Okay, I’m not usually one to knock the healthy, beautiful body I was born with. I’m all about body positivity and embracing differences. I think it’s something we all need to work on to promote kindness, positive mental health, and make the world a better place. But can you give me a second to bitch and moan about something, please?
I am blessed/plagued with very large breasts. I wouldn’t say they are the most enormous breasts on the planet, but I am short with a very short torso, and my boobs pretty much occupy all the real estate from my neck to just above my belly button (maybe I’m exaggerating, but only a tiny little bit).
My breasts have caused issues for me from the beginning. I got them when I was just 10 years old, in fifth grade. I vividly remember the day when a group of kids surrounded me while I was sitting on a bench eating lunch. They began battering me with questions like, “Are they real?” and “Do you stuff your bra?” And those were the nicer questions. I think I’ve blocked the others out. I was mortified.
Soon after that, I took to wearing baggy shirts most days. But even after the other girls caught up to me, my breasts were a constant target, often the first thing people saw when they met me. I have been described more than once as “the black-haired short girl with big breasts.” The unwanted attention has sort of gotten better since I’ve become a mom and gotten a bit older. But my boobs are still a constant source of angst and frustration.
Let me count the ways:
No matter what I do, I get neck and backaches.
When I was 22 years old, I started getting spasm-y backaches, so I started practicing yoga. I’ve been doing it a couple days a week ever since. It’s helped, but no matter how strong my core is and how stretched out my back and neck are, I think I will always be prone to stiff necks, imperfect posture, and backaches — mostly on account of the two bowling balls weighing my chest down.
It’s nearly impossible to find a comfortable bra.
A few years ago, after one of my babies had cut down on his nursing, and my breasts were getting closer to their pre-pregnancy size, I treated myself to a trip alone to Victoria’s Secret to get a bra. Big mistake. I have no idea what I was thinking. First of all, as soon as I walked in, they measured me and told me I was a 34B. I haven’t even been close to a C cup, like ever. And then when I tried on a few bras (I didn’t take their advice at all, and started with the DDs), and found that I needed a bigger cup (duh!), they told me they didn’t carry anything over DD. For real. They are a bra store, people. Their whole job is to provide women with cute, comfortable bras, and yet they don’t have any for big-breasted women! WTF is that? And this is just one example. It is nearly impossible to find a properly fitted bra that doesn’t make me feel like I’m wearing a harness.
Shirts and dresses almost never fit right either.
I’m curvy, but I’m pretty average in size, wearing a medium in most tops and dresses. But if a top or dress has a bra shelf in it, or any kind of shaped area in which boobs are supposed to rest, I’m out. Button-up shirts will fit me great except at the boobs (I’ve popped out quite a few buttons in my day). Most of my shirts are kind of formless or droopy, which sucks. Every so often, I’ll find a form-fitting top that fits in all the right places, and then I’ll wear it out till it’s a shred of its former self.
My breasts make exercise that much more difficult.
Keeping a flat back during plank or push-ups is a joke. And any exercise where you have to fold yourself up — well, I end up having to push my boobs out of the way periodically, and it’s hot a mess. A good sports bra can get me through most runs, but it’s not always a pretty sight. And whenever I exercise, I have to be on guard that no pieces (or whole boobs) will pop themselves out to say hello.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding turn me into a freak of nature.
My breastfeeding breasts are so huge I can barely walk through a room without bumping them into something and subsequently spraying milk all over the place. The bigger breasts of pregnancy and breastfeeding are something that lots of women look forward to, but for big-breasted women, it’s filled with dread. And let me tell you, it can feel nearly impossible to get a teeny-tiny newborn to latch onto a monster-sized breast. It can be done, but it’s a real breastfeeding struggle we probably don’t talk about enough.
“Spilling” is real, and I can’t always help it.
I don’t think I have ever attended a yoga class where at least half of my boobs haven’t spilled out. And unless I want to wear nothing but turtlenecks, you might end up seeing stuff when I learn over to pick something up. I’m not doing these kinds of things to get attention! It just happens. Like I mentioned before, there is almost no bra that can properly contain large breasts, and we big-boobed ladies shouldn’t have to restrict our activities because of it. Boobs happen. Get used to it.
Boob sweat, heat rash, bug bites, and more!
More boob tissue = more sweat = greater likelihood of skin irritation. I have to be careful about what soaps and deodorant I use, especially in the summer, because I am more likely to break out in a heat rash or other fun stuff because of my big breasts. One summer I went hiking in a tank top, without insect repellant, not realizing I’d be attacked by some of sort of biting asshole bug. The bug bit me only on the boobs (told you those suckers get too much unwanted attention), and I was an itchy, blotchy, inflamed mess for weeks.
Now, I know that my breasts are just part of who I am, and that they are beautiful no matter what hardships they plague me with. My husband certainly thinks my breasts are where it’s at, voluminous size and all. And when my babies were fed solely from the milk my ginormous breasts were producing, I was totally proud of my boobs then. (Side note: You don’t have to have large breasts to produce tons of milk!). Sometimes I’ll catch them out of the corner of my eye when I’m changing, and think, Oh, they really are pretty gorgeous and remarkable. You’ve really got it going on, girlfriend.
But other times? I really kind of wish they were smaller. Even just one cup size would help. Or maybe two? Honestly, I’d just like a day, just one, to feel what it’s like to walk through this world without two huge watermelons strapped to my chest. I imagine I’d be gliding, light as a feather.
A girl can dream, right?