I was the seventh grade girl who stared in the mirror and waited. In English class, the boy I had a crush on asked me how I knew the difference between my back and my front. I wore baggy bras I didn’t need and despised my lack of endowment.
Can anyone relate? Back then it was not only hurtful to have others criticize something that I had absolutely no control over, but deep inside my 13 year old heart it also planted seeds of disdain for my body. I began to look at my body differently. Critically. At the end of the day, there wasn’t anything I could do to change the size of my breasts and perhaps that’s what angered me most.
Fast forward to the age of 26. I learned that I was pregnant. My mom breastfed and I had always planned on doing the same. But, once again I doubted it would be possible with my, um, shortfalls. When BQ was born, she was perfect to me. The Doc placed her in my arms and I was in love. She began to fuss and I awkwardly fumbled to lower my gown and nurse. In that moment, something changed. She latched on, ate and fell fast asleep and those years of thinking my breasts were a failure slipped away. Perhaps this body I’d despised was capable of something beautiful.
I nursed all three of our babies for a year, and would have happily nursed longer if they had chosen to do so. BQ may have had five bottles, Molé none, and my Bubby only those required during his ten days in the NICU. I’ve never made a bottle of formula in my life. Am I bragging? No. I’m celebrating. My body nourished, soothed and provided for my babies. This body that I had always found lacking turned out to be more than able. No mastitis, no supply issues, no latch problems, never a clogged duct, no cracking, no bleeding, no pain. Just chunky, delightful babes to pull in close in a way that was sacred between the two of us. What a gift.
Breast feeding also helped me to heal emotionally as I processed having surgical births. When I would hear women share about babies practically flying out of their bodies with one push, but struggling to nurse, I felt normal. We all have our own struggles, stories and journeys. As women and as mothers and it’s not about focusing on our shortfalls and imperfections. It is about celebration all along the way.
So yes, I am choosing to celebrate boobs today. I’m so grateful that despite my mistreatment of them, they stepped up to the plate. I will forever treasure the photos of the beautiful cheeks, thighs, arm rolls and other delicious parts of my baby’s squishy bodies that they enabled.