For as long as I can remember, my boobs have been an issue. I was the first one in my class to shop for a training bra because it hurt to run in gym class. I recall the first time I took a basketball to my chest during a championship game. And I remember that during the same game, I missed a free throw because my arm hit my boobs. They didn’t make sports bras that fit me properly, so my ample breasts got uncomfortable and in the way. A lot.
I’ve always been big chested and since the day I started my period, my breasts have been a problem. I’ve said many times, it’s unfortunate (and ironic) that the media glamorizes big boobs. For a lot of women, they actually are anything but fun. Two of my friends even underwent breast reductions in college because of the unbearable back pain.
So, don’t believe everything you see on “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” or inside the pages of Victoria’s Secret. Big boobs are the worst and here are five reasons why.
1. Back problems
My gynecologist told me when I was pregnant the first time that I had very dense breast tissue. I didn’t think much about it at the time, but after I had my daughter and my boobs were swollen with breast milk, I started to notice how heavy they actually were. Out of curiosity, I decided to weigh them. One milk-filled breast weighed more than 8 pounds! That’s 16 pounds of boob that I’m carrying upright with my back. That was more than double the birth weight of my newborn daughter.
For years, I’ve had posture problems. I tend to slouch because keeping my shoulders back causes me intense pain due to the weight of my boobs. After years of doing this, now I also get pain in my neck and shoulders because of the strain and weakened back muscles. It’s not fun trying to support the equivalent of two newborn babies on your chest!
2. Breast-feeding is almost impossible
By far, the most difficult thing for me about having larger boobs is breast-feeding. Regardless of the size of your breasts, it can be challenging for many moms and is not always a pleasant experience. However, having big boobs made breast-feeding extra difficult for me. In order for my daughter to get enough suction on my nipple, her face would get lost pushing against my breast tissue. The only way I could stop her from suffocating was to use my other hand to hold my breast upward against my body. Breast-feeding became a very uncomfortable experience between swollen nipples, engorged boobs, and feeding positions that made my body ache.
3. Exercise pain
Does anyone really think running with two melons strapped to your chest would be comfortable? Exercising with big boobs can be extremely painful. As a child, I was very active in sports. But in a lot of ways, my boobs hindered my performance and eventually my desire to continue on through high school.
Any exercise that is high impact can cause a lot of pain not only in your chest but in your back as well because it’s supporting much of the weight while you are exercising. Even the best and most expensive sports bras don’t completely resolve the issue. I’m never quite so envious of my smaller-breasted friends than I am when I’m on the treadmill!
4. Sleeping is less enjoyable
My body naturally wants me to sleep on my stomach. The only way I’ve been able to do this with any amount of comfort is to shove a pillow under my hip which takes the pressure off my chest at night. Inevitably, I move in my sleep and so does the pillow, which means I often wake up in some twisted, uncomfortable position. I sought out a sleep specialist about this years ago and was informed that I woke up several times during the night due to the pressure placed on my breasts in bed.
5. Taking your bra off is actually painful
I have a song when I remove my bra at the end of the night (my husband finds this hysterical). I unhook that clasp and loudly sing “freeeeeedommmmmm!” A bra is like a double-edged sword for big-breasted women. On one hand, I can’t even imagine walking around without the support of an underwire. The pull on my skin, shoulders, and back would be outrageous. On the other hand, keeping big boobs cooped up in a bra all day can be very painful, especially around menstruation.
I’ve opted to keep using the support of an underwire, but on many days, I wish there was an alternative solution that didn’t leave my breasts throbbing in pain at the end of the day.
If you have big boobs and these points resonate with you, let me assure you, you are not alone. There are even a handful of brave celebrities who have been open and honest about the problems that being big-breasted caused in their lives. These include not only pain and discomfort, but making them feel embarrassed and insecure.
Drew Barrymore, Queen Latifah, Soleil Moon Frye, and others have gone public with their decisions to undergo breast reductions. “Modern Family” actress Ariel Winter had one at 17, while “Everybody Loves Raymond” star Patricia Heaton was in her 50s.
If your boobs are keeping you from pursuing things that you enjoy or are causing you pain, you should seek advice from your doctor.
Many women with larger breasts — myself included — are often told we are “lucky” to have big boobs. There was even a period in my life when I believed I was lucky. But the older I get, the more I realize that big boobs can be a legitimate health concern and one that should be taken seriously.