6.18.2007

Vanity, Thy Name is Mom101

You can also find my posts every Monday on Time Out NY Kids along with great New York-area stuff to do with your family this summer. You know, when you're not at your Hamptons House.

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I recently sat in a manicure chair, reading that Melaine Mayron, who played Melissa on Thirtysomething (God how I loved Thirtysomething) copped to getting a breast lift after having kids. My first reaction was "Ugh!"

My second was, "Ooooohh..."

It's a funny thing, these boobs of mine. They were s-l-o-w to come in the adolescent years, then burst forth with a vengeance. No sooner was I wishing away my A cups that I was wishing away the Ds. But I admit the mammary ups were greater than the downs (so to speak) and plenty of ex-boyfriends will back me up on that. They even got me out of a speeding ticket once, loyal friends that they were. Nothing Bad Lieutenant style--just some back arching and a big smile did the trick one Friday afternoon while I raced up a stretch of the Taconic on the way to the Berkshires, right into the speed trap of a young flirty officer.

For a good two decades, my boobs were easily my best asset, particularly in the we have nothing here that will fit you ma'am, have you tried New Jersey? years. Just drop me into some flowy Eileen Fisher pants and a plunging v-neck and my ego was still intact.

But two years ago the girls found their proper biological function as source of food and comfort for my daughter. Next thing you know I'm standing in the mirror trying on my bikini for the first time in an age, looking at my DDs and wondering when exactly they developed such a strong affection for gravity.

I may have cried a little.

Tube socks with a rock in them was how I once heard postpartum breasts described. So sad. So true.

"Well girls, " I now say to them as I scoop them up and deposit them in the underwire harness of doom, "we had a good run there for a while." And we did. I try so hard not to mourn their sorry new state, to feel grateful for the times we had together.

Yet I mourn. Oh, do I mourn.

And so I consider the boob lift.

Until recently, I thought voluntary plastic surgery was only for Those Women. You know, the ones with three homes and four nannies and egos rivaled in size only by their retinal-damaging engagement rings. Plastic surgery (with some exceptions of course) is a vanity move, pure and simple. And there's something about the idea of voluntarily having someone cut me open under general anesthesia that seems selfish now that I've got kids counting on me to actually come home after the procedure. Or forget the risks, and just consider the expense. Or the recovery time. Or most troubling, the message it would send to my daughters if they found out.

(Of course they would find out. Because the only thing bigger than my boobs, proverbially speaking, is my mouth.)

Perhaps I am dissuaded by my own mother's anecdote about a humiliating pre-surgical consultation. As she tells it, the doctor took a fat black Sharpie and marked up her naked breasts with circles and arrows like a C-student's essay in need of correction. When she turned to see them in the mirror, she burst into tears and ran out of the office without looking back. The episode furthered her resolve to teach me to love my body, or at least to value who I am inside more than what I look like outside. And this she did.

But then I think about how nice it would be to score me some perky tatas.

A lift is less an exchange than a minor alteration, I justify. It's not that I covet what Angelina has, I just want what I used to have myself. I want to skip down the street with my children, knowing the breasts are bouncin' and behavin'. I want to look in the mirror and see the me I think I still am instead of the saggier (older), more compromised (older) me I've become. I want to retrieve the tanks and stretchy tube tops from the "donate" bag in my closet.

But I don't know that I'll ever take the plunge. For one, it will strip me of the opportunity to make fun of Those Women, and I don't know if I could live with that.

Besides, there's something about the old nip and tuck that somehow feels like cheating.

In which case the only real solution is to continue down my current path of waiting for my chest to magically revert back to its former glory on its own, without surgery. Or exercise.

Now would be good.

Still waiting.


54 Comments:

Blogger Robin said...

If it makes you feel any better, instead of tube socks and rocks I've got ankle socks and pebbles. Who'd have thought that an A cup actually had enough there to sag... Not fair. There ought to be some kind of compensation for being perenially pear-shaped.

Oh well, I console myself with the knowledge that these boobs did exactly what they were supposed to do - they nourished two children, working hard for over 3.5 years straight. Maybe in my next life I'll get the nice rack I would have chosen in this one.

6/18/07, 7:59 AM  
Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said...

I'm still stuck in the 'A's (even three pregnancies and years of nursing didn't budge my cup size) and was always, like you, firmly against breast surgery. But, then I heard that my post-nursing breasts could look like deflated balloons and I faltered. Do I really want deflated balloons hanging off the front of me?

I'm happy to report that my A's are--dare I say--a bit perky even now, so I think I've dodged that bullet. But, I wouldn't begrudge anyone the desire to 'nip & tuck' a bit.

