It was April 25, 2007. The day my boobs officially said, "We quit."
I remember the day because I was breastfeeding my five-month-old daughter (my firstborn) in the midst of some last minute work in preparation for graduation a week later. She pulled away from me, full and satisfied. I looked down and noticed that my breasts fell incredibly light. Not "just got done nursing" light, but "things are never going to be the same" type of light.
And I was right. For the remainder of our breastfeeding journey, they were never the same. Less perky, less round on the top and forming more of a tear-drop shape instead of a circle.
So when I found out I was pregnant shortly after our daughter's first birthday, I looked forward to the pregnancy hormones giving my boobs a little more fullness again. My husband never said anything until I asked him, point blank, if he noticed my boobs were different. He hesitated.
"They're softer now," he said. "A little smaller. But I like 'em."
I spent what little free time I had (with two kids under two) trying on different bras—gel-filled, underwire, no underwire, all the so-called "revolutionary" bras. None of them really restored me to what I had prior to my kids.
So I gave up. Decided it wasn't the end of the world. Found a few bras and shirts that did my chest justice and went about my business.
Did it make me feel less sexy? Yes, initially. But defining my sexiness by the way my boobs looked was something society had conditioned me to feel. Who says that breasts have to be right under the chin in order for a woman to be attractive?
I know for a fact that many women cite not wanting "saggy boobs" as a reason for not breastfeeding, even though the research says that it is not the act of breastfeeding that changes your boobs, but a combination of factors.
A 2007 study (by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, no less) attempted to clarify the subject. Among some of the study's findings:
- A history of breastfeeding, the number of children breastfed, the duration of each child's breastfeeding, or the amount of weight gained during pregnancy were not significant predictors for losing breast shape.
- Your body mass index (BMI), the number of pregnancies, a larger pre-pregnancy bra size, smoking history, and age were significant risk factors for an increased degree of breast sagging.
Even with the research though, we have to understand that in general, our bodies change. Whether through pregnancy or just the aging process, our bodies don't stay the same forever.
Tara Pringle Jefferson is the founder of TheYoungMommyLife.com and the author of Make It Happen: The Young Mommy Guide To Creating The Career You Crave. Follow her on Twitter or check out her blog for her insights on what it means to be a mom, wife, student, writer, and about three other labels she’s too tired to remember.