I’ve taken issue with my boobs since I was 10 and they first appeared. That Chanukah, one of my gifts was a training bra and I was deeply disappointed. I had yet to move past playing with Barbie dolls and I had to start wearing support garments? Not OK. My strained relationship with my breasts continued into adulthood and reached its most contentious point after the birth of my first child. Now that my second kid is 6 years old, I have gained perspective, and I think I owe my postpartum boobs an apology about how I acted, and mistreated them, in years past.
Even as a chubby tween, I recognized that you, my boobs, were probably my best asset. You were the beacon of light in an otherwise self-conscious childhood. I wanted to be skinny so badly, but I also didn’t want to lose you. I may have stood out in dance class among my flat-chested friends, but when I caught wind of their envy of my C-cup, I recognized that a fullness of my chest was admirable. Then some kid nicknamed me “Swing-a-Tit” during a dodgeball game, and shame hung over me until I landed a grateful boyfriend years later.
As a breastfeeding mom, I appreciated the functionality of my boobs, but I never gave them their proper due. So I’d like to go on record here, apologizing to my postpartum boobs, for not singing your praises and for not supporting you — literally — in your hours of need:
Sorry About The Sports Bras...
I know they didn’t hold you up as much as you needed them to, but they were all I could bother putting on in those last few weeks of pregnancy and especially when I was just sweating through everything due to my enormity. You deserve proper cup separation and I failed you by opting for a giant, but oh so comfy, uniboob.
...And The Nursing Bras
Functional, yet ugly, most nursing bras are built to provide easy access that I could navigate with one hand. They were structurally sound, and made me feel like I was wearing hospital clothing. Now, there are less matronly nursing bra options that I would have liked much better, but I’m sorry that, during the years I was breastfeeding my children, I couldn’t cover you up with something more fetching.
Sorry About The Biting
Those were my kid’s teeth, not mine. Nursing both children until they were around 2 years old did put you guys at risk for being bitten. But honestly, who could have seen that coming, really? I guess this is where the phrase “bite the hand that feeds you” comes from. I’m sorry. I should have given my toddlers more solids before letting them nurse.
Sorry I Quarantined You
I denied you the love and attention I enjoyed before motherhood. But see, breastfeeding is kind of a mindf*ck. How can I allow my boobs to be sources of food for my baby, and also serve as fun bags for my romantic partner? It just wasn’t possible. I appreciated your cooperation during this “no touching above the waist” dry spell.
Sorry About Not Pumping That Time
Yeah, that really hurt. I know. I just thought I could make it a few more hours without you guys turning to boulders. It’s just that I hated carrying around that breast pump, and if it meant I didn’t have to shlep that machine (and its heavy ice pack) around for a while, I was willing to risk the pain of engorged breasts. I was thinking only of my convenience, and not your comfort. My bad.
Sorry Every Single Bra Was Too Small…
The size of my breasts have fluctuated so much over the course of two pregnancies and over four collective years of breastfeeding. Most of my bras don’t fit perfectly, and while some may be too small in the cup, they’re too big in the band. So I just stuff you guys into whatever won’t show under my shirt, throw a scarf on to hide the side boob bulging out, and hope nobody notices. Sorry about that.
…Or Too Big
See above. I should probably ditch the bras that are loose on you now, but I think the part of me that keeps these baggy undergarments is hopeful you might fill them out again.
Also, bras are expensive and I hate having to replace them, especially since, if you want to do it right, you need to set aside hours to try billions of them on. I have no time for that, so I’ll just cover you up in these sacks and hike you up throughout the day as you creep lower to my navel.
Sorry I Keep Dropping Crumbs Down There
Before kids, I had more of a shelf-like situation. There was a fullness to my rack that prevented wayward granola from dropping into my bra. But now, after two kids, there is a chasm where there once was cleavage. I used to be able to brush the crumbs from my avocado toast off the round top of my bosom, but now, they drop down into the valley between my winnowed breasts, collecting like rubble at the bottom of my stretched-out bra.
Sorry I Don’t Show You Off Much
I mean, you still got it. You just need more arranging to settle into your most flattering shape. And I’m older now, so I don’t seek that attention I so desperately craved in my 20s when I spent more time worrying about how I looked rather than how I acted. But with two children, for whom I absolutely have to impress to act right, my focus is more on shaping their future than shaping my figure.
Sorry (Not Sorry) I Didn’t Give You Names
I guess some people name their girls. I’m just not cute that way. I didn’t want to get so attached to you. It’s like how I didn’t want to find out the gender of the baby both times I was pregnant. What if something terrible happened, and I couldn’t bring the kid to term, and now it had this name, this identity? That freaked me out.
So, sorry nameless boobs. You served me well, in sickness and in health and in breastfeeding most of all. You’re still along for the ride, which I know is a wonderful thing, given how many women I know are battling breast cancer. Sorry I didn’t put you on a pedestal, especially at your finest (seriously, you brought your A game in that ninth month of pregnancy). But, like my fingers and shoulders and earlobes, you were there when I needed you, and still there when I didn’t (like those times I tried to sleep on my stomach). You have done your job — the most important job I have ever had — nourishing my children, and paving the way for them to thrive.