Botax? Now that is a different story.

6/18/07, 8:03 AM  
Blogger Maggie said...

Yes, the post breastfeeding boobies do seem to go to one extreme or the other. I've got the deflated balloon syndrome -- but I'm used to having no boobs (I actually enjoyed my breastfeeding boobs -- those were the only times I ever got to enjoy cleavage).

6/18/07, 9:04 AM  
Anonymous Jenny said...

As soon as I get the surgery they'll come up with some sort of boob pill you can take. No, I'm waiting for the boob pill.

6/18/07, 9:08 AM  
Anonymous Emily said...

Not only are mine deflated, they are definitely smaller. But I WILL NOT get any help because, while they would look lovely now, they will be really silly looking when I am 80. I don't want to be the octagenarian with the tits of a high school senior.

6/18/07, 9:09 AM  
Blogger Gray Matter Matters said...

I hate to be the voice of dissention, but having known Liz back in her "racks o' glory" stage they really were something to behold. And, I believe they were beheld, often, much to the joy of her boyfriends. You know, I find when in a moral pickle ask yourself the question, "What would Pamela do?"
Fine, for now they're working boobs, but they deserve a comfortable retirement at some point, a chance to sit back, relax and take a load off.

6/18/07, 9:18 AM  
Blogger Loukia said...

I too am considering a lift, but I know I'll never go through with it. I am pregnant with baby number 2 and I never beleived anyone when they said my boobs would change. They did. My bikinis don't fit the same anymore. But there are new bikinis to be bought, and great, great, great bras that Victoria's Secret make. So that'll do. The rest of my body needs just as much work. I'm just about 3 months pregnant and stocked up at Old Navy maternity yesterday - how DEPRESSING is that??? I'll have to be air-lifted to the hospital to give birth if I keep gaining weight at this rate. Sigh.

6/18/07, 9:45 AM  
Blogger Amy Jo said...

Liz - You are not alone. I've already mentally scheduled my lift. My mind was truly made up last Valentine's Day. Dear sweet husband got me one of those sexy little peek-a-boo bra thingies, and when I put it on, my boobs fell through the peek-a-boo holes and obscured the rest of the bra. When he came into the bedroom, I was crying and in no mood for what the bra had intended. He said he bought it for me because he wanted me to know that he still thinks I'm sexy, but unfortunately it didn't have the intended affect.

Good luck with your decision. Plus, since you don't seem like the kind of girl that's going to go for the ones that look really fake, you can still make fun of those women!

6/18/07, 9:52 AM  
Anonymous Chase said...

Oh, The Boyfriend has already been informed that after I have our two kids (he wants two...yeah), he's buying me new boobs. Because I KNOW my D's won't make it through that war.

And he's ok with that. Go figure. :)

6/18/07, 9:55 AM  
Blogger slouching mom said...

Heh. I'm right where you are. When you have to lift your girls to soap the area underneath them, there's a gravity problem.

Sigh.

6/18/07, 10:14 AM  
Blogger mothergoosemouse said...

I have friends who've done it (lifts, augmentations, tummy tucks, lipo), but I'm still deterred by the HBO horror stories.

Plus? It's hard enough for girls to internalize the fact that their bodies are perfect as-is without seeing that mom isn't leading by example.

6/18/07, 10:22 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I know the feeling. I don't think I would go through with it either, but I do fantasize about getting back the boobs of my previous life. The main deterrent for me (besides going under the knife, the cost, etc.) is the way they look. If they could (and feel) as natural as natural breasts, then I might seriously consider it. Otherwise? No thanks. I'll just keep on imagining the breasts I had at 18.

6/18/07, 11:06 AM  
Anonymous madge said...

I want one, yo.

Nothing artificial implanted, just a repositioning and tightening, please. Afterwards, nature can continue to pull them southward, so there will be nothing strange looking when I hit retirement.

I think there's a difference between the hand we are dealt (ie: nose, etc.) and repairing damage.

At nearly four years of pregnancy and nursing, these puppies need help. And I won't feel guilty for hooking them up.

6/18/07, 11:15 AM  
Blogger BK said...

I have to confess, Liz, been there and done that. I waited into my teens too, and landed D or DD...can't remember. When I could I had breast reduction and never looked back. I did have the operation a few times for other reasons, but I love my body even more than I did before. Well, not love maybe more like, some of the time. There's other things beside the breasts.
But I love YES!

6/18/07, 11:16 AM  
Anonymous dee dee said...

I had a reduction and a lift and don't regret it one bit.

