A Farewell to Boobs or The Boobless Wonder

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Are you there boobs? It’s me, Pimento.

I’ve never had a bosom to speak of. In elementary school, my friends and I read “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” and publicly I laughed along with my friends at Margaret’s attempts to increase her bust. Privately, I tried that same move in my bathroom.

I looked forward to turning 16, that magical age where all Disney princesses and golden California twins end up with perfect size 2 bodies, waists smaller than their necks, and disproportionally huge racks. Sixteen came and went, then 20, then 24 … and to my disappointment, my chest stayed improbably in the 32/34-A range, my convex sternum protruding like a gravestone marking the death of my hope for some real boobs.

During my first pregnancy, I encountered the strangest feeling. I was a teacher then and at a pep-assembly and while I was clapping, my arms bumped in to something. Boobs! With each clap, my upper arms bumped into my burgeoning breasts, who had awakened from their slumber by pregnancy hormones. For the first time in my life, I had cleavage and not just any cleavage, I’m talking Victoria’s Secret cleavage; full, firm, and glorious.

I’ve never been one you’d label skanky, but I have to admit I rocked some very low-cut maternity tops to show them off. Around 39 weeks pregnant, I got hit on at the bar where my husband worked. It was one of those situations in which I was sitting at a high table with my rack visible, but my belly was hidden below. False advertising! When I sat back my stomach rose like the morning sun, rendering the poor guy speechless! His friends across the room almost fell over laughing!

The boobs only increased after my son, Kellen was born and I became a dairy queen, filling my freezer with months worth of frozen breast milk. Clearly, when it comes to breastmilk-making, starting size does not matter. I nursed for 16 months and then … a reality check. Back came the stark reality that, unless they’re serving their biological purpose, my boobs go into hiding.

I started running when Kellen was three, and my little boobs became even smaller, but as my self-esteem flourished with my running success I (tried) to push aside the self-consciousness. I laughed when my running friends joked that they needed to get me a shirt that said, “With an ass like this, who needs boobs?”

I stopped running during my second pregnancy and again my boobs resurfaced. And again I busted out the low cut tops! I nursed until Alora was just over two-years. My mileage far exceeded my prepregnancy mileage and when I quit breastfeeding, the boobs didn’t just go back in their cave, they seemed to melt. I joked about being nipples on a ribcage to my friends, but on the inside kept thinking they certainly couldn’t get any smaller.

But then months into higher mileage training, I noticed my 32-A gapped so much that I couldn’t hide it.  I wanted to cry when I saw myself nude in the mirror, so after a long run I went into the local lingerie shop and ashamedly announced I needed the smallest bra they had. And again, that too is starting to gap.

Surprisingly, I think I’m ok with this. I think I can thank my daughter for this turn of events. When I think of her, I don’t want her to ever hate her body or wish she fulfilled some arbitrary male phantasy.  My little boobs did their job and did it well and the rest of my body is pretty darn useful too!

Truth time!

Damn, resolving to be a body positive role model is a lot easier said than done. I’ve been raised, steeped in this American big-boob-loving culture. The number of friends who are having breast augmentation keeps increasing and as it does, it is getting harder for me to stand proud with my washboard chest. Some women say that boobs get in the way, that they would trade me any day, but I really don’t think so. I am thin, but my flat stomach sticks out further than my flatter chest – not a silhouette I feel proud of. Women’s shirts are made for boobs but I don’t fill out the darts and my shirts hang longer in the front. . and the smallest bra I could buy doesn’t fit.

Flickr Commons image by rob_rob2001
Much better for eating than for analogizing. Flickr Commons image by rob_rob2001

On other women’s running websites and even Salty Running, so many of the articles are about taming your boobs, finding the right bra, avoiding chaffing and getting ogled. Last week I read one about returning to running after a boob job (a runner got an enlargement due to her insecurities about being flat). I understand the insecurity, the pain, the wishing, I also understand that there are many women who do need to tame their chest to run, and I also believe that it’s your body so if you want a boob job get one and I will tell you how lovely your chest looks, because it will.

As much as I struggle to accept my tiny boobs, I don’t think surgery is the right answer for me. I want to empower those of us on the less-endowed end of the spectrum who choose to accept their booblessness and not change something about ourselves that isn’t actually broken. I want to work hard to accept my body for the way it is … today.

So today, I am saying eff-off to all of that. Sure, I have a goal of running a 3:10 marathon, but I also have a big dream goal of accepting my body. I do not need to insert saline bags into my body to feel good about myself. I am giving that shit, the shame and self-loathing, up by celebrating what the rest of my body can do. My pecs and arms can do 100 push-ups. My legs ran 22 miles with nine at an average 7:04/mile pace and three at 6:50/mile pace the other day. My lungs, legs, and butt get me through 60-70 miles per week. My arms can hug my kids against my bony rib cage while my brain, heart and mouth can show them and tell them what really matters in life. My tiny boobs nourished babies for almost three-and-a-half years. They did their job, they’re too small to cause me this much angst anyway, and today I am saying farewell to hating them. 

