When I trot out the idea of my dislike for my postpartum breasts to my close mom friends, I do so in that tentative way that a lot of women do, as if to say, "am I wrong here? Am I imagining things? Could it be that they're actually OK?" With my close female friends (and husband), I am in some ways seeking their opinion. But with anyone else, well, I could give a you-know-what. There are many reasons I don't care if you "still like" my postpartum boobs and most of them have to do with the fact that they were amazing, wondrous sources of nourishment for both of my children's first two years of life.
There's this weird thing that happens when a group of beautiful, loving, hard-working women get together and start talking about the more intimate things in life – especially if they're all moms. Each of us will be looking across the table, thinking about how all the other women are killing it in ways we just don't know how. Instead of focusing on how much we are kicking ass in this mothering thing, we start to roll out our defects – as mothers, as women – like we are in a confessional. One by one, each woman will easily admit to some aesthetic fault like she is a defective object, made even more so by the war wounds of motherhood. We slide easily from the topics of all the ways in which we feel guilty about failing our children to the ways in which our bodies are below grade. I know it is my own damn fault but when I'm in these situations I can't help but joke about my saggy, baggy boobs.
At the same time, I am grateful and in awe of my postpartum boobs. I guess we have a confusing relationship with each other. I love the idea of them, of the feat that they've performed. I like the way they look in a bra and in clothes. I'm not too thrilled when I look down at them naked, and see their deflated shape, and the nipples that seem to point downwards like they've lost some kind of argument. And, like a big sister defending the little sister who only she can call a brat (and no one else) I will remain fiercely protective of them if anyone else (besides me) says something mean about them or implies that there's anything wrong with them.