I wanted to share with you a 'thank you letter' I wrote to my boobs a few years ago. First published in Aroha (La Leche League NZ e-magazine, April 2020)
Thank you letter to my boobs.
I never appreciated you when I was young. Always jealous of my sister and my Mum. They got plenty and I ended up with none. Bee stings they were called; little bumps. No knockers, bazookas or bongos here, I missed out. Flat as a pancake – that’s me. The only one in my family to have a membership to the itty bitty titty committee. I never really need to wear a bra, but Mum bought me one anyway, wanted me to feel like I fitted in. My first bra – an 8aa, when I was 12. A token gesture really, no support, just some fabric triangles.
Now don’t get me wrong, I always wanted A’s in school, but I wanted them on paper, just not on my chest. Slowly you grew; 10aa, 10a, and then finally a massive 12a by the end of high school. Still, no over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder needed here. Then one day you changed. You started to tingle and swell. The first sign of the new adventure I didn’t even dream was possible. No more speed bumps here, the bazookas had finally arrived. Well, not quite, but C’s get degrees and they also fill out tops better than A’s ever could. Yet still I had doubts. Doubts that you could do your job. Doubts that you could actually manage to sustain a whole being.
How could these itty bitty titties actually provide all that a baby needs to survive and thrive? My midwife, the greatest midwife ever, brand new graduate, the greatest supporter promoter and educator for breastfeeding. She reassured me that these itty bitty titties had just as much chance of succeeding as my larger counterparts. And boy did they succeed! Talk about a pair of overachievers. I could have fed an entire village! At least that’s what it felt like. Red stripe cloth nappies folded up, down my top, and still, I leaked through. Towels piled up in my bed to save me changing my sheets every day.
My baby grew and grew, I leaked and leaked, but still, I had doubts. How did I know if you were actually giving my baby all that she needed? All anyone had to do was look at my baby and it was obvious that she was getting more than enough. But still, the doubts crept in. I even bought lactation drops because I thought I needed to make more milk for my growing baby, and you know what happened next... Mastitis! That son of a @#$#@! Too much milk and not enough feeding. That sucker kicked my butt. Feeding while tears streamed down my face, dripping on my baby’s bald head. I should have trusted you, my dear boobies, and not messed around with what you were doing. Would I still have got Mastitis- who knows? We got through it though with antibiotics, rest and lots of feeding. So much feeding! I thought that you were going to fall off! Or run away and join the circus so you could get a break from the baby that seemed to constantly want to feed.
But now I trusted you, my dear boobies. You were doing what you were designed to do. You were nourishing this baby, she was growing and thriving. I was growing and thriving too, not just surviving.
The days and nights were long, but we got through it together. You were the greatest parenting tool I had at my disposal. You fixed the problems, the tears, the hunger, the tiredness, the tummy bugs, the fevers, teething!?! You survived being bitten, twiddled, grazed and pinched (thankfully these only happened rarely). You were doing your job, doing what nature had intended. You kept up the work until you were no longer needed. And there were times when I could not see an end; times when I thought my life would be like this forever. But there is always an end and a new beginning.
You served for three and a half years, on-call and always ready when needed. And for this I thank you. I thank you for allowing me to trust in you, and therefore trust in myself. Trust in the knowledge that my body is capable and beautiful and amazing. Thank you, my dear boobs, for introducing me to my life’s work and showing me just how marvellous these mammary glands can be.