Our relationship with our boobs can change over time. We spoke to 8 women about the moment they realised they loved their breasts.
When I think of my relationship with my boobs, I realise it’s changed over time.
From moments of frustration when trying to find the correct bra size, to dealing with the challenges of having large breasts during the summer months (underboob sweat is no joke) it can be difficult to deal with something that is so much a part of you but at times can look and feel so different from those around you.
It’s something that many can relate to. Recent research by Stylist, in collaboration with M&S, found that just 17% of women said they really like their boobs, and more than 51% wished they were either bigger or smaller.
Going through the motions of wanting to change something about your body is pretty common – but one of the best things about reflecting on my relationship with my boobs is how it has evolved over the years and my love and appreciation for how they look, feel and function continues to be the main priority.
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How do women actually feel about their boobs?
In a bid to celebrate our boobs in all their various shapes and sizes, Stylist spoke to 8 women about their relationship with their boobs and the moment they began to love them the most.
Geraldine Joaquim, 52, hypnotherapist & wellness coach
“My relationship with my breasts has evolved over the years. I’ve never hated them but as I’ve got older, I’ve learned to appreciate them and love them for different reasons. Before having children I probably saw them as ‘decoration’; they defined my female shape and I liked how they made me look. Then when I had children in my late 30s, that all morphed into something more clinical, their biological reason as a way of nourishing my daughters.
“My experience of breast cancer also changed my view and appreciation for them as I realised it could have been so much worse. During my treatment, I met some ladies who had mastectomies and are waiting for reconstruction surgery. I feel incredibly lucky that I haven’t gone through that and it made me realise over the years how amazing my breasts are.”
Anupa Roper, 44, children’s author and body image educator
“I used to dislike my breasts when I was much younger. Like the rest of my body, they remained small while everyone around me seemed to be developing at a fast pace. In my 20s I began to love my breasts and in my 40s I love them even more. After two children and lots of breastfeeding, I realised that there is no correct way for breasts to be. We are all unique and mine are lovely just the way they are.”
Esther Shaw, 43, journalist
“When I first got diagnosed with breast cancer, I was not only extremely scared, but I was also angry. I felt as though my body had let me down. I had surgery in September 2020 (after finishing four months of chemo, and before starting an intense fortnight of radiotherapy), and had what is known as a therapeutic mammoplasty, which isn’t as major as a full mastectomy, but it’s a lot more intrusive than a lumpectomy.
“Since having surgery in 2020, my breasts are now very different from the ones I had for most of my life. They are a different shape – sort of bigger than they were when I was younger, but also smaller due to having had the therapeutic mammoplasty. I also have scars beneath each breast.
“Despite all these changes, I am learning to love my breasts all over again. I am very proud of my body for surviving everything it has been through – and I’m determined not to be sad about what I lost, but positive about what those changes symbolise.”
Chelsea Haden, 32, yoga and mindfulness teacher
“I’ve always had large breasts but not ones that would be considered full or perky. I’ve therefore struggled with the lack of positive representation of these types of breast shapes.I’ve hidden my breasts away and I’d never go braless even if I was at home on my own.
“I began to truly love and appreciate my breasts in my late 20s. I had a yoga client who was recovering from breast cancer. Hearing about the pain and trauma involved in losing her breast gave me a reality check. As I enjoy my 30s, I realise that the health of my breasts is so much more important than the aesthetic.”
Lisa Swinbanks, 31, fashion designer
“It took me until I was in my late 20s to accept myself, once I started searching for other women with small chests under the hashtag #ittybittytittycommittee. This also then led me to start posting TikToks about being flat-chested and that helped me accept myself further as I was getting so much support and love for the videos with a lot of girls saying they could relate or felt better after seeing my videos as they didn’t feel alone.”
Bryony Lewis, 38, founder of T & Belle
“As a teenager, I was a late bloomer and while all my friends were starting to fill out their first bras, I remained pretty flat-chested. I hated my small boobs and would stuff my bra or buy uncomfortable push-up styles with large lumps of gel padding so that I could feel more confident.
“Everything changed when I gave birth to my first child at the age of 32. Suddenly my boobs had a superpower – providing milk to nurture, comfort and nourish my baby. Now my children are aged four and six, I’m happy with the way my boobs look and I’m incredibly grateful for the fact that they literally grew two humans.”
Beth Davies, 45, personal trainer specialising in pelvic health
“I started wearing a bra at primary school and was super self-conscious because no one else was really wearing one. But soon enough, lots of girls overtook me!
“As I’ve grown older, I’ve been a lot more accepting of my body generally and my small boobs have been part of that. I might never have cleavage and that’s OK. I think it’s also helpful to recognise that there’s always something we’ll want to change. Learning to appreciate and celebrate your body as it is is the ultimate superpower.”
Abbey Robb, 44, integrative therapist
“I have Ehler-Danlos Syndrome,a connective tissue disorder, which means that I’ve never had perky breasts. They started off being saggy and over the years have only become saggier as I’ve gained and lost weight.They were covered with angry red stretch marks when they developed and I hid my body for decades.
“One moment that made me begin to love my breasts was when I was in my late teens I got my nipples pierced which helped me reclaim my breasts as something that I liked. Sure they might not be the shape I wanted them to be and I couldn’t do anything about that, but I could put sparkly things on them! I also started going to a lot of festivals and spending time around a lot of people who were either nude as a statement or as a functional thing and realised that bodies and breasts come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.”
Images: courtesy of women featured
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