Thank you for your service: six months into breast-feeding, Emma Clifton wishes she had paid more attention to her pre-pregnancy boobs.
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Years ago, I interviewed an actor who was in the trenches of breastfeeding her second baby, and when I asked her what advice she would give her younger self, she had no hesitation.
“Get your boobs out more.”
At the time, I was in my 20s, chronically single, and didn’t really think about my boobs at all. Now, I get it.
I GET IT.
As I approach the latest of my late 30s, six months into breastfeeding, I wish I had listened to this advice. Hell, I wish I had been a little more lax on my terror of nude photos, just on the off chance I might become Prime Minister (snort).
Because here I am, very much not a Prime Minister, and with boobs that are in the twilight of their years. Who will remember them, as they once were?
‘Honestly, I kind of wish that more people had seen them in their prime? It just feels like a missed opportunity.’
I wish I had photos of them, in their prime. Honestly, I kind of wish that more people had seen them in their prime? It just feels like a missed opportunity.
Part of this feels ironic, because they’ve never had more of a public role than they do now, when I have to go dead inside and slip into a glazed state every time I have to whip one out to feed my son.
Despite being told repeatedly that breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world (eyeroll), it never DOESN’T feel like I’m just… getting a tit out. In public.
Years ago when I was in my final year of high school, I accidentally flashed both boobs to the entire school during Swimming Sports day, when my swimsuit slipped. As I finished the race – dead last, naturally – it took an extremely mortified and very religious teacher to tell me, “Um, Emma, you need to… adjust yourself.”
At the time, I was 17 and obviously wanted to immediately drop dead – the staff, the school, the parents with their video cameras (it was the early 2000s) were all lined up to watch the race. Now… I want that footage.
The late Nora Ephron once wrote about this (she wrote a lot about her body, and her boobs, and ageing, and I never really got it, and now, as before, I GET IT). In her book, I Feel Bad About My Neck, And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman, she wrote:
“Oh, how I regret not having worn a bikini for the entire year I was twenty-six. If anyone young is reading this, go, right this minute, put on a bikini, and don’t take it off until you’re thirty-four.”
Honestly, quite a low age bracket there, Nora, but never mind. I always thought that her sentiment was a thin thing, and, well, that’s just simply never been my problem.
But now I understand the idea that we truly do not appreciate what we have until it/they has gone through the rigours of time, or at the very least changed size, shape and colour (????)
And I’m well aware that it’s not just breastfeeding that does a number on the old rack – after all, I’m writing this at the tail-end of Breast Cancer Awareness month, and breastfeeding is but a sunny, joyful walk in the park compared to that world.
I was just a little naïve as to how quickly, fundamentally and maybe permanently this process would change my boobs. How quickly that form would turn into function. And how much I would find myself agreeing with, of all people, Moira Schitt.