6/18/07, 11:21 AM  
Anonymous imstell said...

I have always said I would get my DD girls "jacked back up where they belong" once I was done having children. Well, 8 months after my last I was diagnosed with breast cancer & had a double mastectomy. Lesson: Be careful what you wish for. More important lesson: I just finished reconstruction. Oh, Honey! Get the lift!!!!! My new girls are my silver lining in the whole cancer storm. Imagine life without a bra... Wrap around halter dresses... Swimsuits that don't cost a weeks pay... And the perk is all it's cracked up to be.

6/18/07, 11:37 AM  
Anonymous Laura said...

Love, love, love this post!! My boobs were AMAZING before I had kids! Perfectly perky DDD boobs. Now, I wear an L cup. An L cup!! Who even knew that such a size existed? When my baby years are over, I am sooooo getting a reduction and lift. I've already started saving for it.
Sometimes I worry about what my girls will think and how it will affect their own self-images, but if either one of them is wearing a C cup in 5 grade like I did, I would let them get a reduction, too, if they wanted one. (Not as a 10 year old, but when they are a bit older.)
Anyway, I think getting saggy boobs fixed is like getting crooked teeth fixed. Not that big of a deal.
I say, go for it!

6/18/07, 11:54 AM  
Blogger Fidget said...

I decided long ago that my gift to myself after birthing all of my babies, would be a breast lift / reduction. Reasons?

a) huge

b) I'm tired of kicking them

It's a little bitof vanity but more along the lines of less pain and more sanity. Oye my back is killing me and many more kids and I will have to worry about athletes foot on my nipple

6/18/07, 12:25 PM  
Blogger Jessakah said...

that pic is the best thing i have seen all day. thanks for that!! :)

6/18/07, 12:37 PM  
Blogger Julee said...

Do what makes YOU happy!

We can never go back and be who we used to be -- thank goodness! Back THEN -- when we had our perky, pre-breastfeeding breasts did we have children? Did we have the wisdom that comes only with age and experience?

AND, on a another boob note -- look back at old music videos -- NONE of the women had those large fake boobs that are so obquitous now...I think the archetypal notion of beauty has been sorely influenced by the media. (There was an NPR segment all about that, a couple months ago -- so interesting.)

Personally, I think you should be proud of your tube sock boobs -- they're your badge of honor...you're all the more beautiful...

6/18/07, 1:16 PM  
Anonymous TGI said...

I've wanted a reduction for YEARS but decided I'd let them do their thing (breastfeeding) first. I've gone from a 32F prepregnancy to a 34K in my second pregnancy. That surgury is in my future. I won't feel bad. Vanity is part of it. Comfort is the rest. I missed the young years of tube tops and bikinis. I deserve to think about something other than my breasts for the rest of my life.

Do a Google search on 'laser bra'. It seems like a great procedure that gives a more 'round look. Some reductions give small boobs but they are spread-out and squashed.

6/18/07, 1:47 PM  
Blogger MotherBumper said...

You know, I wish I had taken a pic of the girls before having B. I liked my assets and I sometimes mourn their perkiness. While I'm not entirely uncomfortable with the deflation, I have pondered the knife. But I'm too damn cheap and squirrely about surgery - a roll of duct tape and a good bra suits me just fine.

6/18/07, 2:26 PM  
Blogger Lawyer Mama said...

Yes, I miss my perky boobs too. They've gotten larger with each baby - yeah, no one told me THAT was possible - and now I'm also a saggy DD. And so I've considered the reduction and lift. But I don't know that I'll ever actually do it either.

6/18/07, 2:34 PM  
Blogger Lawyer Mama said...

Yes, I miss my perky boobs too. They've gotten larger with each baby - yeah, no one told me THAT was possible - and now I'm also a saggy DD. And so I've considered the reduction and lift. But I don't know that I'll ever actually do it either.

6/18/07, 2:34 PM  
Anonymous Lisa Gieibtz said...

I'm 25 weeks pregnant with my first and my breast are the largest (now a 'C') and perkiest they've ever been. I hope very much that it'll last, heh.

6/18/07, 2:56 PM  
Anonymous jess said...

For me it's not so much the perkiness as the emptiness. After nursing and weaning four kids i am left with empty boobs. No substance and my brother-in-law is a plastic surgeon. Very tempting.

6/18/07, 4:20 PM  
Blogger Christine said...

Bikini?!?! You wear a bikini? Those days are over for me, unless I go under the knife *I* occasionally consider...tummy tuck. Elephant stomach has hit this girl hard. And my abs were always MY best feature.

