I was just reading an article on Mamamia by Anna Spargo-Ryan about whether or not having a breast reduction is superficial in the way that having breast enlargement is seen as superficial and it got me thinking about my own breasts and how I feel about them.
I’ve got a rather large bust (34G) and am seriously thinking about having a breast reduction. It’s something I’ve thought about for decades. Seriously, decades.
I became an image consultant because of my breasts, so if I didn’t have them, I wouldn’t have ever started this blog. They are the cause of me starting to wonder why some clothes looked great on friends, but terrible on me (that and my lack of waist).
A short history of my breasts.
At the age of 15 my breasts suddenly grew, from an A cup to a C, all within a couple of months, and then they moved up to a D within a few more months. I was a shy girl and found suddenly having breasts rather confronting and started slouching to try and make them less noticeable. As I got older, they kept on growing. By the time I was 30 they were up to and F cup, and even after breastfeeding two children for 2.5 years they have kept getting larger and by the time I was 38 I’d hit the G cup. Even though they are large and I have breast-fed, I’m lucky that they are still very dense and firm. My shoulders now have deep grooves from the weight of them where my bra straps have cut into me over the decades, and I’m starting to get a dowagers hump, not something that I’m keen on at all.
So is it superficial for me to want a breast reduction? Yes, part of it is about how it looks and how much easier it will be for me to find clothes that fit me well, and the ability to wear way more styles of clothes than what I get to choose today. But another reason is that I will get less back pain, particularly as I age and muscle atrophies. It’s hard to know what it would feel like given that I’ve had larger breasts for as long as I can remember.
I’d always said to myself that after I’d finished breast-feeding my kids I’d get the reduction. Now, knowing about the dangers of surgery and also the recovery period needed I keep putting it off, I mean, it’s not like large breasts are threatening my life. I do think about it, particularly after each time I meet a new client who has had a breast reduction, and each one says it’s the best thing they ever did (their words, not mine), and they wished they’d done it sooner. Unlike many of the women who’ve had enlargements who still don’t feel happy about their bodies (in the same way as the reductions report).
So the feedback I receive is having a reduction is good and I should go for it. But it gets me thinking about how I feel about my breast, how I define myself as a large busted women and the body image I’ve attached to it. How would I feel without them?
Recently a good friend of mine has been diagnosed with breast cancer and will probably end up having a mastectomy (after the chemo has reduced the size of the tumors in her bones so that they stop breaking). She is fine with the whole idea of chopping off her breasts for a longer life (I’d be too for health reasons), but I’m aware of how many women going through this kind of surgery find their body image challenged when they come to terms as a woman without breasts. In many ways, the outwardly obvious sign of being a woman is having breasts, and changing that even if I was just to go down to a C cup, would probably make me feel quite different about who I am, and the image I have of my body.
I haven’t any great conclusion to share with you here, and I will at some stage get around to a reduction I think. The idea both scares me and excites me. The idea of the pain scares me ( invasive surgery) but the outcome excites me, the idea of the clothing possibilities I will be able to try out.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you feel about your breasts, how they affect the image you have of your body, and if you’ve had any surgery, how that has changed how you feel about yourself.