Because we women really need to talk about it
Five years ago, my breasts were what and how I wanted them to be: a perky B cup. They were neither too big nor too small, and were buoyant enough for me to go braless. Today, my perky B-cup is nothing but a distant memory. Had I known gravity would take full effect on my chest postpartum, I would’ve taken photos to remember them by ?
So here’s the bitter truth: carrying another human being changes your body in both wonderful and dreadful ways. Dreadful because your body can stop feeling like your own. “Shallow,” you might say. But women who have experienced extreme changes with their body they weren’t prepared for can agree that waking up to breasts that now droop to your stomach (also called breast ptosis) is both sad and scary. Such changes can negatively impact a woman’s confidence and body image—well at least that’s what happened to me.
My breasts have become so droopy, they look like deflated water balloons—or as I’ve learned from the urban dictionary, two rocks in socks. The lack of bounce makes it challenging to wear a bra in the morning; I’ve to scoop them up and secure in place with a wired undergarment but even with a wire they can’t stay put (update: pad-free sports bras are the answer!). Sure, I could’ve exercised more, tried more creams that promise to lift better and faster. And I did; I signed up for prenatal yoga classes and massages, slathered all kinds of balms, creams and serums that guarantee firmer skin but, not a single one worked.
Three months into pregnancy and my body had stayed the same: breasts still a perky B cup, skin free of stretch marks. But soon as I hit my fifth or sixth month, my bump started to show with 36C twins to boot and thighs thick AF. On my eighth month, my breasts grew to a 38C and my body expanded in ways I could never have imagined (pre-baby weight plus 40lbs, give or take). Meanwhile the lower half of my body experienced edema or swelling that from a size 6, my feet literally ballooned to a 9.
By the time I gave birth, I lost nearly half the weight I gained while my chest grew and shrunk by the day as I breastfed my newborn. I should’ve known that the constant changes my breasts were going through would be to blame for the rock-in-the-sock look later on. So could I have done anything to prevent it? Per parents.com, “How you wind up is really the luck of the draw, determined by factors such as heredity, weight gain and how big your breasts got while you were pregnant. Lots of women end up smaller, some end up bigger, and a lucky few stay the same.” And because chest muscles rest atop your chest and not underneath it, creams, lotions and even exercise won’t help.
It wasn’t so easy to accept how my chest (or my body) looks today, some days I stay up all night Googling non-invasive procedures to give my girls a lift. Maybe because “breasts are a symbol of femininity and desirability,” points out a Vogue editor who shares the same sentiments about her not-so-buoyant breasts, that it’s been difficult for her and myself to accept our new form. And in as much as my partner showers me with compliments on the daily, there are times when I just don’t like what I see in the mirror.
But when I do look at my happy, healthy now 5-year-old, I’m reminded to be a little kinder to myself and the body that once carried and brought another human being into this world.
Besides, there’s always breast lift surgery to consider for when they droop further to the ground.
Art Cara Gamo