6/18/07, 4:22 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

My boobs have never been all that perky, so they don't bother me much. Now, a tummy tuck would be appreciated to get rid of al this loose skin.

6/18/07, 5:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I'm tired of kicking them"--classic. I so know what you mean!

6/18/07, 6:01 PM  
Blogger BOSSY said...

Heed Bossy's warning - and remember she's old as a Grandmother and should know: If you think you want a boob job get it sooner rather than later. Like, Wednesday morning. As Bossy's 30s slipped away she realized investing in New Boobs wouldn't pay off in her race against the clock.

If there's an upside as you move through your 40s: everyone else's boobs get as awful as yours.

6/18/07, 6:09 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Jenny, I need that pill! And Lisa G, I'm sorry to say, but so will you.

Bossy: I think I love you.

6/18/07, 6:24 PM  
Blogger Annie said...

I hear you, loud and clear down here in Boston. Three kids later my once-best assets have to be hoisted every morning, too (sometimes I think I can hear the faint beep*beep*beep of construction machinery in reverse as I do it).

I've always resented Those Women, too. After all, the one upside to being curvy was having awesome boobs. Then all these wispy flowy thin people started getting fake boobs and my ONE EDGE went out the window. Bleh. I'll be watching to see what you decide.

6/18/07, 9:17 PM  
Blogger Annie said...

p.s.Oops. I just realized that, technically, Boston is "up here" but apparently my gravity laden boobs make me feel "down here" from you.

6/18/07, 9:18 PM  
Blogger Treadmillista said...

I always thought plastic surgery was reserved for the incredibly vain, but yes after nursing two kids my boobs are in need of some surgical intervention. I wish there was a push up bra that could help, but since somehow all of my breast tissue escaped along with my milk there isn't much point.

Someone on one of the online forums I read described her post nursing A cups as "just skin" and sadly that fits for me now too. I didn't realize that it was possible for me to shrink from a small B cup to an A cup just from nursing. I think breastfeeding products should have to tout that on some sort of warning label! Okay, not really, and I probably would have nursed anyway, but some warning might have been nice.

6/18/07, 10:21 PM  
Blogger movin'mom said...

Have you tried standing on your head?

I was also a D growing up and then a DD during and immediately following pregnancy but then somehow I found myself in a C.....:( I am not really sure what happened)...I went last week to VS for a new bra and this young pippy of a girl who was WAAAAAYYYY to perky ~~~Measured me and said o no your a B cup........WTF~~~~~
I did just about what your mom did running out of the dr's office. What in the ....does some 19 year old know about measuring for a bra?

6/18/07, 11:53 PM  
Anonymous kathy said...

Mine have gotten larger with each baby, too. I'm tired of them but considering they nursed 3 kids, they don't look too bad. I want a tummy tuck to fix what carrying twins 39 weeks did to it! I don't consider a little help a big deal. I'll tell my daughter the same as what I say about makeup...that it helps me look my best and maybe even feel a bit better about myself. What's wrong with that? I'm comfortable with who I am. I'm also comfortable enough to admit that I'd like to look the way *I* want to look and not be apologetic for it.

6/19/07, 1:20 AM  
Blogger Lady M said...

>Still waiting.

Sigh. I worry more about my stomach still.

6/19/07, 4:09 AM  
Blogger Jaelithe said...

See, mine were never much to write home about (perfectly average 34 barely-Cs) before I got pregnant.

They were nicely enhanced for a while during pregnancy and breasfeeding. (Though I am trying to block those first days of rock-hard engorgement from my mind right now don't think about it HOLY MOLY).

Then after I stopped nursing my son, they went and shrunk. SHRUNK. And now I'm sporting a pair of barely Bs. (Which may in fact really be As, but I refuse to try on the A cup bras to see).

They're still perky, though. Spose I should be thankful for, er, small, favors, eh?

I, too, have become more understanding of the plastic set post-baby. Cuz, dang it, I didn't know what I had!

6/19/07, 11:10 AM  
Blogger Maternal Mirth said...

I had small breasts for a long time, even after giving birth. It was a sore spot for me. I wanted to feel sexy and I had never heard a man say "God I love a woman with a 32A and NOTHING MORE"

I am one of THOSE women. I got an augmentation from a 32A to a 34C. I thought "I have done it ... gone to the dark (and shallow) side"

Then one day, that guilt passed. I was happy with my body, God-given parts and Dr-given parts.

I say GO FOR IT!!! The guilt is temporary.

M&M

6/19/07, 3:00 PM  
Blogger Damselfly said...

Tube socks, Sob!

I may be in line for a lift in a few years....

