TOLT #23 – Breast Envy and Mission Statements

Have you seen that movie Good Luck Chuck? In the movie he’s having sex with tons of different women and one girl tells him that he can’t touch her breasts because “they’re for the baby.”
Now this woman doesn’t have a baby and isn’t pregnant, but she is still alluding to a phenomenon that I like to call function over form. However, in our society we think about breasts a lot more in form over function.

It’s been almost a year since I stopped breastfeeding my youngest. It’s really hard to believe that it’s been that long and yet so short ago. He seems so much older now and yet I still feel him snuggle up to me in that same position from time to time and I half expect him to ask for milk. My breasts have meant different things to me over the course of my life and now I’m kind of trying to decide what their role is after being done with kids. This is just one of the many things I randomly think about when living and meditating on life. It plays somewhat into my mission statement that I plan to share below as a bit of a preview for the upcoming launch of my new site on September 1st and I hope you will join me. The full announcement of where I’m going will come this weekend and I will keep both sites up for a bit so that you can find me where you’re used to at first.

But, before I go any deeper into this post, I want to thank Amanda at Running With Spoons for her open forum to unload my breast issues with you today and for all the traffic she has supplied to my site and the great reads she’s brought into view. So, without further ado, enjoy another

The Story of My Breasts

When I was a young girl I dreamed of having breasts….until the time my mother took me shopping with my grandmother (my dad’s mom) and some strange woman measured me in the middle of a department store (like on the floor) while on vacation. After that point I always assumed that I had pretty average breasts and continued to buy bras without being measured so as to avoid the humiliation I had suffered at age 10! It wasn’t until I was in college and preparing for my first wedding that I actually had myself measured at Victoria’s Secret and found out that I was not a 34B as I previously thought, but a 32C….and things just kept going up from there. My max size has been somewhere in the E range when I was pregnant/breastfeeding. And even now I settle right around a 32 D or DD depending on the bra. The thing about having large breasts (for me) now and even before kids was that I had to decide what to do with them.

I thought a C was a huge thing back then.

I, like many a dumb college girl, assumed early on that breasts were to make you more attractive to men and therefore, I showed them off every chance I got. I’m not talking in the flashing for beads type way, but I definitely chose tight tops with deep v’s to take advantage of the attention. Triangle bikinis were my best friend in high school and college summers. I was tall and thin and tan and had large breasts. I felt on top of the world. My first trip to Wildflower Triathlon I even bared all and hugged a famous triathlete or two. I mistakenly thought that that type of act was me being in control of my own body. Instead, it was me letting someone else take pleasure in the sight of my body…my breasts. I ended up working for the Design College at my university as a nude model. There I felt a whole different appreciation for my breasts. They looked happy, perky, full, and colorful in the drawings. I started to feel like maybe they weren’t for show.

I remember still showcasing them at my first wedding and many a day during that marriage. I remember when we were trying to have a family wrestling with the thought of breastfeeding. It seemed like such an unnatural thing for me. My breasts were MINE and I wasn’t about to share them with some tiny creature. They were perky and I didn’t want them to flop around because some baby had used them up. Even after my divorce I wrestled with what these breasts were about. I started dating and again felt the urge to flaunt them. They were huge by now, at least to me, and I wore them proudly….or so it seemed. See, being an athlete, one thing I’d always secretly wanted was small breasts. It hurt to run with these monsters and no bra seemed to contain them just right…not even the pretty ones for day to day life.

My 21st Birthday….strong with big breasts?

