I’ve been contemplating writing this post for a long time, but fear of judgement and sharing something so personal has kept me from doing so. I have never shied away from sharing this in my real (non online) life to close friends and family, though, and know that when I read about other women who have gone through something similar, I love it, so if this post connects with even one person, I’ll be grateful.
As far back as I can remember I was embarrassed and unhappy with my breasts. I grew quickly and it seems like, overnight. I wore a D bra in 7th grade and it elicited a lot of attention that was pretty uncomfortable. If you grow up as a woman with larger breasts, it garners attention. I remember being ogled by grown men in parking lots at fourteen, always wanting to wear baggy shirts, and bathing suits were even more revealing. I “lucked” out by being naturally curvier, with a smaller waist, and this creates a “sexy” look that is hard to handle as a young girl. I just remember a ton of unwanted attention that felt intrusive. I could never find bras that fit, I didn’t feel like I could wear cute, skinny strap bikinis like the other girls, and anything with daintier straps was out. This was during the 90’s when uber skinny models (Kate Moss) were the rage, and I never felt like my body fit. I also had stretch marks from growing really fast, and my breasts were large, but not perky in the least, and I wore a bra 24/7 to feel comfortable. It was a really self concious time, I guess.
I wanted to have a reduction from an early age, and would dream about having breasts that weren’t a hassle. They were my biggest worry as a young girl and into my 20’s, and figuring out how to manage a larger chest size was exhausting. I got pregnant twice and gave birth twice, and breastfed twice, and after that was all said and done, they were worse. (Not to mention when I was breastfeeding they were a nightmare size, and scarily huge.)
About six months after my son was born I found out a close friend of mine had gotten a reduction and it sparked the thought that I could finally get it done, too. She had had it paid for by insurance for medical reasons (our husbands are both in the military and we have good healthcare), so I made the initial appointment with my doctor to see if I could be medically cleared for a referral. She determined that I was a good candidate (grooved shoulders from bra straps, recurring back pain), so I was referred to a plastic surgeon. For my first appointment (with my two kids in tow, lol), I had pictures taken, and the surgeon explained how reduction surgeries work if insurance pays for them. Basically there is a formula based on body type and weight, where they figure how much your breasts should weigh and how much they should take out. The surgeon is required to take out that much breast tissue and then send it in to make sure that they didn’t “cheat” the amount needed for medical reasons. (More on that later.) Also, he described my original breasts as “softballs in a tube sock,” if that answers any questions on what they looked like pre- surgery (bold, but accurate, ha.)
On the day of my surgery I was excited and so ready. I knew I wouldn’t be able to pick up my kids for 6 weeks (they were 7 months old and about 2.5 years old then), so we scheduled help for a couple of weeks, and then I did my best after that. I brought my front close bra in from Wal-Mart that I was required to wear, got all marked up with permanent marker, and then the next thing I knew I was waking up and heading home. I remember putting my seat belt on and feeling like my breasts were finally normal sized, it was so surreal. Pretty much a dream come true. This particular surgery was pretty painful to recover from. I have an anchor cut under each breast, then a line up from there to my nipples, and then those were relocated and I have a circular scar around each of those. They also did liposuction under my armpits so that all the breast tissue required by my insurance company could be sent it and it would be enough. I was swollen, and about a C cup immediatley after surgery, but FINALLY perky and I did not need to wear a bra. I was in heaven.
Disclaimer: after having a surgery like this (where they basically relocate your nipples), you tend to lose most of your nipple sensation (bummer) and it is almost impossible to breast feed, so keep this in mind if either of these are important to you.
Over the next two years I noticed that my bra size was getting smaller (I started exercising and losing weight and getting fit again after babies!), and I found I didn’t feel like me. I had gone about 30 years with a larger chest, or an hourglass figure if you will, and my increasingly smaller chest size (now a small B) was not feeling right. I found that because I had had my surgery paid for by my insurance, I didn’t have a choice about the size I ended up with. My body was a formula and they determined how much to leave me with and that was that. While I loved how I felt after surgery, I was becoming increasingly unhappy with the end size. About 2 years after my reduction I confessed this to my husband and that I was debating another surgery, and he encouraged me to do what felt right for me. (I adore him and his support!) I remember feeling really foolish, because I had gone through this surgery that I had wanted my whole life, and despite the fact that I didn’t regret it, I still wasn’t completely happy.
So I booked a breast augmentation consultation with my original surgeon (I loved him and his surgery center!) In the meeting, he explained that a lot of people aren’t as happy with medical reductions because of the formulaic size issues, and that a lot will actually get augmentations at the same time as the surgery to combat this. (He might have said this to me originally, but I was so hell-bent to be SMALLER DAMN IT that I most likely never heard him.) After the consultation and getting to play with all the implants to determine size, I booked the surgery.
A few details: I chose silicone, because they are the most natural and pretty darn fool-proof nowadays), they are placed under my chest muscles, and mine are 375cc volume (which equate to about a D-DD size.) I wanted to be not too big and not too small, and my surgeon wanted to make sure I was happy. He mentioned that most women after surgery tend to wish they had gone bigger, so if you choose between 2 sizes he recommended going with the bigger. I would agree with him there. I chose the bigger size and I am super happy. I find that most people are surprised they are the size they are, and they do not come across as “fake.”
The surgery itself was much like the first, except the incisions were smaller (about an inch long on the same scar underneath as my first), and the recovery was way easier. I did not have help after this surgery, so the day after I was home with my kids and my husband went to work and I may have been a little hopped up on pain meds that day. Initially, implants have to settle, so they are very swollen and are kind of right under your collarbone. It’s very “Pam Anderson” and scary if you don’t expect it, or if you have breastfed, they look exactly like the day your milk comes in. The swelling goes away after a month or so of icing them and rest, the implants settle into place, and before you know it you are YOU, but better. The pain is very tolerable, and again, I liken it to the feeling of having to breastfeed, but you can’t feed your baby lol. Nothing like the first surgery! I was back on my feet the next day and working out in a limited way about 2 weeks later.
All in all, I am so happy I had both surgeries. Would I have condensed them together if I knew better/wasn’t so stubborn? YES. But I am beyond thrilled with the result. I used to spend a lot of time worrying about how clothes would fit, how I looked naked, what bathing suits would work, where I’d find a sports bra that actually held me in, etc., and I didn’t enjoy life. My breasts were a constant thought from middle school on, and being able to do these surgeries, FOR ME, was amazing. I love how they look, and I love that I feel like the true me that I was always supposed to be.
Weirdly enough, I didn’t share about my breast implants to really anyone for a long time. Most people knew about the first surgery, but I kept the second really private. I just didn’t want to explain my reasoning behind going smaller, then bigger, and all my inner feelings on that. (And weirdly enough, no one even really noticed me go from a B cup back to a D.) Truth: people aren’t paying attention nearly as enough as we think they are, so stop worrying about what others think!
I’m not ashamed to have implants. I love that I did something that I dreamed about forever, and while the road was a bit different than I envisioned, I would never take it back. I feel like my best self this way, like it was the way I was meant to be, and the freedom of mind and the confidence it gives me is everything.