the pregnant boobs post

What’s Happening To My Body Book For Girls was very clear about the stages of breast development. There are five, and the last one, in the illustrations, is very complete-looking. I was pretty excited about getting there. When I read the book, I was twelve, and my body was full of secret promise. I might grow up to be a supermodel! I sometimes sketched myself as the adult I imagined I’d be. In these sketches, I had long, straight pale hair, even though my current hair was tangled and dark. It just seemed like things would be really different then.

But after I went through puberty, things…weren’t. Where were my breasts? I had been promised some breasts! God clearly owed me a couple, in exchange for the raging period that menaced my favorite white pants and the horrifyingly uncool world of extra-thick sanitary pads. Instead, God, or perhaps it was the boob fairy, passed me by and awarded a magnificently extravagant pair to my best friend, who had until then resembled a delicate blond pixie herself. Now she was alluring and irresistible to boys.

(is this the boob fairy? source)

“So,” said a boy I had a crush on at camp, after we’d escaped together into the night to sit by the moonlit river and share our teenaged souls, “are your boobs, like, really little? They look kinda little.”

Well, then.


The indignities didn’t stop there. Some of you may remember my bridal boob stories. For example, the one about me trying on my wedding gown: As I twirled in romantic slow-motion in front of the fitting mirror in my billowing wedding gown, the saleswoman remarked, “We’re going to need to do something about the chest…” She stopped me mid-twirl and gave it a poke. “Are you actually wearing a bra right now?” she said, in disbelief. I was.

(better chicken cutlets. source)

One bra, as it turned out, was not nearly enough. Two sets of cloth chicken cutlets were inserted into the bodice, and by the time the seamstress was done, my dress, when I stepped out of it, had a truly impressive figure. Sort of a Marilyn Monroe va-va-voom! We looked nothing alike, actually, my gown and I, and I felt a little self-conscious in its presence, as though it might be eying me skeptically, as I shivered in my underwear, and feeling that it deserved better.

“What should happen,” said the saleswoman, making a little joke and looking at my maid-of-honor (that same best friend from childhood), “is she should give you some of her breasts! Right?! She doesn’t need all of that, and you sure do!”

It is maybe interesting (if you’re interested in stories about other people’s boobs, or lack thereof) that I didn’t develop some sort of complex, based on all of this. I attribute the fact that I didn’t almost entirely to my big nose, and how much of my body image energy I had to expend worrying about that. I didn’t agonize over the size of my breasts, but I always had a vaguely disappointed feeling about them. Like, well, this didn’t work out optimally. Maybe we should get a consultant in here and see if we can work up a strategy to improve performance. I always sort of hoped that things would improve. I gained some weight, and my breasts made a valiant effort to fill a B cup, without success.

And then I got pregnant. And of course, I wasn’t thinking about my breasts, I was thinking about the fact that my entire life was going to change, and holy shit, how do you even begin to prepare for that?? But then, in the midst of all the existential inquiry, as I started reading about the changes my body would experience, my heart soared. I was slated to gain two whole pounds of boob weight!! This was going to be epic!

(epic! source)

On the pregnancy messageboards, women were already complaining, midway into the first trimester, about how huge their breasts were getting. “Ugghhh…I had to buy ANOTHER bra!! They are SO GIANT now. My cleavage is out of control!!”

I had never been fortunate enough to experience cleavage of any kind, let alone the kind that had gone wild. I couldn’t wait.

“Your breasts are definitely bigger,” said Bear, who knew this was how pregnancy worked and was dutifully watching my body change, with maybe a hint of gentle eagerness when it came to the breast situation. But his comment had that tone people use when they say to each other, “It looks like you’ve lost weight!” when they just feel they should say something and the other person doesn’t actually look like they have.

I barfed my way through the first trimester and emerged into the second full of hope. Onward! The months flew by, as I hurried to assemble something resembling a nursery and get my career in shape (still trying!). My belly expanded enormously, and suddenly, I desperately needed maternity clothing. I needed pants with those extremely high secret waist-bands that reminded me of old Jewish grandfathers who have moved to Florida and now belt their sporty white pants just below their nipples. What I didn’t need was maternity bras. Nope. My old, ratty, padded ones fit just fine. Well, not just fine. There was still a gap there, where my boobs could not fill the whole cup. My cup STILL did not exactly runneth over. It ranneth significantly under.