6/19/07, 3:52 PM  
Blogger Damsel said...

GREAT post!!!! LOL!!!

6/19/07, 9:38 PM  
Blogger panthergirl said...

Firstly, I found you through the Blog Her site and I'm thrilled that I did. I'm a NYC native and love finding other bloggers who know where "the city" is. There's only one.

Secondly, I loved Thirtysomething as well. It mirrored my life at that time, to a tee. I'm on the Amazon.com "notify me when this is on DVD" list. Sad, but true.

Boob lifts: I thought about it as well. I NEVER had those perky breasts with an "underside". (My daughter got them, somehow. Bitch.) However.......... I did some research and the scars you get from a breastlift are GROSS!!! So, I'm sticking with my deflated water balloons.

6/20/07, 7:32 AM  
Anonymous TB said...

I hear ya loud and clear. It remains to be seen if I'll revert back to perky, A/Bs when this is all said and done. Right now, I can't imagine it. And I'm still fruitlessly searching for a DD/E nursing bra that can be worn with anything but an oversized T-shirt.

6/20/07, 1:31 PM  
Blogger gingajoy said...

yeah. stuck with saggy flaps of b-cup here. i've watched too much discovery channel to ever let someone cut 'em open though.

that said, a friend of mine, after nursing a boy who only liked "righty," has one boob seriously more droopy than the other. if this was me, i'd consider it. i think. or i'd get knocked up and force #2 kid to use lefty only.

6/20/07, 2:21 PM  
Anonymous binkytown said...

I say do it. I feel very differently about those who choose to go under the knife to go down a size than I do those who do it to go up six sizes. It's a different kind of thing.

(Ps- I also heard them referred to as wet socks with sand in them)

6/20/07, 3:27 PM  
Blogger kittenpie said...

If it gives you hope, mine did make something of a comeback after the day, two weeks after weaning, that I caught sight of them in a mirror and DID cry. They aren't what they were, but aren't terrible. Why I'm pondering doing this to them again is beyond me...
But my hairdresser has said what she wants for a push present is not jewelry, but to fix anything that goes south. So there you go. (And? I hear ya. Tempting, but still feels wrong and can't imagine volunteering for surgery.)

6/21/07, 7:32 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Underwire harness of doom. Oh god yes. Please release me.

Oh, for the days when I could go braless. Now I SLEEP in a bra. God. It sucks.

6/22/07, 9:02 AM  
Blogger PDX Mama said...

I know, I know. Pondered it myself at times - even before kids. My girls never got me out of speeding tickets - since they weren't all that visible! :-) But I think I'm going to stick out with these, I don't like pain!

6/22/07, 9:36 AM  
Anonymous Izzy said...

I'm telling you, the ONLY reason anymore that I don't get my Droopy Dawgs "fixed" in one manner or another is because of the message it would send my daughter about body image and the down time it would take that I just don't have.

But otherwise, I'd be SO there. It was a lot easier for me to frown on surgical alternatives BEFORE nursing two babies. Now? Not so much.

6/23/07, 2:43 PM  
Blogger Adventures In Babywearing said...

This has to be the best post I've read in a very.long.time! Oh how I can relate!

Steph

6/23/07, 3:22 PM  
Anonymous Beth B. said...

Embrace the new you, nothing that the right bra can't fix. Victoria's Secret helps me move things up and about. Even though I have to put up with seeing those darn skeletal models pictured on the walls. I dream of a tummy tuck to take away what my wonderful twins left me after they popped into the world. But I can only do that if I could go to one of those fancy places to recover - for a few weeks. So, since that ain't happenin - I will also have to embrace my new shape!

6/23/07, 4:51 PM  
Blogger Staci Schoff said...

Since you admitted first -- just the other day I was totally looking at before/after pics of boob lifts!

I can't really afford one, and I do have a philosophical problem with them, but I would have overlooked both of those to get my old (young) boobs back.

But the description of the surgery makes me sick -- and the after photos? Not really "after" enough on most of them to please me.

But if you get one, I totally want to hear how it goes!

6/24/07, 2:38 AM  
Anonymous Cheryl said...

Truth be told, I never did have perky or big ones! At my age, everything in and on my body is not the same as my 20's, 30's or 40's. I want to grow old gracefully and any minute now, I am expecting wisdom to come from a lightning bolt!

6/24/07, 7:57 AM  
Blogger modmom said...

when my daughter heard that lizard's tails can come off + grow back, she asked me when is my breast going to grow back.

i didn't get "reconstruction" after my mastectomy last year + i never will.

6/24/07, 6:56 PM  

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