womanhood: a story of boobs, babies, and breeding


Breasts.  They’re complicated.

Breasts are like people – they come in all shapes and sizes: small ones, large ones, lopsided ones, droopy ones, and even little pert ones that curve up at the tip so that a woman’s chest looks like it is always asking a question (looking at you Gwyneth Paltrow, I remember Shakespeare in Love).

Mine are of the large variety.  This isn’t really a revelation, see me on the street and in less than a second you can gauge that I have…ample assets.  I will spare you the specifics, but let’s just say if cup sizes were academic grades, mine would never graduate high school. I’d like to say being chesty is awesome – and lets be honest, there are times it is.  I’m aware that there are drinks that have been purchased, discounts given, and speeding tickets I’ve avoided that were not due to my winning personality.  But there are also simple things that become a little, well, trickier.

Running.  There are usually multiple bras involved, and no small amount of what I call the T-Rex pose.  Which is basically tucking my elbows in and using my wrists to pin down rebellious flesh; leaving my fists jutting out awkwardly, like my boobs are geared up for a punch they can’t quite throw.  Despite these precautions, it is still an uncomfortable experience.   For the men reading (and props to you for sticking it out through all the boob talk) imagine running with 10-pound testicles and no supportive equipment.  Not pleasant.

Eating.  There is the benefit of food catching on what is essentially a built-in shelf, particularly helpful in movie theatres when eating popcorn.  Still hungry when the bag is empty? No problem! Just bend your head and mouth vacuum along your blouse!  But, there is also a Grand Canyon of cleavage that shamelessly swallows everything: earrings, lint, bobby pins, and food (which is shaming when romantic time is derailed by a sudden look of horror as your date finds corn nuts where corn nuts should not be).

Reaching.  Everything gets on them.  Writing at a chalkboard? Check your front.  Wiping down a table? Check your front.  Trying to grab the rolls at Christmas dinner before your brother can get them?  Check your front, because there are probably mashed potato Santa beards on your tits. Merry Christmas.

Yeah, having breasts changes things.

The development of breasts changed the sports I played.  When my co-ed soccer coaches noticed the boys spending more time watching me run at the ball than the ball itself, I was forced to find something with a little less ‘impact’, like swim team.  Buoyancy – I had it in spades, so I did well there, with the boys at least.  When you are 12 with the chest of a 18 year-old, it is hard to fit in.  If I tried to dress the way the other girls did, the teachers would call my outfit inappropriate, or obscene.  If I dressed to cover my new additions, with baggy t-shirts and plaid button ups, then I wasn’t cool (if only the hipster trend had caught on 15 years sooner).  So, instead I sat on the poolside, ate nachos and chugged cokes with the boys; hunching forward to hide my breasts when the girls walked by in patterned towels, shiny flip-flops, and v-neck swim suits.

As I get older, I realize my breasts come with even more expectations (to be fair, my whole gender does). And I’m not a super big fan of societal expectations. Breasts are ‘allowed’ recreational uses, of course, but there is a more practical use we are supposed to aim for. Life.  While we may, uhm, come from the valley, it is the mountain spring that sustains us. And yes, my body is genetically designed to give and support life, but that doesn’t make it a requirement.

Because, here’s the thing – I’m not sure I want to have babies.

Honestly, they frighten me.  Its not the way they look, because for the most part – they are adorable.  Its the way the look at me.  The hunger.  The want.  The milk lust.  Like tiny little tit vampires.  I’m not judging them.  I get it.  Sit me down in front of a giant chocolate cake (let alone two chocolate cakes) and I know how it will end.  An upset stomach and frosting on my face.  I just don’t really care to be the cake.

Don’t get me wrong, I think the relationships between parents and children are beautiful. I am of the age where most of my friends are transitioning from wonderful people into astounding parents.  And seriously, that is fantastic for them – they have some wicked cute babies!  For some of my friends, they even get to this point where their breasts become something different, they become function, connection, food. My friends become mothers.

But its not because of their breasts. Like I said, breasts are complicated.  Breasts are like people – some are big, some are small. Some are fun, and some are a pain in the ass. Breasts are a lot of things, but they aren’t identities.  I’m not a woman because I have breasts, just like I wouldn’t stop being a woman if I lost them.

And I won’t be less of a woman if I only ever use them for decoration.

I may be hunted down by vampire babies, but that is my problem.


3 thoughts on “womanhood: a story of boobs, babies, and breeding

  1. Supal {chevrons and éclairs} says:

    Since you told me you double up or sometimes triple up when running, I started doing that and it’s helpful, but a little bit warmer there? Also, I may have told you this, but when I picked up my cousin’s baby a few Thanksgivings ago he stared at my breasts and said (in Gujarati) “milk comes from here!) and then pinched one while fighting to grab the other! Honestly, I think it’s the age of iPad babies and boobs that don’t mix.

    • jessileerich says:

      It is noticeably warmer yes, but one comfort for another eh? And your cousin, may be my new favorite baby. He knows what he wants and goes for it. It is a side effect of assets like ours, infant handling. Could be worse.

  2. Katie says:

    I can’t say I have any of these experiences – I can run without even wearing a bra. Well, actually, I can’t run, but that has more to do with my fitness levels than my, um, ‘assets’…

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