(but maybe it’s half full? source)

I’m in the third trimester now. My belly is bold and proud and round. Inside it is a little girl who will possibly experience some disappointment when she hits puberty one day. The women on the pregnancy messageboards are very upset about how colossal their boobs have become. And I am thinking that it’s probably about time for me to get over these little boobs of mine. They seem to like being the way they are, and honestly, I have to give them some credit for that. There are many advantages of course, to having small breasts. I know, I know, I’ve written before about the perks, shall we say, to remind myself and everyone else.

But I’m not going to sit here and give myself a stern lecture about gratitude and the subtle joys of small-breastedness. Instead, I’m going to hand in the towel and simply acknowledge that my boobs have won. Their will is stronger than mine. Not even pregnancy can shake their persistent commitment to being exactly who they are. And come on, that’s pretty impressive.

So I’m willing to call it quits, on the condition that I can feed my daughter, which, I hear, is an important part of the point of having breasts in the first place, anyway.

Still, I hear that when the milk comes in they get suddenly very large…

No. I’m not going to think about it. It’s about time I stopped.


This piece is adapted from the version it appeared in originally on Daily Life. I know I’ve mentioned the whole little breasts during pregnancy thing on this blog a couple times, but as usual, I felt compelled to then write a whole piece about it. You know, get it off my chest for good :p

*  *  *

Anyone else got a pregnancy boobs story? Are you one of the people whose breasts get enormous? Of course, non-pregnant boob stories are welcome as well.

Unroast: Today I love the way I look in soft gray, soft fabric. I just want to be comfortable right now!

Here’s a short hair pic from a reader (I keep dropping the ball on reader pics, but remember that you’re always welcome to send me one of you eating cake or you with your new short hair cut, and I will publish it, because I love to share these)!

Patricia told me: My hair has been many lengths in my life. Like you I have a love/hate relationship with it. Although I have had short hair before I had never buzzed it. One of the reasons was the idea in the back of my mind, that I might have a funny shaped head. As it turns out I don’t ! My 9 year managed to share the headlice he picked up at school with me, and as I  was basically to lazy too do the whole nit pick thing with both of us, I shaved us both down.

I, of course, love it! Thank you for sharing these, Patricia!!






Kate on May 13th 2013 in being different, body, pregnancy

42 Responses to “the pregnant boobs post”

  1. Ashley responded on 13 May 2013 at 10:46 am #

    Being a 32B, I have no idea what cleavage is like. Maybe when I get pregnant, I’ll know.

  2. Marie responded on 13 May 2013 at 10:54 am #

    I’m one of the ones that isn’t super happy about bigger boobs during pregnancy. Honestly, they are just inconvenient and uncomfortable. And then you have your three year old look at you on the couch during snuggle time and poke at your larger bust and say “what is this called?” “A breast…???!” “Oh… And it bounces, like this?” With more poking. And you can’t laugh, for fear of encouragement. So now I need to find some crew neck shirts, I guess.

  3. Call Me Jo responded on 13 May 2013 at 11:02 am #

    I had told my husband that getting bigger boobs would be the one advantage of being pregnant. At 37 weeks , I wholeheartedly regret saying that. They hurt, they are heavy, I have to wear a bra when I sleep, and they show no signs of slowing, only in producing more stretch marks. In retrospect, if my breasts had been recalcitrant and decided to stay small, I’d have been much more comfortable. As it stands, I’m worried what will happen once the little guy gets here and things really balloon. I miss my gravity-defying, perky little boobs.

  4. onebreath responded on 13 May 2013 at 11:17 am #

    “Not even pregnancy can shake their persistent commitment to being exactly who they are. And come on, that’s pretty impressive.” – I love this! May we all come to that kind of self acceptance.

