Saturday, March 13, 2010

Things I Am Learning

There are two things about pregnancy and postpartum that I learned that still puzzle me.

If every single person on this planet was born the way Thora was born (i.e., by coming out of their mothers, as opposed to being hatched or concocted in a test tube) which as far as I know nearly everyone was, I do not understand why most people still measure pregnancy in months. Not having been pregnant before, I learned recently that pregnancy does not last nine months. It's actually almost ten months, or more precisely, 40 weeks. Give or take a week or two. Or three. So I, like all the pregnant ladies I knew, measured my pregnancy in weeks. And SO MANY people would ask: "How far along are you?" and I would say "23 weeks" or "29 weeks" or however many weeks I was, and then they'd ask, "How many months is that?" And then I would have to count on my fingers because I really wasn't keeping track of months. It got really annoying when I started to run out of fingers.

Is it an American thing kind of like not using the metric system? Why do we count so inaccurately? I felt like I was nine months pregnant forever, because I was in my ninth month and then I was nine months and then I was in my tenth month like nearly every other pregnant person (and thankfully I did not go into my eleventh month like some) but no one seemed to understand ten months so I just kept saying nine. I tried to explain the weeks but people acted like they'd never heard of such a thing - even people who have children of their own so they *obviously* were clued in on this secret at some point - so eventually I just said " Nine months, could be any day now!" for what felt like a thousand years. And I swore by the end of it all that I would deck the next person who said "You haven't popped yet? You look like you're gonna pop any minute now!"

The other thing I learned (and that still puzzles me) is about bra size. If you don't want to read about my breasts then please stop here. I have no shame anymore, not since I have learned to nurse in public. I really don't care what people think or know about my breasts since they have discovered their true purpose in life a month ago. Anyway. I have had (tiny, 34A sized) breasts since I was about twelve and I have been wearing a bra, whether I needed one or not, for most of that time. That is twenty-five years of breast-having and bra-wearing! I grew out of my tiny bras within eight weeks of pregnancy (that would be two months, for those of you who don't know about the weeks thing) and I had to buy bigger ones every eight we-- err, two months or so. At around 30 weeks I found myself in a Motherhood Maternity and the ladies came after me with a tape measure, proclaiming me a 38D and saying I would get even bigger after the baby was born. They tried to push crazy ugly grandma bras on me and I fled. How could I be a 38? And a D? Yikes. I took a friend's advice and bought a half dozen nursing tank tops instead. But a bra was eventually unavoidable... I can't wear tank tops under everything. So it wasn't until last week at a store wittily called "The Upper Breast Side" that I learned about bra sizes. I was fitted correctly for the first time in my life and discovered that as a nursing mom I am a 34E. Yes, an E (or a DD). Now, I know they have grown. Everyone tells me so. In pictures on Facebook people comment on the size of my breasts almost as much as they comment on the cuteness of my daughter. But I am certainly not THAT big, there are lots of people I know who are MUCH bigger and I bet they're not an E cup! So I looked it up and what I learned is that not all Es are equal. That is to say that not everyone who is an E has the same size breasts. You measure your chest around at the smallest point (ie above your breasts). There I am a 34. Then you measure around at the largest point. There I am a 39 or thereabouts. Now what happens is that you subtract the largest from the smallest. For me I get 5. For every inch you measure one cup size. Thusly I am a 34E. So it really is only a competition between your smallest and largest parts of your chest and not a competition between you and whoever did the most "I must, I must, I must increase my bust" exercises. Es are all relative. Why did it take me 37 years to learn that? And what I still don't know is what size I will be when I stop nursing. Will I go back to my A cup? Or will I stay bigger? Or will I get even smaller and have horrible little floppy things with no ooomph?

Oh and PS: I got two really nice bras. There's something to be said for nursing a baby - it's the first time in my life that my bras don't look like I bought them in the Miss Teen section.


  1. This is Angela in Portland....

    34 E! way to go! I haven't measured myself yet but my milk just came in this morning and I'm feeling proud! I've been a 33A or 34AA for years and I've been happy with my new developments this entire pregnancy. I kinda wanted to have the OMG are those really mine experience, but so far they still look natural, just bigger.

    The only thing is that I've always hated bra wearing but with the leakage it's kinda unavoidable.

  2. Some ladies stay their nursing size, some get smaller than they were before they started. There's really no way to tell, and what happens to your breasts is actually a function of the pregnancy, not whether you breastfeed or not (so no worries about breastfeeding ruining a figure! If you had the baby, the damage is done!). When you first wean you might be horrified at the "empty sack" stage, but this passes and they adjust. A friend of mine was a 32A her whole life and ended up a 38H or something absurd and wore "minimizers" once she weaned her baby!

  3. I freaking LOVED my boobs when I was pregnant and nursing. I'm back to a less-than-buoyant 36A (had my first fitting ever after I weaned, found a great bra for $50 and now buy them on ebay for half as much) but woman, I've seen 36C and I didn't want to go back.


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