When I was pregnant with my first child, I found it amusing that people asked me if I planned to breastfeed. I was amused not because I thought they were being nosy or inappropriate or awkward but rather because I felt, "why wouldn't you breastfeed?" I'm pretty sure that because I had this stance because I was breastfed myself. In fact, both my brother and I were breastfed and past 12 months -- I gave it up around 18 months while my mom weaned my brother when he was over 2 because she felt he was getting too old. Though I didn't have any recollection of breastfeeding, my mother always spoke so fondly of it. And perhaps because I grew up in a breastfeeding family, I never gave breastfeeding much thought prior to my daughter being born.
Since the year in high school that I was a beautiful and perky C cup, I'd had had to deal with very large breasts that caused me a great deal of annoyance and attracted way too much attention. It's one thing for your boyfriend or husband to appreciate your buxomness but I didn't care for the "compliments" or leering from men on the street.
Of course, this was all ironic because until the summer between 9th and 10th grade, I had no chest to speak of. My flat chest was the joke of the school bus, my friends, my family. I was tiny, skinny, had braces on my big hippo teeth and red Sally Jesse Rafael glasses. It didn't help that I was very smart and kind of dorky. I did not need the flat chest on top of that. But the summer of 1995, I must have drank the special puberty water because I came home needing a bra and then a bigger one and a bigger one. The braces came off, I got less dorky glasses and lo and behold, the boys came calling. Unfortunately, while the rest of me stayed small, my breasts kept growing and growing.
Dressing became very difficult. Though I'm petite (5'3") and wear a medium in clothes, I had to wear large or extra-large tops. I could never wear button-down shirts and forget about dresses unless they were knit. Baby doll dresses and tunics made me look pregnant. All of this is depressing when you're young and have a cute little figure that you should otherwise be able to take advantage of if it were not for your chest. Fortunately, I never experienced severe back pain that I've heard many women had. My pain was more emotional.
I hated my breasts so much that I considered getting a breast reduction. I had a consultation with a top plastic surgeon. Not even my then-boyfriend's begging me not to or my mother telling me that I might not be able to breastfeed persuaded me to hold off on the surgery. I was 23 and even though I had a boyfriend, I was never going to marry him. Motherhood was more than a long way off; it was more of an impossibility to me. Though I knew breastfeeding was how you fed babies and in my 23 year old naivete, I didn't know about alternatives for breastfeeding, I hated my breasts so much I wanted them gone. But the reality of having to fund the $10,000 fee for the surgery overtook my misery. So I never had the surgery.
So how did I react when people asked if I was going to breastfeed? I always answered, "That's what they're there for, aren't they?" referring to my double Ds. I had hated my breasts for almost half of my life but I was finally in a position to do something good with them! I was going to make the best out of this so-called blessing. If they were going to be that big, I was going to put them to work!
I'm so glad I never got the reduction because it most likely have made breastfeeding extremely difficult and I never would have had the experience I've had.