  5. Julie responded on 13 May 2013 at 11:29 am #

    You worded it well: vaguely disappointed. It wouldn’t be so bad if people/coworkers didn’t make comments like “you look 14″ when I’m actually 28 (while nobody has mentioned bust size, I’m sure it’s one factor). And it’s so hard to find clothes that fit a tiny bust with large hips, that I’ve been dabbling in sewing my own. I’ve always worn too-large bras because of denial, and because I refuse to shop in the kids section. But last month I gave in and bought my first bra that fits without gaps — a 34AA from LulaLu. Pregnancy won’t make any difference, judging by my mom who shares my figure.

  6. AmyK responded on 13 May 2013 at 11:48 am #

    Congratulations on your pregnancy :) I had boobs with a capital “B” in the third grade already. But then, I was also the fattest girl in school. Didn’t I know that one ought to be thin with big boobs? The nerve of me. My boobs got even bigger when I was pregnant. I have two daughters, aged 10 and almost 8. My 4th grader wears a bra now. Hooo boy.

  7. RitaMarie responded on 13 May 2013 at 11:50 am #

    As someone who is far too endowed, I say that you are truly blessed.

    “Instead, I’m going to hand in the towel and simply acknowledge that my boobs have won. Their will is stronger than mine.”

    Creative thought and writing at its best.

  8. Molly responded on 13 May 2013 at 12:07 pm #

    My breasts have always been neat little 32As. Until I got pregnant when I, like you, looked forward to suddenly having cleavage. Well, also like you, my breasts barely got any bigger (though my ribcage expanded hugely!). Even when I was nursing (and, I’m proud to say, I nursed my daughter with my teeny boobs for 15 months) they were never large by anyone’s standards but my own, barely filling out a 32B bra. And now that my girl is weaned, they’ve actually gotten SMALLER than they used to be. But that’s okay. After seeing them nourish my daughter for so long, I’m actually rather proud of them. I only wish I’d learned to love them a little earlier!

  9. Kim responded on 13 May 2013 at 12:14 pm #

    My boobs didn’t really change much with either of my pregnancies. But when my milk came in, whoa nelly.

  10. Raia responded on 13 May 2013 at 12:38 pm #

    I had pretty average size breasts before getting pregnant, like a 32C. They got bigger during pregnancy, up to a D and then a bit bigger after my daughter was born (I only wore nursing tank tops, so I have no idea what size they were). I was fully expecting them to shrink after my daughter stopped breastfeeding, but they actually got a bit bigger yet, 32E. I kind of miss the smaller breasts – feeling like I could go without a bra occasionally. I will say that breastfeeding gave me a whole new appreciation and awareness of my breasts. Whatever size they happen to be, they did a pretty amazing job of feeding my baby :) .

  11. The Advicist responded on 13 May 2013 at 12:52 pm #

    Oh the joys of being a woman! I’m really enjoying your pregnancy series, it’s so refreshing to hear the truth first hand. Can’t wait to hear what difference feeding makes!

  12. Becca responded on 13 May 2013 at 2:02 pm #

    I am just about 21 weeks pregnant and have gone from my aa to an a cup. Haha, I feel your pain! Thanks so much for sharing this.

  13. Liz responded on 13 May 2013 at 2:34 pm #

    I was on the smallish side before I got pregnant – go up to a B every month right before my period, and then back down again afterward. The first thing that made me realize that I was pregnant was that my boobs got big, and *changed shape*, and stayed that way! Husband LOVES it, but I laugh at him because when I wear tops to show off the cleavage that I’ve never had before, he gets all nervous about other men ogling me. I’m in my sixth month, so we’ll see how it goes from here…

  14. Kate responded on 13 May 2013 at 2:47 pm #

    @Call Me Jo
    Interesting! I mean, also, I’m sorry that they’re so uncomfortable! But I also just really wonder why some women’s body’s do this and other’s don’t. I know women who said they were an A cup when they got pregnant and quickly became a DD. I can’t actually imagine that experience at all– but apparently it’s not all fun and cleavage!

