I admit to having imperfect breasts. They have rarely ever been what I expected. Until the age of nineteen they were smallish and kind of pre-pubescent looking, which seemed a cruel joke considering that I hit puberty at eleven.

My mother used to say I was part of the “itty bitty titty committee”. I took a picture once where I thought I looked pretty hot. It was a silhouette and my friend’s Dad said to his daughter, “Is this you? Oh wait, those boobs are way too small. Must be your friend.” They thought that was hilarious. I was getting ready to go to a Homecoming dance once, after agonizing over my hair and dress, I came out into the living room and my father said, “You’ll look real good once you fill out.”

My sister was well endowed from the age of nine, which caused its own problems for her, but for me, the older sister, it meant that I lived in the shadow of her legendary breasts. Because my sister was so well endowed and I was so NOT, it became standard practice to drag my breasts into just about any conversation. I loathed my chest.

I hated the firm high little lumps with areolas that were way too big by nudie mag standards (and these were the only nude women I had ever seen). By comparison, my breasts were all wrong. It did not occur to me that I was just fine, that a 36B was actually pretty nice. I thought they were supposed to swing, bounce, have very long nipples, light colored teeny areolas, and not sit on my shoulders. I would wear stuffed bras, underwire triangles that would poke me in the ribs and affect my ability to take deep breaths. I propped my breasts up like fruits on a plate, hoping that someday they would be OK and I would like them and find them acceptable. I knew there were some good things about having a smaller chest. I once went shopping with a friend and we spent the better part of the visit trying to find something that would fit across her massive bosom. No matter what she tried on she could not make the button meet up with the buttonhole.

Eventually, years into the relationship with my husband, I began to develop breasts that were rounder and softer. I had to get a C cup, which was just what I had always wanted. This did not happen for me until I had gained about thirty pounds, so to be fair, all of me was a bit rounder and softer. When I became pregnant with my first child my breasts grew and grew, and grew some more. I would be standing at the counter, chopping vegetables and fluid would leak out and splash my foot. In the shower I could not see past my breasts to my toes, long before my belly got in the way. My husband was very interested in them, scientifically of course, but I could not handle touch since the skin was very sensitive. I could not roll over on them at night. I had to hold them when going up and down the steps. Running? Forget it.

Once the baby was born she developed affection for the left breast. The more she would prefer one side to the other, the more milk that side made and the larger my breast grew. Soon the size difference was apparent through my shirt, from across the room. Eventually one could probably tell my breasts did not match from a low flying helicopter. The left side grew into a comical orb, milky white and blue veins straining, bustin’ with milk. I could feel breast in my armpit, trying to sprawl toward my back. The right breast remained regular in size, but became much more pliable and soft. Somehow I was never alarmed by these changes. I actually found it interesting and funny. I had finally reached a comfort zone with my own body and I no longer expected it to look or behave a certain way.

It turns out that my infant son also has a preference for the left breast, and again I find that when I wear a bra (hardly ever) one side is roomy while the other is strained. One side is a C cup; the other is bigger than a D, but this fluctuates throughout the day. And a meal and a snack are just fine by me.

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