I have seven-year-old twin boys. I’ve been a single mom for almost three years, and in the time leading up to my separation, we had a family bed. I mean, the boys had their own room, but most nights we slept together. This made sense being that I breastfed them until they were two, but it was also a parenting choice that made sense to my co-parent and me on a personal level. The family bed.
As time has gone on – as the boys have gotten older – it’s made more and more sense to redefine boundaries. We talk very openly in our house, and the phrase “personal bubble” is used to describe limit setting and expectations. Nonetheless, I remain steadfast in my belief that the human body isn’t something to be ashamed of, and in many ways the boys are still too young to sexualize it. We have basic rules of courtesy in the house, like to knock on the door before entering bathrooms or bedrooms, but we don’t always remember to shut the door in the first place.
So, imagine my surprise when, as I was getting dressed one day recently, one of my sons came in and, for reasons I’ll never understand, lifted up my breasts, looked at me, and said, “Didn’t these use to be up here?”
Cue the sound of a needle skipping off a record.
Cue the sound of my door closing. Forever.
Mom’s bubble just got bigger.
Yes! They did used to be up there! But then I breastfed you and your brother until you were two! You killed them! I’m not saying I want a medal for breastfeeding twins until they were two but, as the saying goes, I’d at least like a chest to pin it on.
Nice medal, Gloria. Interesting choice, pinning it in the middle of your abdomen like that.
A couple of days later, I was talking to my sister, Kim, who’d just had gall bladder surgery. She also had a minor surgery last year.
“Yeah. I am not having anymore surgeries!” she said. “Well, not until next year when I get my boobs done.”
My sister and I couldn’t be built more physically different. I’m 5’ 5”, red haired, brown eyed, on the slender side, and, well, as I used to joke, at least I got the brains. (It was much funnier when we were kids, trust me. Well, to me.) Kim, on the other hand, is 5’ tall, blond, blue eyed, and…er…more “full figured.”
“I wish we could just share. Give a little, get a little,” I told her. Then I told her the story about what my son said and she laughed. And laughed. “Anyway,” I said, “it’s not like if I had 7,000 extra dollars I would exactly put it into a boob job. There are plenty of other things competing for that kind of money.”
“But, you’re going to start contributing to that online journal now. You could pay for it when you start making money.”
“Ah. No,” I told her. “I don’t get paid for writing for them. I do it for the satisfaction of it. And satisfaction won’t buy you a boob job.”
I thought that was pretty funny. Decided I wanted a shirt that said that. Because, at the end of the day, if it’s worth saying, it’s worth putting on a shirt. That’s my philosophy.
“Is there any such thing as real satisfaction without perfect tits?” my friend Cheryl asked when I told her this.
“That is my point, my friend.”
“I had a disturbing moment the other night,” she told me. “When I was in bed, I rolled over on my side. My aging body has lost the ability to retain boob shape. They’re like small, sparsely filled bean bags. Not attractive!”
“You want a real moment of horror?” I asked. “Next time you’re naked, go to a mirror, lift your arms above your head and try to press your elbows together.”
“That sounds like a terrible idea. You know what else is awful? Being on top and a little hunched over with your partner and looking down at your chest. Dim lighting, but still enough to see. The horror! The horror!”
I was at a party Saturday night and met a whole room full of women, to whom I brought up this very subject. (I’m great fun at parties.) It seems like moms are the ones who sympathize the most.
You hear all the time about how people don’t feel as old as their age. “Maude is 86, but boy is she young in spirit.” That kind of thing. But for women – maybe especially moms – I think many of us feel young in body as well. And when you’re having a moment of intimacy – when you’re supposed to be feeling sexy – and you look down and your once full, shapely breasts are little, misshapen pendulous pears…Well, it can sometimes take the spark out of the moment.
But I wonder: Would I really do it? If I won the lottery right now, would I get breast augmentation surgery?
Hm. It’s hard to say. On the one hand, I practically majored in Feminist Studies in college, and I truly do feel that the human body should be celebrated. On the other hand, I think about it, so obviously all that learnin’ didn’t take the impulse away. If I won the Powerball, there are a thousand other things I would absolutely do with the money – but it’s not like I would spend it all on humanitarian causes. Right?
Of course, there’s very little chance of my winning the Powerball. I’d go so far as to say almost none. So if I’m ever going to be rich enough that the only thing left to buy are breast implants, it’s going to have to be because of this writing thing. Even if it doesn’t ever pay out, at least I truly do get a great amount of satisfaction from it. However, it’s the only skill I’ve got and if anything is going to make me millions, it will have to be this.
So, come on writing. Mama needs a new pair of boobs!