  15. Kate responded on 13 May 2013 at 2:49 pm #

    Your husband’s reaction cracked me up
    I hope Bear wasn’t looking forward too much to the increased boobs…People always talk about how men LOVE this aspect of pregnancy, and there’s a part of me that’s like “why can’t my body deliver on the fun part?” But also, the belly’s pretty damn fun… :-)

  16. Annie responded on 13 May 2013 at 2:52 pm #

    Mine were always average, I guess. And I was a little concerned when they didn’t get much bigger during pregnancy (will I still be able to feed the little guy?? turns out I was, thank goodness).

    But the real fun came once breastfeeding started. You start to see your boobs’ “personalities” in ways you never imagined! Lefty is the overachiever of the pair, and righty’s turned into a major slacker. So while one breast is now bigger than ever, the other actually shrunk. Good lopsided times, for sure. :)

  17. Kate responded on 13 May 2013 at 2:53 pm #

    LOL!!! This is definitely an aspect of the whole having a kid experience that I hadn’t thought of…

  18. em responded on 13 May 2013 at 4:06 pm #

    When I first was pregnant, my breasts got a bit bigger – until about 2 days after birth, when they went CRAZY. They got so big so fast I got giant stretch marks (which my entire abdomen had avoided). They have also stayed (years later & same weight) a c/d cup (down from f) when previously I had been an a. Never got the same symmetry back though.

    So funny what you wrote about maternity waistbands and Jewish grandfathers :)

  19. Sari responded on 13 May 2013 at 4:57 pm #

    Popped in to comment on your unroast. Um… yeah, so I might’ve been ogling your ubercomfyawesome grey skirt but was too distracted by other conversations to say anything. Just so you know. ;-)

  20. Gwen responded on 13 May 2013 at 4:59 pm #

    I totally get this. My whole life I’ve been small just waiting for my cleavage to appear. When I had my first at 25 I eagerly waited for my breasts to grow, but it was a no go. But, importantly I was able to breast feed. However, even then they didn’t really grow. Disappointing to say the least. I’ve since had 2 more children and even though my breasts never really grow in pregnancy (with the third my nipples changed though), they actually do while I’m nursing. In fact, my sister got married 3 months after my third was born and I was exploding out of the top of my dress. So, I guess there is a first time for everything.

    Now my youngest is 4 and the first place I loose weight is in my tiny little 32As. But it’s all good, I’ve learned to embrace them. Incidentally, you might want to check out two bras: timpa duet (unpadded Demi bra, all lace, very sexy) and the Natori Feathers plunge bra, which is my favorite bra of all time. No gaps in the cups, very light padding.

  21. Kate responded on 13 May 2013 at 6:14 pm #

    right back atcha– your outfit was amazing!

  22. Sari responded on 13 May 2013 at 6:23 pm #

    Thanks! Maybe next time you see me I’ll be able to get info my pockets…

  23. Sari responded on 13 May 2013 at 7:10 pm #


  24. Claire responded on 13 May 2013 at 7:28 pm #

    I’m with you on both the waiting hopefully for breasts as a teenager (which never really came), and waiting hopefully during pregnancy for the breasts I was GUARANTEED to get, right? But no, again, they got a little bigger but I still didn’t fill put even the smallest nursing bra I could find. Having just stopped breastfeeding after 13 months, I have realised they actually DID get a bit bigger: because now they are smaller again.

    Just a tiny word of caution though: even though breast size doesn’t usually have anything to do with ability to breastfeed, very occasionally it does. I had lots of trouble with milk supply at first and I think it was because of my breasts: if you’ve got underdeveloped (not just small) breasts like me, it can be a bit hard to get your supply up. But I succeeded, just needed a bit of extra support from an expert or two. Just thought I’d mention this – you can google “underdeveloped breasts breastfeeding” if you want to check on this for yourself.

  25. Sheryl responded on 13 May 2013 at 8:02 pm #

    Changes in the boobage is one of those things about pregnancy that make me a little bit uncomfortable. The way I figure it, I already have to buy my bras at specialty stores. Getting bigger would not make me happy, and I hear a whole ton of sensitivity comes along with it.

  26. Jana @ 333 Hand Lettering Project responded on 13 May 2013 at 8:25 pm #

    I have and had the same problem. Embrace them, at least they won’t sag!

