Posts Tagged ‘unforgiving lighting in the David Jones change rooms’

I used to think that bikini shopping was the worst kind of shopping of all. But now I realise at least bikinis are optional. Brassieres, however, are not – especially when, like me, your breasts have become a potential tripping hazard.

I will put bra shopping off for as long as I possibly can. It’s no matter to me if the underwire is threatening to give me a lumbar puncture at any given moment or has gone MIA all together. It’s no matter if my “flesh-coloured” bras have taken on the hue of a four day old corpse or they’ve got so many holes in them that they look like a fishnet bra. I don’t care. I’ll do anything to avoid bra shopping.

But then recently, my dear friend KT bought a fantastic bra with a fancy French name and became some kind of bra born-again.

“My breasts feel fantastic in this bra!” she told me, with bras in her eyes. And indeed, when she gave me a quick flash, they looked fantastic, too.

“All you need is a good bra!” she said, suddenly looking at me with a corsetiere’s eye. “We’re going bra shopping this week. I won’t take no for an answer.”

So next thing I knew, I found myself staring at my semi-naked reflection in the change rooms of a department store lingerie department. The light was so harsh, I could practically see the cracks in my self-esteem widening with every breath I took.

KT brought in the first round of bras for me to try on. Turns out that these days my breasts are a lot like sleeping bags –  there’s a fine art to rolling them up the right way to fit them back neatly in their covers. But the problem was finding the right cover. Of course the whole notion of ‘sizing’ didn’t help – in one bra, a 16D made me look like the Michelin man with water retention, while a 14C in another bra made my breasts looked like a 3 year old’s feet her mother’s shoes. And all the while, I kept seeing those little pictures of the 10B models on the sales tags. Why put a 10B model on a 16D tag, or even on a 10A one for that matter? Most certainly, most women do not look like that and the suggestion that we should all want to look like that is just plain insulting.

As KT went off to try and find some better styles, I found myself really looking at my body. That flabby tummy had nurtured three new lives. And those saggy-baggy breasts had given sustenance for a total of fifty-seven months. My body rocked, goddammit! It was a magical marvellous mystical place and I should be wearing those stretch-marks proudly like sergeant’s stripes.

Still, when I tried on the next bra and it cut into my breasts, dividing them neatly into four like some kind of cow, I had one last stab at self-loathing.

“My breasts are stupid!” I moaned.

“These are shit bras,” KT said. “They’re all gapey and baggy and bulgy and badly made. They’re all wrong. That is all. Your breasts are just right.”

And we walked out of the department store, our heads held high – although admittedly, one set of breasts wasn’t held quite as high as the other.

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After seven straight years of back-to-back pregnancy and breastfeeding, I’m finally getting rid of my maternity and nursing bras. 

And for those more Frugal Types who are no doubt thinking “Surely you could get a few more years wear out of them”, I’d like to present you with an arty shot I took of my two “skin” coloured ones (which these days would only match my skin tone if, say, I had been struck down by the Black Plague) as taken through the hole in one of my black ones, which has been sprouting small white elastic hairs for about a year now like an old lady’s chin. 


Signed and framed prints available.

And so with the departure of these dear friends, a rather large vacancy has opened up in my wardrobe – and with it, the excuse to do something I have not done in years: to gaze upon my reflection under the unforgiving lights in the fitting room of the David Jones lingerie department. And my, what a sight I am to behold! All helped, no less, by some slip of a girl in the next cubicle saying to the shop assistant: “Yeah, the 10B fits just fine but I think I’ll have to go the size 8 in the g-string”. For the record, the last time I wore a g-string, Eiffel 65 was still in the charts and it only made me feel like I was giving myself a day-long wedgie. 

ANYWAY, people who know me well will know how hopelessly sentimental I can be and how I like to imbue objects and actions with capital S Symbolism. So with the metaphoric burning of these bras, I’ve been feeling I’m just one step further away from those child-bearing years I started lamenting in my recent post “The First Official Sleep-over“.

Gone now are those days (and nights) where the Mystery Guest inside my burgeoning belly  kicked and squirmed and even punched my husband in the head (Fact.) and when my stomach quite frankly looked its best (recently I tried on a dress and actually thought “If I was pregnant I could carry it off”).

No more shall I have those tell-tale wet spots on my shirt that announced “It’s dinner time!” and have little eyes look up at me so intently and solemnly while the Very Serious Business of breast-feeding was in progress – until, of course, I made a silly noise or tickled the feeder’s feet, in which case those eyes turned all merry and the milk ran out the corners of a smiling mouth.

And never again will I sit night after night in that feeding chair holding a baby and wondering how I managed to make something so utterly and divinely beautiful or why the hell this Thing never seems to want to sleep. Or both.

And so this is goodbye. Goodbye, goodbye to the crazy, beautiful, exhausting intensity of it all…

Recently, when I was watching my cousin L-Beer holding the little hands of her 10 month old daughter (the beautiful Baby C) and walk around and around the house, all with her back just slightly hunched over in that special way that all spinal-health experts advise against, I saw how far along I had come that parenting road. My children can walk around and even climb large unstable structures by themselves (without any help, thank you mum), they can now feed themselves (mostly), they are better at telling me when they feel sick or sad or angry or even bored (mostly bored), and I can even have a brief shower while alone in the house with them (with the door open, of course).

I know that there are many (many!) new dangers and delights on that road ahead: my son’s first forays into Saturday morning sports, navigating those Hannah-Montana and Bratz-infested waters, being able to have a shower or go to the toilet with the door closed and much much (much!) more… But here it is: that mummy-intensive time, when I was their entire world and they were mine, is over. 

So goodbye old friends. Thanks for the mammaries…


They never let me down during my let-down.

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