How do you feel about your boobs? Have you had surgery to fix your boobs or would you consider surgery in the future? 

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I'm an elementary P.E. teacher with a long-term, ongoing marathon addiction.The next big goal? Keeping up my BQ streak while aiming for a 3:10! I write about the not-so-glamorous side of running and fitting in serious training with a family while staying sane(ish).

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22 comments

  1. That sounds like my story minus the fact that my boob milk only lasted 11 months 🙁 I didn’t think it was possible for my boobs to get any smaller but they did! Ugh. I didn’t think I would care because I’m a married woman and I know the hubs loves me, but it does bother me to look at them…so I choose to look at other parts of me! Abs, ass, long legs…Thanks for posting this!

  2. I can relate to basically all of this. I considered surgery, even. Never thought I’d say that, but I briefly flirted with the idea. I also chose not to do it and I am working hard to accept my body. Strangely, letting go of training and my running dreams for a while has really helped me in this regard! I know I can’t be my absolute thinnest because I’m just not running enough so I know I can’t have a “perfect body” anyway, so I don’t expect it to look perfect. I don’t know if that makes sense! Also, I think turning 40 last May helped me too, because for 40 I’m doing pretty well for myself, flat saggy little boobs and all 🙂

    1. I used to consider surgery too, and when discussing it with friends who DID have surgery they’d say “Oh, I got small ones, I don’t want to look like a Barbie, just NORMAL.” Hmmmmm, clearly these fried-egg style boobs are normal, too. Not broken/don’t need fixed.

  3. Boobs! Own them, no matter the size! I love that you use your daughter as a motivator to love yourself. I believe it is our responsibility as women to teach by example! I can relate to the ass thing too. My boobs are whatever, but my ass is h-u-g-e. It was big before I started running, and it seems to grow every day hahaha.

    1. LOL!! When I was running Boston, an onlooker yelled “Show us your tits!” (Seriously, dude?!) I yelled back “Boobs are for Barbies!” and got a roar of approval from the ladies running 🙂

  4. Thank you for this post – Same here! AAA – and my flat stomach sometimes sticking out more! I do wear bras since shirts fit better with them (and the headlights issue). Many years ago I discovered Lulalu Petites – they make even 36AAA bras that are not crazy padded! Def check them out Lulalu.com

    1. Do they price accordingly? I feel totally screwed over when I buy my AA for the same price as the DD. . . I really like the Handful sportsbra– they have modesty pads so no headlights, and they make my pecs stick out slightly further than my sternum.

      1. I don’t even know how much DDs cost! : ) They only make bras from AAA to B in all sorts of styles, and they do it very well. My simple lightly padded no underwire ones are around $56. I think the all fall around $60. I’ve had them for a long time. They really hold up. LOL unintended pun : )

        1. I bought a couple of cheap … and I mean ridic cheap like 12.99 … padded bras size 34 A and the padding is so intense that it makes me look like I have nice proportionately sized boobs for my body. The straps even come off so I can use them with any top. They aren’t particularly comfortable, but for those few hours of my life Im not in a sports bra or braless, they’re totally worth it!

  5. I come from a family of small boobs. I hate wearing bras, so I considered my small breasts a blessing. Plus for running, I can wear a tank that has some support built in and I’m good to go. Have you considered getting bralettes? I find them more comfortable.

    1. I like the Handful– they have modesty pads for no nipples-in-your-face and make it look like I have some fat under my chest skin. I can run in the built-ins no prob, but from nursing the headlights are out of control.

  6. I was recently told that I don’t have cleavage, that I have a thorax and should eat a cheeseburger. I used to worry about my lack of chest back in the college days. Now, I embrace my body. It may not look exactly like I want it to, but it is strong as has allowed me to amazing things, so I’m over it. Plus I like being able to buy cheap sports bras from target since I need absolutely no support!

  7. Fantastic post! I love this and can totally relate! However, I reallllllly miss my pre-pregnancy small boobs now – I’m sick of having to double up on sportsbras!

    1. Mine went back to flaps of skin with nipples around 7 months pp all three times even while nursing a ton, so uh, I’m jealous you still need to double up! I didn’t even get that big during pregnancy. Man! I only had the pleasure of melons over lemons for a few months of my entire life!

  8. im pretty alright with mine! I like to joke that I have just a handful, don’t need too much more than that… when i was fatter, i had much bigger boobs, but since running and losing weight, they’re pretty small again. I used to joke with my sister, bc I had the boobs and butt and she has the brains, but then she got pregnant twice and her boobs are way bigger than mine! dang it

  9. I’m another small chested sister, and I like to think it makes me ever-so-slightly more aerodynamic. (Hey, I’ll take whatever advantage I can get!) Just a few years bought a sports bra from the girl’s section at Target. The GIRL’S section!