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Remember when the 6th grade girls started wearing bras, and even though I was just in 4th grade I reeeeally wanted one, too. I remember it so clearly. I had to have one. These girls were so cool and the boys liked them. I was as flat as flat could be but I NEEDED a bra. Stat. Thankfully, my mom took pity on me and bought me a training bra. Training? Boobs, really? What kind of scam were you pulling back then? Are boobs like puppies?
When you finally did grace me with your presence, you were very modest. It was like you didn’t want to have others make too much of a fuss about you. You were unassuming, but I grew to really like you.
I referred to you as my “convertible boobs”. You see, I appreciated that you didn’t call attention to yourself and try to steal the show every time we walked into a room. Yet, at the same time, you allowed me to hoist you up as much as I could in order to achieve the occasionally desired oomph.
Ta, my family nickname, had her “ta-ta’s” when needed.
Then came pregnancy. Wow – you do know how to put on a show! I didn’t mind, this time, though. I started to like this extra voluptuousness, especially since I knew it was fleeting. Working out was a chore though. Trying to keep you in place, without knocking me out, was a workout in itself. Ooof. Double sports bras and all.
When our first daughter was born, you sure made me pay for trying to nourish her. Breastfeeding was my plan but you kept trying to derail it. Was it a test? You made me jump through hurdles. After two solid weeks of agony and utter pain, I passed with flying colors and you relented … allowing me to relish in the bliss that came next. (Despite four bouts of mastitis…Ouch!) Yet, breastfeeding fast became my joy each day, especially the 4pm feeding when Josselyn and I would cozy-up on the couch to feed and slumber.
The second time around you went easier on me. Thank you. Hillary was a champ, latching on moments after delivery. The warmth, intensity and connectedness of staring deep into her pools of blue-green eyes during our feedings is forever etched in my mind and heart. Hillary’s deep stare into my eyes was unflinching as if she was burning my image into her consciousness; the voice she heard from the womb now a loving vision inches from her angelic, sweet face.
My husband sure loved you. My girls definitely were into you. But as they say all good things must come to an end.
Of course, after breastfeeding two babies you sort of gave up on me.
Then you blindsided me! Breast cancer at 40.
Yet, somehow, I was so grateful to you. Despite my diagnosis, I remembered that you allowed me to do all the things you were part of my body to do. Something some other young breast cancer survivors sadly did not get a chance to do. I am so grateful my cancer came later. I was able to feed my girls, giving them the best nutrients and antibodies possible to have a leg-up in our world. I was able to feel my babies’ warmth against my body with skin-to-skin contact. Thank you!
You allowed me closeness with my husband. I will always remember that feeling. Oh yes. Thank you.
Now I have new, albeit reconstructed and numb, breasts. Though they don’t allow me any feeling, I find minor comfort in the fact that I now can pluck the occasional stray hair without a slight twinge pain. I don’t have to wear a bra if my outfit doesn’t require it or my mood doesn’t want it. I look curvier in a dress now without extra hidden “help”. My bra budget is greatly reduced allowing me more to save … or to spend on fun things for our little girls.
I was angry with you, at first, when I heard that I had to deal with cancer. I am not angry any more. You did your job. Very well, I might add. So I wanted to write you this letter to tell you, My Breasts, My “Girls”, My “Boobage”, that I appreciate you for better AND for worse. I want to share my gratitude, and so I say, “Thank you.”
P.S. My nipples survived the mastectomy surgery, so thank you for that, too!