23 Weeks

I’ve been having this trouble with my bras. They feel okay when I put them on but by half way through the day they feel so itchy, restricting, poky, and miserable that taking them off at the end of the day is better than orgasming. It’s just so, intensely, satisfying. All I can think about all day is that moment after dinner when I can go take off all my clothes and lay naked in my bed for ten, measly minutes before putting on whatever pajamas are going to rub up against my boobs the least and going on with my evening business.
When I do get to that moment, each day, this is what my boobs look like.

Not the greatest photo, I know, but there’s only so much I can do with a camera phone while holding my breast and covering my nipple with one hand. Those red marks came from my underwire, and once they start feeling air flow and blood circulation again, they start to itch. Ugh.
I have never had this problem before. Underwires have never bothered me and I’ve always preferred to have them, being a large chested girl, they just give my breasts better shape and support. But this, this is unbearable.
I tried pulling out some old bras from before when Elijah weaned. When he was around 18 months old I stopped wearing nursing bras and started back to regulars because he just wasn’t nursing that frequently. These bras were 42DD. I was a 38DD when I got pregnant with Elijah, and only changed in the band size during pregnancy and nursing, but for some reason after he weaned I shrunk down to a D. No complaints from me, I hadn’t been a D cup since I was a teenager. I also shrunk down to a 40 after weaning, so for the last several years I’ve been wearing a 40D. Luckily, I had the foresight to keep those old 42DDs when I shrunk, so I pulled them back out again and tried them on.
The cups are too big. The band felt comfy enough, but the cups were big enough that they really didn’t provide any support or shape. And so my quest began,

The Quest to Find A Supportive Bra With No Unerdwire That Wasn’t Totally Ugly!!!!

I began my quest by asking on various parenting and birth nerd boards if they had any suggestions for bras with no underwire that were supportive enough for a D cup that weren’t ugly. The suggestions sent back made me wonder what part of “not ugly” people didn’t understand. I know everyone’s definition of ugly is different, but I thought it was pretty well accepted that any bra with straps more than an inch wide, with a neckline up to your collarbones, and seven hooks in the back, was universally considered an ugly bra.
It might sound frivolous to care about what a bra looks like, and it probably is for someone who’s had a less tumultuous relationship with their breasts than I have had with mine, but for me, dressing my breasts beautifully, as if they are loved and admired by myself, is critical for my feelings of self worth. I spent most of my life in which I had breasts hiding them. I would strap them down and cover them up under XL men’s t-shirts. I was convinced they were ugly, too big, too droopy, too white, too little contrast between my nipples and the rest of my breast, too many stretch marks. I longed to have little, perky breasts like my classmates and peers, I hated my breasts. I hated being forced in basic training to wear two or three bras while I ran because I didn’t pass the drill sergeant’s bounce test. I hated the sneers I got from other women when I would wear clothes that would have been perfectly conservative on a smaller busted woman. I hated being naked or letting anyone see them, in any context. I got close at one point in time to getting a reduction, but when that fell through, I concluded that I needed to change the nature of my relationship to my breasts. I decided that I was going to treat my breasts as if they are beautiful, as if I loved them and was proud of them, and the first step I took to do this was to begin to dress them beautifully. It wasn’t over night, but I came to a place eventually where it was important to me to lavish some luxury on my breasts. And I have no intention of giving that up just because I’m pregnant.
I want to have cleavage. I want a nice curve to my breast. I want to be able to walk without them flopping all over the place. And when I undress, even if it’s just alone in front of the mirror, I want to feel beautiful! This means I need to be somewhat picky about what kind of bra I buy. There is a trade off you make between sexy and supportive/shaping. If your boobs don’t need much it the way of support or shape assist, you can wear any tiny, paper thin, scrap of fabric, delicately draped over your breast to beautify it. If you have larger, more pendulous breasts, delicate straps and tissuey lace are not going to give you the support you need, but that needn’t mean you strap on what my mother always called a Helga bra either. I have found that underwires are pretty essential for shaping and displaying the large breast, and that firmer cups are also a must. But a demi cup, lace trim, and straps narrower than an inch are all possible so long as you have the underwire and the firm cups.
To go shopping for a supportive bra without an underwire is a mighty task. I know demi cups are probably out of the question, as are any push up features. But there must be something out there that still shows some cleavage and maybe has a pretty trim, right?
Well, from the suggestions I was getting sent, I was beginning to think it was a lost cause. Eventually I found my way into Motherhood Maternity to look at their selection, and they weren’t half bad. Will I feel like a sexpot in these bras? No, probably not. But will I feel like that awkward teenager who’s whole wardrobe resembled a collection of trashbags designed to conceal my body? No, I won’t. And that was the least I wanted. Also, they were reasonably priced, and they’re nursing bras, so hopefully they will last me through nursing my baby (assuming my breasts don’t get any bigger, they didn’t last time, but they started out bigger last time too). I did have to make one small adjustment to the bras I bought, and that was to remove all the boning in the bands. I’m not sure what it was there for, but they were poking the dickens out of me.
So that’s my story for my 23rd week of pregnancy. Baby is a little more more than a pound, and moving enough for me to feel it through the placenta (but not enough for anyone else to). I’m craving blue cheese and fruit (ANY FRUIT! GIVE ME FRUIT!!) and sleeping like a rock most nights.


About Rockingthehomestead

Badass feminist environmentalist.
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