Thursday, November 5, 2009

Do Your Boobs Hang Low?

Do they wobble to and fro?  Then either you are big busted or you have nursed a child.

I am and I have.  I have always had large ta-tas, big girls, quite the set of melons.  Since fifth grade, I have been the girl that has always stooped over just a little or stood behind something trying not to stand out and get recognized for the "wrong" reason.  I have always had a hard time finding shirts that fit and bra and bathing suit shopping, those are traumatic events that really to need to be discussed on these pages as it may cause me to have nightmares.  Oh and let's not forget running- if I don't wear at least 3 bras I end up with black eyes and broken ribs.  Shopping for bras and bathing suits coupled with being leered at by older men (even at the young age of 17, I remember walking down Bourbon Street and one of the sleazy barkers at a strip joint told me they were hiring) and really just being naturally much larger up top than most women on this planet have given me body image issues.  One nice thing, I guess about the size of my boobs is it makes my waist look smaller (when I have a bra on, otherwise, I just look like a Two-Ton Tessy).  Speaking of Two-Ton Tessy, that reminds of another one of my boob related stories... I successfully landed a job sight unseen- just a series of great phone interviews.  However, I had to let my new employer know my shirt size before I arrived for my first day.  My new boss thought it was weird when I was asking what kind of shirt it was- did it button or was it a pullover? And then proceeded to tell her, "well, I need this really big size if the shirt is button and fitted, I only need this large size if it's just a plain button up, etc. etc."   So, since my position was one that would have me out in the public quite a bit and image was very important my boss contacted someone at my (then) current place of employment and flat out asked if I was a big girl and they replied, "No, you didn't hire a Two Ton Tessy, she's actually rather small but very chesty."  Great- the whole world now knew a thin, but boobalicious girl was coming to work.   And unlike the Real Housewives of whatever city is on these days (see how I'm trying to play it off like I have no idea that The Real Housewives of Orange County starts tomorrow), I can't just let them hang out there and have their day in the sun (probably because I don't have gel packs to keep them firm and perky). So, for most of my life, my boobs have been a curse.

But then, I got pregnant.  And although my boobs grew just short of requiring a call to Ringling Brothers to see if they could sew me a tent to keep them covered to sizes that I didn't think possible, I didn't care.  I felt like the fact that they were growing meant the baby was growing and that the bigger they grew, the more milk they would make.  And finally, at long last, I would learn to love my boobs.

Unfortunately, I was one of many women who had problems breast-feeding.  Price was born several weeks early and he had a teeny, tiny mouth and didn't know how to suck.  I didn't have a great lactation consultant at the hospital and did everything wrong from the start.  Wanting so badly to use my body the way nature intended and not being able to made me feel like such a failure.  I felt like I was failing as a mother and as a woman.  And I was so mad at my boobs- how could they give out on me, why wasn't the milk gushing out and nourishing my baby?  After carrying them around for so long, how could they not serve their purpose?  But, for all the lazy, procrastinating bones in my body- I have a very strong stubborn streak and I refused to give up.  Everyday, I pumped (I did it completely wrong for the first 8 weeks) pretty much around the clock, I tried to get Price to wake up to eat, to latch on.  Everyday, I cried. I wound up in my room in a heap of self pity on my bed.  I argued with Don, who wanted me to be successful, btu at the same time wanted assurance that Price was getting the nourishment he needed.  It took me almost two weeks to get out of denial that I was giving him what he needed, but he was losing more and more weight and I finally gave in and gave him formula, from a bottle.  Everyday, I felt like a piece of me was dying because I wasn't able to breast feed my baby.

Yet, something miraculous happened.  One day, Price figured it out.  He liked booby juice!!  Don had left for the desert and it was just me and Price and days and hours on end with little to do except figure this out.  I finally saw a good lactation consultant.  I dragged myself in, feeling broken because once Price figured out he liked the booby juice, I didn't know how to get him on right and my poor boobs were in bad shape.  I covered them in olive oil and tea bags- anything to make them quit hurting and stop bleeding.  I was frustrated all over again because I had reached another breaking point.  It hurt so bad I ended up crying in pain every time he even looked at my boobs, not to mention kicked them or grabbed at them.  The LC gave me some advice, told me to heal myself, but he wasn't getting enough milk from me.  So, I went home, tried again and ended up in tears with Price screaming because he was hungry.  So, I gave up.  I decided it wasn't healthy for me to be so upset around my son all the time.  I knew he could feel me tense up before each feeding and I didn't want those early days to mold him into a tense person later on in life (I figure I'm crazy enough that I'll wear off on him in other ways later on in his life).  And since it was just the two of us, I should be a strong, tear-free mom and move on.  I knew that giving him formula out of a bottle wasn't going to kill him.  It just felt like it was going to kill me.  I could literally feel my heart breaking and I grieved for the fact that I wasn't able to do this thing that comes naturally and that society makes you feel like should come easily to "real" women/mothers.

So, that's what I did.  I stopped.  I quit pumping, I quit trying to get him to latch on.  But then another miraculous thing happened.  I started leaking.  I healed.  We started back slowly.  If Price woke up in the middle of the night, I would nurse him back to sleep rather than make him a bottle.  Then, I started nursing him before each bottle.  I gradually stepped down his bottles from 7 a day,  to five a day, to three a day.  He was nursing!  He never got completely off the bottle/formula, but he never got completely off the boob, until yesterday.  I nursed Price for the last time yesterday.


frosty said...

wow, what a courageous, touching, beautiful entry. i think it's great that you shared such an intimate, yet universal experience (if you're a woman/ mother). i've had many friends who've gone through similar experiences, the pain & frustrations of nursing, nursing in public, not being allowed time to pump when at work.... motherhood is such an intense, life-changing, incredible, miraculous experience, but yet so challenging. i can't even imagine. it's so personal, yet such a shared, sacred, eternal event- giving life. i mean really! wow! blows my mind when i really think about it.
really touching (& really funny at times) post.....
you are awesome!

Kelly said...

My friend, this was classically you.

shelly_finn said...

Terrell, I know who I am going to call when Taylor bean and I are going through this!

TTM said...

Thanks ladies.

And Shelly, one of my biggest prayers for you as a new mom is that you DON'T have to go through this, but I am here for if you do. I wouldn't have made it without the support of my "breast" friends :)

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