  27. jay responded on 13 May 2013 at 9:25 pm #

    Once you’ve had kids – breasts go from being a ‘cup’ to a ‘length’ .. ( . Y . )

  28. Kate responded on 13 May 2013 at 9:26 pm #


  29. Dane responded on 13 May 2013 at 9:56 pm #

    I’m not pregs, seeing as I’m only 20. But my boobs have decided to suddenly balloon on me! I was a bit of a late bloomer with puberty, but they’d been holding steady at a 34D for two years until about 6 months ago. Now I’m pretty sure I’m up to a DD at least, and I have no idea whats going on. Is this normal or am I having some kind of dire endocrine emergency? My girlfriend is trans*, could it be some kind of sympathetic reaction to her suddenly bouncy chest and new lady-hormones? WHAT IS HAPPENING

  30. Jade @ Tasting Grace responded on 13 May 2013 at 10:22 pm #

    I’m 22 weeks along and my boobs did get bigger pretty much immediately upon getting knocked up (though I wouldn’t say they’re ginormous). It is actually a bit of a pain, though, since I live in Asia and have to be modestly covered up and Asian tops really don’t accommodate larger sizes so I always have to wear something extra on top (which sucks in tropical heat). The one thing that does weird me out is that my nipples and areolas got super big (sorry if this is TMI). I suppose it’ll just take adjusting to, but I do find it weird.

  31. Maya responded on 14 May 2013 at 6:50 am #

    I was miserable at the (significant) quantity of breasts that I had as a teenager. Eventually, I got used to it- but the idea that they’d get bigger when I get pregnant is rather scary. The notion of finding a bra sounds difficult- it’s tough enough already.

  32. Johanna responded on 14 May 2013 at 12:10 pm #

    I am really petite (5’0, 90 lbs. or so) and as a young teenager assumed I had small breasts. Weirdly, it wasn’t until my cousin said “you’re so lucky!” that I realized that I *didn’t* have small breasts — in fact, I wound up being a 32C, which looked pretty big on my small frame. So let me tell you — it was not in any way exciting, nor did it seem to make a difference in how interested the boys I liked were in me. The only thing I got out of it was that construction workers yelled breast-related things to me, which I hated. My friends were mostly Asian, which made me feel even more freakish. I really would have liked to be small-breasted.

    Moving on… when I was pregnant with my first child, I had that breast explosion happen toward the end of the pregnancy, and it got worse after I gave birth and was breastfeeding. I didn’t even know *what* size I was, just that none of my bras fit, and none of the nursing bras that *did* sort of fit were at all attractive. The worst thing, actually, was that my breasts were no the same size as *each other* — one got much bigger and produced more milk than the other. Sigh. My husband said it was like having the best of both worlds. :) I actually had to buy a silicone chicken cutlet (at least, that’s what it looked like) to stuff in one side of my bra so I could look symmetrical. Sexy, right?

    Then, after I stopped nursing my youngest… my breasts not only evened out, they shrunk! They actually became smaller than they’d been when I was a teenager! My dream came true — I was between an A and B cup! Also, I could throw out the chicken cutlet. All was well.

    That is the story of my breasts. I’m not sure what the moral of the story is. Possibly that we all worry too much about our breasts and/or body size in general. Or maybe it’s that breastfeeding makes your dreams come true? That you should be careful to nurse equally on both sides during those first few weeks? Or that it’s cool to be small-breasted? I have no idea…

  33. Sarah responded on 14 May 2013 at 12:18 pm #

    I hear ya, sister! I’m just shy of halfway through my pregnancy and I’m still an A 3/4 cup (not quite a B…sad). The girls have felt optimistically tingly from time to time and my partner also says, “hey! I think they are bigger!” But they really aren’t. Toss in that towel! They are awesome little jewels! And I also hear that they get bigger when you start breastfeeding, which I also really want to do!

  34. m park responded on 14 May 2013 at 12:43 pm #

    Hilarious post, brightened up my day!

