Yes, These Are My Boobs and No, I'm Not Fixing Them
by Katie Smith
Photograph by Twenty20
Big-busted women run in my family and I'm no exception. When I was in 5th grade, my breasts blossomed faster than all the other girls in my class. I went from wearing a training bra to being a full C cup in less than a year. I was so aware I wasn't like everyone else and I wanted nothing more than to fit in. As far as my oversized breasts went, I hated them, which made me hate my whole body.
It wasn't long before I was in a D cup. I needed an underwire bra with thick straps if I wanted any support at all. I was warned I needed to save my back. I felt like the only 12-year-old girl in the world who was going through this. I felt ugly and I deemed myself unattractive—all because of my big boobs.
When I had to change in the locker room with the other girls for gym class, I would smolder with jealousy over their small chests and cute little sports bras that I couldn't wear. I would think, If I had one wish, I would just wish for these to go away. I hid when I changed. I despised my cleavage—no one else had it and I didn't have the confidence to strip from my shirt into my gym clothes. I felt ashamed.
I fantasized about getting a breast reduction when I got older, thinking then I'd be happy. Then I'd be able to change in front of other women at the gym without hiding myself. Then maybe I would free myself of this burden.
When I was about 16, I started buying pretty bras. I found some with lace (and underwire and thick straps) and I would go home, try them on and begin to get to know the kind of body I was born with. Little by little, I stopped wishing to look like a different person. Thoughts of small breasts faded. While I wasn't in love with my chest, I'd stopped hating it—and myself—so much.
Then I got pregnant. Talk about changes.
My size D chest expanded to a GG. I remember shopping for nursing bras and the nice woman helping me said, "Oh, honey, that size is too small for you. You need a double G, but we don't carry that size. You have to special order them."
They are beautiful, they are real and they are mine.
Even though driving was difficult because my chest was so large it was hard to grab the steering wheel, I started to like them a bit more, as I thought they complemented my swollen belly.
When I breastfed, they grew bigger still. But I felt lucky I was able to nurse my children. My love for my chest grew a little more.
When I was lying on the table, as my midwife gave my postpartum exam, and she kept telling me she couldn't believe how big my boobs were, it didn't phase me. They were feeding my last child. I remember telling her I kind of liked them.
"You should," she said. "They are absolutely fabulous. Gigantic, but fabulous."
When I was done nursing and giving birth, and gaining and losing the baby weight, the same thing happened to my boobs that happens to all boobs after being pregnant and used as a food source over and over—they deflated. They were saggy and no longer what they once were. And yes, you bet your ass I would kill to have those perky size Ds that I hid in high school. Oh, if I could have them back, I'd love the hell out of them.
As I was looking at my breasts in the mirror a month after I'd breastfed my son for the last time, I thought, My 20-year-old self would be mortified. Why am I OK with this situation?
But here's the thing: These are my boobs and I'm not getting them done. I'm not fixing them, I'm not having them stuffed or lifted.
Have I thought about it? Of course. Would I feel sexier? Of course. Do I long to walk around in a tank tops sans bra and have them stand at attention on their own? Ummm, yes.
I'd be lying if I sat here and said I didn't care my once full, voluptuous breasts have been replaced by a set of sagging B cups. But they are my breasts. They are beautiful, they are real and they are mine.
Now, at 42, I love my boobs more than I ever have. I don't try to hide them under baggy clothes. I wear bikinis and don't cover them up. And believe you me, they aren't half as fabulous as they were when I was 16 and felt the need to hide them from the rest of the world.
I have a few friends who have gotten their breasts done and they look amazing. But I don't care anymore. This set is mine—they have fed my kids and I'm done hating parts of my body. I no longer have the energy to feel self-conscious about my many flaws.
I'll be damned if I am going to take something as a set of beautiful breasts for granted ever again.