Although you can’t tell it from my head-shot, I would say I’m, um, “blessed” enough to qualify for a breast reduction should I want one. I don’t, for a number of reasons.
[Also, if you don’t have large breasts, you may be tempted to be envious of those of us who do. Don’t. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be. It would be nice to be able to walk into a clothing store and not worry about finding a shirt that either doesn’t button up the front; or that buttons up the front, but doesn’t gape. It would also be nice to wear the same size in top and bottom. I hate bra-shopping, because it’s almost impossible to find a good bra that’s comfortable for longer than a few hours. It seems that most bra manufacturers design bras for the average woman in mind, and then just add extra fabric to accommodate larger sizes. HAH! So, I just get them from Enell. They are comfortable and supportive. Most of my friends would have a drawer full of pretty bras of all different fabric types and designs; I counted myself lucky to find one that fit. Forget “Victoria’s Secret”! They only stock certain bra sizes — only up to, I think 38C, or perhaps 40C, and the biggest D size you could get was 36. I guess that’s their only definition of sexy. Also, I was always suspicious of whether guys were attracted to me or to them. Sometimes it wasn’t hard to tell with certain Mr. Wandering-Eyes! And finally — “the bigger they are, the harder they fall!”]
So, with all that I could say negatively against having large breasts, why wouldn’t I get a breast reduction? For many reasons! One would certainly be money. I don’t just have spare cash floating around to use on cosmetic surgery. But, let’s say I won the lottery or something… Nope! Still wouldn’t!
I’ve seen the surgery done several years ago on some cable channel (probably Discovery Health), and, well, let’s just say I sat there with my arms crossed over my chest in a protective fashion for nearly the entire duration of the show. Basically, they stuck a fat-melting-and-sucking rod into the breast and jiggled it around, back and forth, and in and out — making me cringe. Then, there was too much skin on the breast when they were done, and the woman would just end up with saggy boobs, so they had to do a breast lift or tuck. This involved (take a deep breath, everyone) cutting off the areola, drawing together the skin from both the upper and lower part of the breast, so that it wouldn’t sag, then sewing the areola back onto the breast. I don’t know if this is still the typical way it’s done, but the thought of it just makes me hurt vicariously. And the recovery is quite painful and long, as well. But that’s not the biggest reason.
The biggest reason is, quite frankly, the likelihood that I could not breastfeed future children, should I have any more. One of the blogs I read is by a woman who among other things had a breast reduction many years ago, prior to having children. She was very prepared that she wouldn’t be able to breastfeed when she finally had her son, because her doctor had warned her that she had only a 30% likelihood of being able to nurse her own babies due to the surgery. I just don’t think I could take that risk. Having nursed my two children, it would be extremely hard on me emotionally if I could not breastfeed any other children I might have — and made that much worse by knowing that it was due to some choice of mine, something elective that I did not need to have done. Yes, most babies don’t suffer ill effects from formula; yes you can still snuggle your baby even if you don’t breastfeed… but it just doesn’t seem the same to me. And it wasn’t for this other blogger either.
She was prepared for nursing not to work, but she wanted to try, just to see if she could. I’ve heard of other women who have had breast reductions, and were able to partially but not completely breastfeed. I’m not sure if that percentage of women who can breastfeed after a reduction includes only those who can completely breastfeed their children, or all women who have at least some retained ability to produce milk are included in that 30% figure. From what I understand, the reduction process (either the liposuction or removing the areola, or both) can interfere with the ability to breastfeed either by destroying the milk glands themselves, or destroying or “rerouting” the ducts that transport the milk from the glands to the areola. In the first instance, not enough milk would be produced; in the second, the milk would be produced, but could not reach the baby. So, it seems that some women who have a breast reduction will have some parts of the milk-producing or -transporting system be destroyed or compromised, but others will still be intact.
This blogger I’m referring to was able to breastfeed. Exclusively breastfeed. She went from expecting to have to feed her baby only formula, to being able to exclusively breastfeed for the first six months, and intended on breastfeeding him at least partially until he was twelve months old. She spoke most eloquently of the joy and satisfaction she found in breastfeeding, and particularly the pleasure of him contentedly nursing, needing nothing more than the comfort and milk she gave him. I would miss that. And I don’t want to.