Learning to Love Again


Ever since they arrived, suddenly and painfully, I have loved my boobs. I know it's not very British to admit to liking something about yourself, particularly something about your body but since it was the only thing I admired about myself, I hope you'll give me a pass. 

I came of age in the 90's and boobs were in. Wonderbra was in it's heyday and no outfit was complete without an inch of cleavage. There wasn't a day that couldn't be saved without a a really good bra and did I love a bra. I had pink ones, red ones, polka dot ones, full cup ones, half cup ones, barely any cup but who cares it looks good ones. I remember my first bra fitting in the now defunct Alder's department store. I knew that I needed something more substantial than the crop tops that I had been sporting but my mouth fell open when the saleswoman told me I needed to wear a 32DD. Double D was the real deal, the kind of boobs sported by car models and aspiring actresses; I couldn't stop smiling. Even the saleswoman scolded me for looking a little too pleased with myself but I was like, whatever lady, I've got real boobs! 

Fast forward twenty years or so and I learnt that my breasts weren't just a cute accessory. I think it was about three in the morning when I was strapped into a hospital breast pump, willing myself to produce just a few millilitres of nourishment for my incubated baby that I realised, these are not mine anymore. I was lucky and my boobs came through for me. We both managed nearly a year of feeding my son. I can't say it was a particularly positive experience, it was just another administrative task in the job of motherhood. I was pretty much doing what I needed to do until the day I could have my boobs back. 

However, my breasts were not returned to me, someone elses were. The breasts returned to me were emptier, flatter, sadder. For six months I continued to wear maternity bras and went into mourning. The little tea dresses I had loved so much went into a vacuum sealed bag and the stacks of bras were discarded. And I probably would have continued in that way, were it not for a chambray shirt. 

I have wanted a chambray shirt for eons. It was one of those items that I would catch a woman wearing every few weeks and stick back at the top of my mental shopping list but for months it had eluded me. Then one lunchtime I was browsing through the sale rail at New Look when one jumped out at me. I grabbed it greedily and rushed to try it on. It fit perfectly, with the exception of looking a little bunchy around the chest. I thought, it would be perfect with an extra button open and no bra but I can't go without a bra. Then it occurred to me, she couldn't go without a bra, a girl with boobs that no longer existed, but this new reincarnation of me could. So I bought the shirt and I felt like the business in it. And I bought a bunch of other stuff that I wouldn't have considered before - lacy little bralets, strappy vests and tops with gaping backs, revealing my braless status to the world and it was fantastic. What has motherhood done to your body that you are yet to embrace? More junk in your trunk? A sillohette made for a corset? How far have you come in the journey of learning to love yourself again?

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