    When I got pregnant, I noticed it in my breasts right away – so soon that I discovered I was pregnant before I was even 3 weeks in. But the first thing I noticed wasn’t that they were bigger, it was that they were SUPER tender. It was horrible. I had to wear pasties on my nipples every day to minimize their rubbing against… anything. And when it was cold, ughh. Sooo uncomfortable. Sounds like you’ve been spared that aspect of pregnant-boobhood, so thank your hormones for that!

  35. Tobasco responded on 14 May 2013 at 2:33 pm #

    I am also a member of the club. My cup size did not change one speck during or after pregnancy (I nursed for nearly three years). I have a friend who jokes her cup size is an “a minus” and she has over produced milk for both of her children. Cup size is determined by fatty tissue, not by milk ducts. Anyway, I was pretty disappointed about the boob thing too! Just to see what it was like to have cleavage, you know? I guess the plus side is that after weaning I was left with boobs that look pretty much the same as they did before. No sagging or deflated-ness here!

  36. Lexie responded on 14 May 2013 at 5:15 pm #

    Many interesting observation here, mostly that there are a lot more women than I would have guessed who think the same kinds of thing I do, like it’d be neat to know what it feels like to have cleavage. With the prevalence of padded bras (I’m almost 25 and just got comfortable with my 36A, no padding) I’d better there are more of us with cute, gravity defying boobs than we realize. Kate, ever do a post on this?

  37. Kate responded on 14 May 2013 at 5:53 pm #

    I did write this piece about padded bras:

  38. Stephanie responded on 14 May 2013 at 7:17 pm #

    Kate, I’m actually jealous of you! I’m 15 weeks now and my boobs are HUGE. I had small boobs my entire life, but when I started eating a crap ton to recover from an ED I gained a lot of boob weight. Then I got pregnant and they got even bigger. So coming from someone whose had big and small boobs, I would much rather have small ones! So much more manageable, and clothes are more difficult to shop for with huge boobs- things spill out all over the place. And pregnancy breast tenderness sucks when you have two huge boulders on your chest, haha. You look beautiful by the way, still waiting for my bump!

  39. Donna responded on 13 Jun 2013 at 4:55 pm #

    No mention yet of the “hard nipple factor” post babies?! I was a rather typical 34B prior to my three chick-a-dees…going HUGE in the boob mass department with pregnancy numero uno (a 34 DD) …then shrinking down to a 34 A (if THAT!) after baby number three. To be quite honest, I actually LIKE being small upstairs, and I’m seriously “blending into my environment” here in France…where small poitrines are the norm, not the exception! What is comical for me personally, is that nipples stayed in hard, erect feeding mode…and did not “go down”…weird to look “perky” in one’s fifties…and made me self-conscious in a bathing suit. However, I found these great silicone “nipple covers” that hide the “at attention” status most excellently!

  40. Eat the Damn Cake » i think i finally don’t care as much about the way i look responded on 03 Oct 2013 at 5:58 pm #

    [...] feel forgiving towards my body right now. It did a lot of crazy stuff recently. The stretch marks on my boobs just crack me up, because it’s not like I’m busty now. My breasts are like, “LOOK! We’re so HUGE all of a sudden!! Can you even believe how much [...]

  41. Kailey B responded on 05 Oct 2013 at 9:08 pm #

    I have 32G breasts but I’m 5’3″ with a 26 inch waist. My boobs swallow me whole. If you look up “top heavy” in the dictionary, you’ll see me. haha. I’m used to it and I have come to love my breasts (despite the horrid back pain…). However, I am absolutely terrified of them getting bigger during pregnancy. I think I’m more terrified of my boobs getting bigger than I am of actual childbirth.

    It’s also funny that my sister (15 months younger than me) was always flat chested and even ended up getting implants last year. I guess I stole her share of the boob genes when I was in the womb or something.

  42. Ana responded on 25 Nov 2013 at 8:08 pm #

    Mine are huge at 35 weeks. H cup for Humungous Hat sized hooters (I have to thank my mum for the description)
    Big boobs are not all they are cracked up to be.
    I worry less about not being able to feed my bub but more about accidentally smothering it when I try!
    There is something so wrong about having to pay $65 for a bra that even my nana wouldn’t wear for its sheer lack of any sex or visual appeal. Saying that its so very comfortable.