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.”
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!
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
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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!!