There are many, many things no one bothers to tell you about pregnancy, motherhood, and breastfeeding. What’s one of the biggest? The wringer your poor boobs go through.
Sure, there’s talk of how “your body will never be the same,” but that’s usually in reference to stretch marks, or a soft belly, or the fact that you’re at serious risk of accidentally peeing your pants if you laugh too suddenly. For me, the real shock — every time! — was weaning each of my four babies and going from modestly endowed to prepubescent in the span of a few days.
And that’s why I’m considering breast augmentation.
Cup half full
I’ve never been particularly big-breasted, and it never really mattered to me. Around age 12, I remember eyeing my mother’s chest, which I later learned had a surgical boost, and feeling downright apprehensive. I mean, how are you supposed to run with those things?
Fast forward a few years, and I had a small pair of my own that was just fine. They didn’t get in the way, didn’t get me any unwanted attention, and there was enough there that I wasn’t pancake flat. I was perfectly content with the situation for years, and my boyfriend-turned-fiancé-turned-husband never made me feel anything but beautiful.
But then, at 28, I got pregnant with our first baby. One of the first changes I noticed, along with general nausea, was my swelling chest. As a first-timer, my baby belly took a while to pop, which just made my new cup size all the more noticeable. I started small, and the change wasn’t huge, but it felt like a big difference to me.
Suddenly, I was actually filling out a bra properly. I felt feminine and I really liked the balance that a bigger chest gave my figure. That all went to hell pretty quickly as my belly started making some serious progress, but my breasts grew pretty proportionally, which was nice.
The disappearing act
I had my first serious case of engorgement in the first few days after delivery, and it was horrendous. I remember standing in the shower, wincing as I tried to raise my arms to shampoo my hair and feeling pretty much horrified by these swollen, rock-hard boulders. I remember thinking, This is why I’d never, ever get a boob job.
The recovery of an elective procedure like that freaked me out, and I’ve heard that surgeons always go too big. But things settled down, as they do, and then I enjoyed the benefits of a bosom, basically for the first time.
Then came a few cycles of wean baby, get pregnant, nurse, wean baby, repeat. And I noticed that weaning my babies came at a cost, and I’m not just talking about the emotional roller coaster. In addition to feeling a little weepy that my baby was getting so big, the physical change brought me up short, every time.
In the span of about 72 hours from the last nursing session, my chest would essentially disappear. But it was even worse than that. Not only were they sadly deflated, but due to the loss of fatty tissue, they were saggy too — which just added insult to injury.
I weaned our last baby a few months ago. The slide to prepregnancy boobs is noticeably slower this time, but it’s definitely underway. After our third baby, I was so upset over the state of my chest that I called a local plastic surgeon for a consultation. It was an impulse move, and I ended up canceling the appointment. Instead, I searched online and found a few things.
I’m not alone
First, my situation is painfully common. I scrolled through forum after forum of women mourning the loss of their nursing C cups and debating cosmetic surgery to plump up their saggy AAs.
Second, I realized things could be worse. Uneven breast size is not uncommon after breastfeeding. At least I dodged that bullet. And from the freedom of going braless to sleeping flat on my belly, there really are benefits to a smaller chest.
I realized that a consultation for a breast enhancement is probably my smartest move. That way, I’d have clear answers to my questions about the procedure, the results, the recovery time, and the price tag.
I have no problem with cosmetic surgery for others. I just wonder if it’s something I’d actually do myself. The truth is, if you’d asked me a decade ago, I would have said no way. But on this side of 10 years, four kids, and all the experience that comes with it, I wonder.
I miss my full breasts. They made me feel womanly and sensual, and I felt like they gave my figure balance and proportion.
The final decision
At this point, I’m going to wait it out. I read somewhere that it can take up to a year after weaning for some of that lost breast tissue to return.
I don’t know how accurate that is, but I like knowing that surgical enhancement is an option if things don’t improve and I just can’t find peace with it. For now, that’s enough.