Then I met my husband and he wasn’t a “breast man”. I mean, it was a plus in his book, but not the driving factor behind his physical attraction to me. When we got pregnant with our first son the obvious signs were there….I was late and my breasts had exploded in size. I really should have been able to figure it out.
During my pregnancy my husband’s family continually commented on the size of my breasts. A friend of mine told me that they were some of the most beautiful breasts she’d ever seen. I was excited at the thought of being able to breastfeed now and yet, terrified still that the horror stories that people had told me were about to come true. I didn’t want nipples the size of teacups or for them to turn dark or grow hair. I didn’t want deflated balloons or stretch marks (purple or white). I just wanted my old perky breasts back. Well, that didn’t happen….in fact, because I took fenugreek and pumped like crazy to prepare for my wedding trip and being away from my baby for a week, they just got bigger and bigger and bigger. I did all the things I could think of to protect them including wearing bras that fit tightly to keep them in line and supported, wearing sleep bras at night to keep them in place, and in general, just trying to keep them in order. What happened? They eventually deflated when he weaned and then perked back up slightly and then filled up again when I was pregnant again and then deflated and now are somewhat firm….but LOWER than they have ever been.

Yeah…that’s not my normal size.

There have been many times that I have visited this website and considered the laser bra lift procedure.  But, I always come to the same conclusion….it won’t change how I feel about myself. I worry a lot about how my sons will think about breasts in the future. Will it be form over function for them? Will they be like my husband and not really care? Will they be like the loads of other guys that wanted to see mine and millions of other women’s? Will they be like my first husband and be pro breastfeeding or push a girl into it because they experienced it? Will they be like my dad and forbid their wife to do it because it disgusted them?

I worry about the girls they will date and how they will think about their own breasts. Are they going to be overly concerned with selfies that showcase their breasts over their face? Will they be sexting pictures of their breasts to my children? And is it ever okay for a woman to want to show off her breasts? I mean, what’s really wrong with them being for form over function if you’re comfortable and in control of the situation? I’m back and forth on this issue all of the time.

I worry about breast cancer and losing my breasts. My dad’s mom (not biological) had a mastectomy the summer of my first wedding. She decided to go that route because my grandfather told her that he didn’t want to watch them take her a piece at a time. So, she went all in. My great grandmother on my mom’s father’s side had both of her breasts removed really young. Would I feel like a whole woman without my breasts as I’ve spent so much of my life focused on them?

When I go to concerts I’m sometimes envious of the women there who sport tank tops and no bra….I can’t get away with that like I did at 17. It doesn’t feel comfortable to me any more. I hear those same girls in the bathroom stalls clicking their phones and taking photos and I wonder which one of us has lower esteem about our breasts…the girl needing validation or the girl who wishes hers still faced north?

Then I consider purchasing the Enhancing Shape Bra by Soma. I also remember a commercial for a bra when I lived in Colorado that was said to “train your breast tissue back into place”. Apparently for some of us our tissue will migrate into upper back fat around that region and it can be forcibly pushed back into place over time. I even purchased Agnes in the hopes of maintaining their position during my runs. Sadly Agnes has proven to be not the perfect bra I thought she was. She is firm around the band, but I can’t adjust the straps and she now sags down with use. I do push-ups to help and still stare in the mirror after every shower and consider their migration and wonder where it will end.

I feel like it’s not very “yoga” of me to look down at my body (literally) and think….this is not my body. Breasts or no breasts, firm or floppy…this is my body. It is the body that I have earned through 34 years, two marriages, two children, 6 states, many athletic events, and all the hell and high water that has come with me.

Mission Statement
So, that brings me here. I am launching my new site next week and I want you to really know what it will be about. And it’s simple like all good business mission statements should be: Living a Yoga Life. I am sticking with my original title for this blog and I’ve chosen to focus on the breath because breathing is something we all do every day until we die. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s labored. Sometimes it’s a conscious choice and sometimes we just let biology run its course. I plan to live a yogic life for the rest of my life and I plan to present to you how I do that throughout the continuation of my blog in its new home. I will be writing about the practice of yoga, my life, teaching, traveling, and of course fitness. Think of it like this: yoga teaches us to breath, accept, and honor. Couldn’t you use a little more of that in your life? If so, make sure that you come and follow us on the new site! Yoga is a community and I want you to be a part of mine.

Thanks again to Amanda for allowing me a place to unload something that doesn’t always fit!

What’s your story?
More posts of mine on breasts, bras, and breastfeeding: