Thanks for the mammories – breast size and body image after breastfeeding

Source:  Image credit: ksena32 / 123RF Stock Photo
Source: Image credit: ksena32 / 123RF Stock Photo

There is a terrible toll exacted on a woman’s body by motherhood.  Sure we are beautifully designed to grow, nurture and nourish a baby.  Women’s bodies can grow a human from one fertilised cell into the complex combinations of over a trillion cells that make up a newborn baby. Think about that.  How freaking clever are we! We know there will be sleeplessness, stretch marks, wobbly bits and bits that are never the same again.  The difficulty I have with the physical aftermath of childbearing is that nothing prepares you for the fact that you are forced to simply accept it as part of the deal.  There is no way around it.  Nothing can really change any of it (unless you are prepared to opt for surgery. But no surgery will remove stretch marks).  No exercise, no special diet and certainly no magic creams and oils will change much at all.Every day you are reminded in every way that your body and the way you perceive it is different; in fact your entire existence will never be the same again.   This thought came to me as I examined what was left of my once pert breasts that now resemble small, floppy pancakes.  The first change with pregnancy was that they grew and that was weird after years of considering them small.  I had no idea.  They have served my children well since I have managed to successfully breastfeed all of my sons but now they have effectively disappeared.  It seems that when my Master 1 weaned and after my blocked milk ducts suddenly cleared and I stopped wearing maternity bras (hooray!) my breasts had retired and moved to the coast.

The remainder of my once forward-facing breasts had headed south and are soft and stretchy.  My breasts had shrunk back into themselves leaving a bony white space where my cleavage used to be.  This not what I expected; I suppose I knew they were not ever going to be what they were but I hoped they would simply return to the same size I was before having children.  This has not happened and maternity bras and my regular pre-baby bras are too big.

I know I am supposed to feel grateful for what my body has produced for our family.  I am.  I am just having trouble accepting my new look and cannot handle the fact that it is an enforced change.  As some kind of reward for what they’ve achieved it would be nice if Mums had an option after breastfeeding.

I can imagine a kindly Mother Nature kind of voice booming down to me saying things like, ‘now you have done your duty, you may choose bigger breasts, or smaller ones.  If that is not to your liking perhaps you’d like a flatter tummy or less bags around your eyes.  I can also offer you toned arms to replace your tuck-shop versions and a firm athletic butt’.

I would eagerly say ‘yes please I would like all of it’

And Mother Nature would answer.  ‘Hang-on a minute; I’m not a miracle worker!’


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