’s well known in NYC) They take one look at you and find something awesome.

    Oh boobs.

    Her Bad Mother May 28, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    Ah, Sarcastica, sweetie: you are YOUNG. Yours will bounce back.

    Neo-Geek Girl May 28, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    I am a 34F right now… and every time I go on the pill again my girls grow bigger and and stay that way. I think the thing that scares me most about starting a family is WHAT IF THEY DON’T SHRINK AFTER? Clothes already don’t fit… All the cute clothes are not made for me.

    I think the grass is always greener… trade you lawns?

    Amy May 28, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    Hi. Your ass-double here who assholishly never comments (but I read!).

    I'm 42 and I find that I've developed deep empathy for those who cave to the temptation of cosmetic procedures. Boob jobs & Botox are things I'd never have considered when I was 32 and aging so gracefully.

    At 42, as my skin shrivles, loosens from my bones, and begins to slide off my face (down toward those now flimsy boobies that nursed 3 babes), I haven't done it, but I can see why people do.

    I can see it in the mirror every damn day.

    Janet May 28, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    Mine were a train wreck after I weaned my third baby. I was 35 at the time. Slowly, ever so slowly, they perked up. A little. I’m not so delusional that I would go braless — those days are over. But now they are less tube sock, more balled up ankle socks.

    The best thing I did for myself after weaning was go to a shop that specializes only in dainties and had a bra fitting. A woman measured me and then spent half an hour bringing me bra after bra until I found one that worked. Some of the bras were outrageously expensive (like $200+) but I managed to find one that was only $80. I still wear it all the time. And now that I know my actual size (I was wearing the wrong cup size) I can pick up reasonably-priced bras that fit properly from department stores.

    Trilby May 28, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    I’m 24 and have a 2 year old and a 7 month old. I couldn’t breastfeed for medical reasons. The boobs, they were a nice perky B cup before. Now they are saggy baggy elephant ears and settle into a C cup. Left bigger than right. HARRUMPH!

    On the bright side, I’m getting a boob job. Nothing drastic or unbalanced looking. Just filling in skin, if you get my drift. ;)

    ~Jennifer~ May 28, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    While my boobs are still big-ish, they are deflating and not where I remember leaving them.

    Next year we’re deciding whether to have another baby or not. Once that decision is made, we start saving for my boob lift. Not sure, but may have to have them inflated as well. Either way, they have gotten way too close to my belly button.

    No Mother Earth May 28, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    Am thinking plastic surgery looks pretty good right now. Oh God. Did I just say that I want plastic boobs?

    Kitschy Coo May 28, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    I have ‘epic’ boobs and I hate them. I’m a 32G now, a 36J when pregnant / nursing. You can’t imagine how ridiculous these puppies look on my 5’4″ frame, it’s a wonder I can stand upright. They also make me look fat, my husband actually said ‘Wow, you’re much thinner than I thought’ the first time he saw me naked (yes, it is strange I still married him). And they require 24hr scaffolding. Swap you?

    Badness Jones May 28, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    Mother Nature let me keep some pretty nice boobs even after nursing 2 babies, but she gave the wrinkled puckered skin of an elephant’s butt on my stomach. If my husband ever leaves me I don’t know if I’d ever have the courage to undress in front of another man….my tummy looks flat and fine when it’s safely contained in jeans, but once that zipper comes down….oi.

    Becca May 28, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    Totally feel you. I just weaned my baby girl and geez, my boobs look so sad. I never had boobs to speak of but when I was preggers and nursing, man I loved my boobs. I was proud of them. Now? I hide them in a padded bra.

    Kind of makes me want to get pregnant again just to have the boobs. heh heh

    Alyssa S. May 28, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    I also have "epic" boobs & hate them. I wasn't able to nurse either of my kids for medical reasons, but I couldn't imagine what my boobs would have looked like if I had! I was a D-cup by 5th grade & a DDD-cup by 8th grade. When pregnant, I just wore sports bras & when my milk came in my boobs were the same size as my head…thank goodness for sage tea & B vitamins! My son turned 1 last month, we're done having kids, and I'm hoping to have a reduction around this time next year. I'd love to be able to wear a button-up shirt, bend-over a table w/food on it without sticking my chest in something…

    Liz May 28, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    Have any of you checked out: Theshapeofamother.com?

    Amy K May 28, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    I’m nursing my first child now, and my boobs went from a 34C to an epic 34G. Don’t get me wrong, I love breastfeeding her, but a small part of me is looking forward to not resembling a ship’s figurehead anymore. I guess they’ll probably look like water balloons that have sprung a leak when all is said and done. Sigh.

