Before I got pregnant with the Snoot, I didn’t have breasts. Not really. At twenty two, I had the kind of breasts that one would imagine a twelve year old to have. I wore an A cup, but I never filled it out. Way before I was ever pregnant, I knew that I wanted to breastfeed (It wasn’t really a decision to me, just what should happen, in my life, with my kid(s)). I was never too worried about whether my breasts could produce, even though I read a lot of forums online where small-breasted women wondered if their little boobs would be enough. My mom breastfed both my brother and me for a couple of years each, and her breast are only slightly bigger than mine were., so I didn’t worry about it.
At six months pregnant, I went, suddenly from a 32-A to a [whopping] 36-B, and my belly ballooned. And, postpartum, my breasts turned into rocks. They didn’t get any bigger, but they did engorge. And then a couple weeks later, they engorged again. And then, about two months later, they engorged again. All during my first four months postpartum, both breast would randomly re-engorge. Sometimes, my over zealous right boob would go rogue and engorge all by itself.
Even now, almost seven months postpartum, sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with an engorged right boob.
My Right Boob
I’m talking about the kind of boob that, when the Snoot would accidentally pop off, would spray her (or me, depending on trajectory) in the eye. And she, a little newborn, would start crying and giving me this look like ‘how could you do that to me?’ This is the kind of breast that over-produces foremilk so much that the Snoot would start choking and, eventually, the genius baby that she is, would stop nursing from that breast altogether, until I would sneak it in her half-awake mouth at night or during a nap (ehem, a benefit of cosleeping).
I took this breast to a La Leche League meeting, and the leader of the meeting gave me some tips (after pointing out that she had never, in almost forty years as a LLL leader, heard of a single boob going rogue before): “Before you go to sleep, start her nursing for about one or two minutes on the Right Breast, and then switch over. Don’t let her fall asleep nursing the Right Breast. Maybe that’s what’s causing the engorgement, too much nursing at night.”
But the Snoot would not be tricked. She knows that boob. It’s abused her one too many times. She didn’t go for it.
So, I’m still the sneaky mom, switching Snoot mid-feed to relieve the boulder on my right.
The point here is: after spending my negative-breasted life without cleavage, hardly ever being able to find a dress that wasn’t too wide in the bosom, and literally NEVER wearing a button-up blouse that was not found in the little boys section of Dillards, at least half of my rack is really good at its job. A little too good.
The Other Boob
My Left Breast has always been slightly smaller than the right, so, of course, it is the one fated to *not* be eternally engorged.
When my Right Breast is over-engorged and at least 17.3 pounds heavier than the Left Breast and I’m swaggering around the house whining about over production while the Snoot munches on her favorite breast (the Left), I am secretly really pleased.
The smaller breast is the winner. Sometimes, the Snoot actually starts giggling when she sees it. I’m like, how does she know? But she does. I swear.
I must admit, when I was flat-chested, I both loved it and hated it. Loved it because I never had to wear a bra, because shirts never got stretched out, and I never had to wear a sports bra to do yoga. Hated it because I felt like I’d resemble a young adolescent forever. That I’d be eternally androgynous. I realized after I got my breasts that, for the first time, I felt like a woman. Now I can wear a push up bra. When I wear a t-shirt, I am still
Essentially, I realized, I LOOK like a woman. Therefore, for the first time, I allowed myself to believe that I was a woman.
Which lasted about four seconds.
Because “looking” like something (whether it’s a woman, a little boy, a police officer, a heroin addict) has nothing to do with being it.
But in our [gorgeously backwards] society, we are convinced that the way that we look has something to do with who we are. But it doesn’t, not always.
I looked like an eleven year old boy for over twenty years, but I (and my daughter, who emerged from my vagina) can assure you, I am not.
So what is a woman? I guess, essentially, a woman is a million things. And whatever she defines herself to be. Me, as a woman, is someone who can take care of myself and my family, physically, emotionally, financially, etc..,and someone who is continuously progressing and creating.
Dress me up in a horse costume and I can do that. If I was infertile, I could do that. If my breasts and butt fell off, I could do that.
I am still proud of my breasts, little as they are. Lopsided as they are.
And when my breasts do shrink back to their pre-pregnancy size, I will still be woman.
This was cross posted here and on my personal blog: http://snooter.wordpress.com