Around the time Lucas was due to arrive most of my friends had weaned their second children and were not having a third. The talk was of boobs. I think there was more talk about boobs when we weren't nursing. The chatter was about how the boobs were now deflated and even the best of bras couldn't help.
I nursed for almost 8 years without stopping. I had a couple of months off right before Lucas was born. I tandem nursed Chloe and Eli. My boobs used to work hard. It was second nature to hear a fuss and move the babe to my breast. My nummy. My nu-nu. (Yes, children name them.) I went from a size AB to a CD depending on the amount of milk production at the time. It was not easy for me to have larger breasts because I had always associated my weight with my breasts. When I would lose weight, my boobs would also lose weight. I liked being thin. I liked having little boobs.
Listening to women talk about life after nursing was hard for me. It was mostly done in fun, but underneath I knew that there were body image issues that were taking hold as these women looked in the mirror and saw what was now their shape. After you are done nursing your breasts sort of dip down, they are a different shape. They are smaller. They feel a bit more floppy. Often they are called deflated.
Knowing in my heart that Lucas was the last baby I would nurse I was secretly awaiting my new boobs. I was so tired of carrying around these heavy leaking milk makers, as much as I loved nursing. And I really did love nursing. I never used a bottle or pacifier with any of my kids, it was me. All me.
I wanted to be small again, going against all the talk that was coming from the women around. My nursing boobs used to draw attention, I was ready to go back to small. Deflated seemed harsh, these women are beautiful creatures. Gorgeous really. I saw them move from nursing their children and grow into women from the mothers they had become.
I get a little teary when I look at my nursing pictures. Sometimes I miss the feeling of my kids being so small and so close. Lucas and Chloe were tough, they wanted to nurse so much I often couldn't breathe. That part makes me tear up a little too. Knowing that somehow I got through the sleepless nights, the demands of only wanting me. How lost I would feel sometimes.
Mama's nu-nu are now Hannah's breasts again. They occasionally get poked and questioned about their purpose from Lucas who just barely remembers.
Mama, are those your nu-nu? I used to drink those nu-nu's milk?
They are not that small. I am not that small. I don't diet anymore and that means my body is larger than it used to be. At least for now. Loving my body includes my breasts. I love them, love having them back as just a part of me. I love that they worked so hard, gave so much. I don't mind the dip, the new shape, the bit of deflate they have. I actually love them more than I ever did.
Our body issues run deep. Whether you have nursed or not, breasts carry such strong importance to how we feel about ourselves. They are our feminine, our curve, our sensuality. Let's not use them as a way to continue to find another thing wrong with our body.
Love them. Love you.
My nu-nu taught me so much about who I am. We've got to love that person. Honor our shape, our beauty.