    Her Bad Mother May 28, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    Liz – yeah. And I’m usually ALL about celebrating my body for what it is, AND whole-heartedly support other women celebrating their bodies, BUT:

    MAH BEWBS, THEYR TOOB SOX.

    Alison @ Cluck and Tweet May 28, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    My sister told me that I would some day be as popular as she was because I, too, would have large breasts like her and our mother. I’m still waiting. Both for the boobs and the popularity.

    Mr Lady May 28, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    Before kids, I had E.P.I.C. boobs. Like, I was 98 pounds with a D cup. They were awesome.

    Now the bulk of my flat c cup boobs reside in my armpits. Armpit boobs are not hot.

    Bad Mummy May 28, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    I remember crying when going bra shopping at the lovely age of 11. The Girls had arrived.

    The lingerie dept of your local bay or zellers is not a good idea. Neither is La Senza or the like. Get your butt to Sisters from your Sister, across from Honest Ed’s, and have those fabulous women measure you and find you something good. I spent about $300 on bras every 18 months or so, but dammit, you wear one every day, right?

    Joy May 28, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    I’ve nursed three babies for a total of about 55 months, and now, 8 months post-nursing, the girls have shrunk back to something almost approaching normal. Epic DD rack while nursing – I loved it, especially after the AA wonders *snort* I sported before. But, tube sock would have described them perfectly for a time. Now, thanks to an evil exercise DVD of which I can only do for 9 minutes at a time, and these uneven push ups they make you do, the girls are starting to perk up again, to something more rounded and less tubish. I will keep working out (intermittently) to the evil DVD, just for that benefit alone…

    Melissa May 28, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    I third or fourth the suggestion to go to a place with proper fittings. You’d written about money being tight so get the fitting and then shop online once you know what works on you, what band/cup size you are.

    I just finished nursing my 13-month-old. I started as a 34DD and finished as one too. But with a MUCH different shape. What was once somewhat perky now points downward. The nice teardrop shape I had before has been replaced by flat on top, heft underneath.

    I treated myself to a trip for an, ahem, milestone birthday and got a fabulous bra fitting. Some molded cup bras later (in the $50-65 range), I look better. Not pre-baby, mind you, but better.

    Honestly, if I had the moola and time, I’d get a breast lift. Just to put the nipples back to where they used to be.

    Goldfish May 28, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    Oh. First: I understand the feeling of wanting to accept your body, and still wishing you had someone else’s. And it hurts. Second: my husband now refers to my boobs as empty pantyhose. Not sexy. Not even close.

    Motherhood Uncensored May 28, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    Lime and the coconut, right here, sister.

    A moment of silence.

    Fear and Parenting in Las Vegas May 28, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    I think I was in the dressing room next door. Crying too.

    I know it’s gotten bad when my daughter has changed the lyrics to “Do your ears hang low” to “do your boobs hang low.”

    Ugh.

    badassdadblog May 28, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    I can’t empathize directly. My boob issues are quite different. But I’ve got some Jeff-Goldblum-As-Brundlefly ear hair here I’d love to see go away and never return. Where the hell did that come from?

    Nicole May 28, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    I completely understand. Check out my recent post in which I come to grips with my sadly deflated cleavage.
    http://girlinaboyhouse.blogspot.com/2009/05/episode-in-which-nicole-takes-her.html

    Two Hands Full May 28, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    I call mine the flappers. Except, rather than being able to commiserate, my 66 year old mother has a gorgeous, all-natural rack that belongs on a 24 year old woman.

    Yeesh. No inflaters here, but call me if you find one.

    petite gourmand May 28, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    Let’s not even talk about the pencil test.
    you could an entire box of Crayola’s under my toob sox and it would probably stay put…

    oh the things they don’t tell you BEFORE having children.

    Mom101 May 28, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    Underwire.

    That is all.

    blissfully caffeinated May 28, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    One word: Wonderbra.

    GingerB May 28, 2009 at 6:14 pm

    What?!? You guys are excited to give up your stained and dirty Medela nursing bras?? Doesn’t everyone love the the gray nursing bra? Why, I love mine so much I never remember to change it even before a doctor visit. Who cares if they can smell my racksack?

    My god, I can’t wait to get rid of the girls. Having started double D, making it to G was no fun. I’m still lactating now, but an actual reduction is a real possibility when we finish. Plus, I am giving up the pump! Free to a good home! Take the bamboo windchime too!!

    ewe are here May 28, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    I have to admit that I’m the opposite; I won’t miss the pregnancy/baby boobs. I just don’t like them on me; they don’t suit my frame.

    With all my pregnancies, including the current one, i’ve gone from an A to a C, and then back down to an A… and hopefully I will return to said A after my final wee one is born next month!

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