4.11.2010

BFAR, Breasts, and Body Image

This post is participating in the Body Image Carnival being hosted by Melodie at Breastfeeding Moms Unite! and MamanADroit who will be posting articles on themes pertaining to body image all week! Make sure you check out their blogs everyday between April 12-18 for links to other participants' posts as well as product reviews, a giveaway, and some links to research, information and resources pertaining to body image.

As a BFAR mother it isn't easy to admit to yourself or others that there could possibly be any draw backs to breastfeeding.


Every Woman who has ever been told that she may not be able to breastfeed knows the relief, pride, and joy at being able to breastfeed, whether exclusively or with the aid of at the breast supplementation systems. The months before birth are filled with constant reading and research, and many prayers that you will be able to instantly sooth and satisfy your baby unaided and with the fluidity and grace that nature intended.

For me in particular, the fact that my body is able to exclusively breastfeed is nothing short of a miracle to me and I thank the gods and goddesses every day that I have had this experience. Because it wasn’t always a given for me I feel as though I get to appreciate breastfeeding so much more than I would had I never had my reduction surgery, or been told that I may not be able to breastfeed because of it.

Every milky smile, every ounce my baby gains, even the dark wet circles that occasionally appear on my shirts are sources of great pride for me. They are each their own triumph and success. They are each a sign of my power and worth as a woman.

And yet, the many and varied reasons I had for undergoing breast reduction surgery did not simply go away the day I became a mother. The growth in size of my breasts during pregnancy and in breastfeeding is no less uncomfortable and undesirable to me just because they are suddenly functional.

Regardless of my husband's reassurances, and my son's health and happiness it still bothers me that my breasts are now only 2 cup sizes away from what they were pre surgery. All of the dainty dresses, tops, bathing suits, and bras that I had delighted in after my recovery are once again off limits to me, and the stress and pain of the surgery and my recovery feel as though they were for nothing.

Just as it did before my surgery, clothing makes me feel like a shapeless blob, as though with these massive breasts preceding me into every room the rest of my body, my personality, my entire self just melts into the background.

As proud as I am with myself for meeting all of my breastfeeding goals, I am none the less disappointed with my body for changing so dramatically, and disappointed with myself for being disappointed, for being so vain. I have trouble accepting that my size and shape are signs of fertility, motherhood, and womanhood, and that I should be proud of what my body has been able to do in the last year.

5 comments:

lulusparrow said...

I love this post!! You are just so real! I can relate to having my breasts enter a room before me!! Great post!!!

Melodie said...

I can't imagine the frustration you must feel sometimes over this. Like Lulusparrow says I love how real you are here. It leaves one kind of speechless in a way. I LOVE that you are able to successfully breastfeed but I am so mad for you that your breasts grew almost all the way back. Maybe they'll shrink again when you stop though. I suppose it's a possibility. Thank you so much for participating in the carnival!!

Maman A Droit said...

Thanks so much for sharing. While I haven't had a reduction (despite my mom suggesting it anytime I complain) I can definitely relate to feeling negative about being large-breasted. I got up to letters I didn't know bras came in, and even now, 9 months later, I have to special-order expensive bras from a limited # of online stores. It's so frustrating feeling like a "freak" because of your breasts. It's nice to know I'm not the only well-endowed woman who maybe sometimes wishes she wasn't, but is still grateful for what those breasts can do!!

Shana said...

I don't remember exactly when my breasts went back to pre-pregnancy size, I want to say it was somewhere around a year, when I cut down to nursing about 3 times a day. Not sure if this helps or not, but I assure you they will shrink back down!

Alexandra said...

While I don't have the same problem, I do have the same feelings about other parts of my body. It's so hard feel good about yourself in the society we live in. With the "perfect" girl plastered everywhere.

And mine did shrink back down after I stopped nursing my first...so there is hope!