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Itty Bitty Titties

It’s swimsuit season again, and for the first time in over two decades, I’m happy about going to look for a bathing suit.

By the time I turned 14 I was in a D cup bra.   At a time when some of my friends were still in their Underoo’s training bras, I was concerned with underwire, padded shoulder straps and the general ugliness of “support” bras.  When my friends were shopping for strapless formal dresses, I had to be sure to find one I could wear a real bra under.  When I was 16, I asked my mom if I could get a breast reduction.  At 18 I begged.  My mom always told me I had to wait because some day I might have kids that I might want to breastfeed.  I had to have a bra specially made for my wedding dress because what I needed was not available for retail sale.

To make matters worse, I had heavy, pendulous breasts (read: NOT perky).  My breasts pointed down, hung down, swung down.  If I didn’t wear a bra (only at home) I looked heavier than I was because my boobs hung down so far they concealed my waist.  I could never buy two-piece outfits because I needed an extra large top but a medium bottom.

The pain was horrible.  By the end of most days, my back hurt so badly all I wanted to do was lie down.  My bra would always slide up my back or dig into my shoulders.  All I ever wanted to do was take my bra off, but taking it off would hurt too.  I was so jealous of women that could go braless that my jealousy bordered on hatefulness.

I did end up breastfeeding all three of my children, and cherished every moment.  Breastfeeding is not the right choice (or even an option for) for some mothers, but it was the only choice for me.  The times I spent breastfeeding my babies were some of the happiest in my life as a mother, and it was an experience I would not trade for anything.  So I am happy that my mom suggested I wait.  But with each baby my cup size went up, despite losing my “baby weight” (well, some of it, at least).  After my third and last child weaned, I was a size 34G.  Try finding that size bra the next time you’re in JC Penny’s!  My breasts were so heavy and large my nipples could almost reach my belly button and I had half-inch deep grooves in my shoulders from the years of digging bra straps.  The pain in my back, neck and shoulders was so constant it was a way of life.  It was time to have my girls chopped off.

A little over a year ago, I met with a plastic surgeon.  Because my breasts were so large for my height and weight, my insurance covered the breast reduction operation though I was fully prepared to pay out-of-pocket if need be.  It would take three months for complete recovery and six to nine months to see the final results. Friends and family asked me if I was nervous about surgery, general anesthesia, the pain of recovery, scarring, and loss of sensation.  Honestly, although I did consider the risks, they had absolutely no weight in my mind compared to the benefits.  The morning of my surgery I was smiling like an idiot singing to myself “I’m getting my tits chopped off!”  My surgery lasted six hours and the first words I uttered to my recovery nurse were, “Are my boobs pretty now?”

Once I was taken to my own room in the hospital I pulled the bandages away enough to catch a peek.  My breasts were swollen, lumpy, discolored and bruised. They looked Frankenstein-ish from the stitches and SOOOOOOO small.  It was love at first sight!  Lying in that bed I could feel the lack of strain on my shoulders and back.  Nirvana!  When I was able to get up and get dressed the next morning, I was ecstatic that my once fitted button-up shirt was now baggy.  As the days progressed I was deliriously happy with my new itty bitty titties.  I wanted to show them off to all of my female friends.  I had never felt so euphoric in my life.

It wasn’t until a few of days into my recovery that I realized why I was so happy with my new breasts.  It wasn’t so much the freedom from pain, or the fact that I wouldn’t have to wear a bra 24/7.  For the first time in my adult life I wasn’t defining myself by my abnormally large breasts.  The physical effects of being large-breasted were plain to see, but I never realized (until they were gone) what a huge negative impact my breasts had on my self-esteem and self-image.  My large breasts had been a deformity to me, though I had never formalized that thought.  Men talked to my breasts, not bothering to make eye contact with me.  I would avoid making eye contact with others because of the shame I felt for my body.  My breasts preceded me into every room I entered.  I always tried to hide them under my clothes.  I never wanted to have my picture taken no matter how good I looked because I had these huge, ugly, disgusting things hanging in front of me.  I hated my huge breasts so much; I had allowed them to obscure me.  My breasts had subtly and pervasively thrown negative shading to every aspect of my identity.  After my breast reduction I felt like I had a face.  I have a face!  I am finally the person I was always meant to be.

The positive physical impacts of my breast reduction are amazing but quantifiable. The pain is gone.  Although the grooves in my shoulders will never go away, they are already becoming more shallow.  I can buy 34C bras off the rack.  I can even go braless.  It’s the immeasurable and profound effects on my self-esteem and self-acceptance that really made my surgery a success.

So this summer I am happy to go shopping for a bathing suit.  I still have dimply thighs, a doughy rear, and saggy post-baby belly, but I’ll take any opportunity proudly to show off my new itty bitty titties.  Just ask any of my friends who had to endure me flashing them after the surgery!

4 replies on “Itty Bitty Titties”

Great article. I’ve been toying with a breast reduction for years now and mostly haven’t pursued it because I didn’t think I could afford it. One of my good friends had the surgery last year, completely covered by insurance, and she ended up paying less than 500 dollars out of pocket. And she looks and feels great.

I don’t hate my breasts — they’re large and uncomfortable, but they sure do give me a spectacular rack — but I do sometimes get jealous when I see what I consider ‘managable size’ boobs. You know, boob sizes where you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for a bra, or order your clothes two sizes too big to accommodate your boobs, or who can go braless. I mean, that’s a state I can’t even understand.

As a big boob-ed side story, my mother really wanted to buy me a new dress for a wedding we’re going to, and the site we ordered off of will custom make to your measurements. When I told her what my chest circumference was she laughed so hard she dropped the phone. But she’s a small tittied jerk, so, there you go.

YES! I had a breast reduction a few years ago. I’d dealt with back pain since I was 13 or 14, crying after orchestra rehearsals all through high school from the pain of sitting up straight, popping advil to get through work days of hours of standing, never being able to find clothes that fit. But the pain was the worst; I hurt all day every day.

Yes, I may have given up the chance to breastfeed; I won’t know until I’m in that situation. But I simply couldn’t have pursued the opportunities I have without the surgery. I would’ve had to change career paths; I couldn’t have taken the pain of my crazy running around days. I couldn’t live the active life I do now. I can run now-RUN! It’s amazing.

The one form of exercise I could endure pre-surgery was swimming. It helped with the shoulder pain. I haven’t gone back to it; the first time I tried swimming post-surgery, I found myself at the bottom of the pool. Apparently, my buoyancy had changed a bit!

And I can find clothes that fit, and feel proud in them, because I actually feel like a healthy, “normal” woman now, free from my-as you so eloquently put it-“deformities.” I’d definitely come to view them as such.

My reduction was the best decision I’ve ever made. I’m glad yours had positive results as well!

Good for you! Thank you for sharing. A friend of mine got a breast reduction and she was delighted.

I do often see makeover/health TV shows that show breast reductions without ever mentioning breastfeeding as a possible future choice. Of course it shouldnt’t be mandatory, but the effects of breast reduction surgery on future breastfeeding potential (and its benefits for the woman and her future children) should be sidelined either.

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