Accepting the Body I Cannot Change

This is a sensitive topic for me and I hesitated even sharing it as a post. But I remembered this is my personal space, and the place I feel most comfortable sharing my thoughts. And further, it’s a post that I feel is important to talk about and will (hopefully) resonate with other women and moms out there.

My entire life, I’ve hated the fact that my bust has always been on the bigger size. I didn’t eat my way into a large bra size. I was “blessed” with these genetics.

[Side Note: I’m not using the anatomically proper body terms or slang in this post to avoid spammers.]

I know some of you are thinking, “Are you kidding? What a great problem to have!” Well it’s really not — it’s incredibly frustrating!

The first time I remember feeling depressed about my upper body size was as a teenager, when I found in a boutique store the most beautiful coral-colored sleeveless top with multi-colored embroidery on the collar. I loved this shirt and wanted it more than any other piece of clothing. But it was too small on top. And back in those days, it was “what you see is what you get.” There was no Internet to find another size online. I was so sad at the thought of not getting that shirt that I bought it anyway and used a wide belt to flatten my chest in order to wear it. Doing this at 13-years-old was extremely depressing. Eventually I got rid of the shirt because of the shame I felt.

Even today, it’s hard to be that person with a large chest. Difficult is an understatement when shopping for shirts and dresses because you always have to look at the large sizes. So even if the rest of your body is not an XL, you’ll always end up in the XL or XXL section for tops. I really don’t care what the labels read, but what I hate is that larger sizes mean less variety. Not to mention the fact that even if you find a XL top that “fits,” it still may look look like crap on you (because shirts aren’t typically designed for the larger endowed).

You also have to spend quite a bit of cash on a decent bra that fits and flatters. Let’s not even start with bathing suits! You don’t want to know how much coin I spent to find a flattering swimsuit this summer. Simply dropping in to Target or Old Navy and finding a suit off the rack is not a possibility. And trying to run or jog with a large bust doesn’t work well unless you’re wearing multiple sports bras (and even that’s not a guarantee).

There are people with this situation that have undergone breast reduction surgery. That’s not an option for me because: 1) It’s super expensive and I’m not willing to go into financial debt for my body (and insurance very rarely covers the procedure unless there’s an underlying medical condition); and 2) The risk and fear of surgery is too scary for me. I hoped beyond hope I would be one of those women whose chest got smaller after having a baby; the opposite happened for me.

All of this said, the reason I’m writing this post is because of this photo.

I had a moment of acceptance of my upper body a few months ago. Sophie and I were shopping for dresses for an upcoming wedding. I was frustrated that I couldn’t find a decent dress that fit my upper body, and I was holding back tears by the time I got to the dress in the above photo.

Yet when I looked at the photo, all I could see was that little girl behind me, looking up at me smiling. I have no idea why she was grinning. But it struck me that it didn’t matter how I viewed myself or how much I hated my chest. All that mattered was that I’m alive, healthy and have a daughter (and husband too) who loves me no matter what.

Ever since that moment, I’ve come to accept my body for what it is (it only took almost 40 years!). Do I still wish I had a smaller bust? Absolutely! But I no longer feel the same anger and frustration I did before. This is who I am, and (for the most part) I like myself and I guess my kid does too! And really, what more could I ask for?!

leahs thoughts_collage
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