Body Image and Breast Reduction

Have you ever wondered what your life would be like if you were drop-dead gorgeous?  Perfect.  Or close to it, right?  Each day would wrap its arms around you and give you a grand gorilla hug.  The sun would shine on your back, but not to the point that your armpits would have big ugly pit stains.  “Ahhhh…if only I were exceptionally beautiful…” you think.  Then you look in the mirror and reality slaps you in the face.  You think, “Oh dear.  Is this really all I get to work with?”  And then you thank the good Lord for the invention of makeup. 

Many women deeply desire that they would have been born with a gorgeous face and/or that they had much larger breasts.  Some really believe – in their magical thinking – that if they had large breasts, their lives would have been perfect. 

Recently I had the opportunity to interview a friend who had breast reduction surgery at the age of 25.  Belinda told me that as a little girl growing up in a small town, she had lots of friends and remembers hanging out with other girls in the neighborhood.  Slumber parties, watching movies, and playing basketball with other kids in the neighborhood were some of her favorite activities.  She fit in well with the other girls and was a regular part of the group. 

Then she started to develop breasts – about two years earlier than the other girls.  “It really freaked out my mom and grandma,” she said.  Not only that, but the other girls started to avoid her.  When her menstrual cycle started shortly thereafter, she felt even more odd and isolated. 

The school system in Belinda’s town required the students to change schools in the sixth grade, which made her the target of even more crude comments from new school mates.  By the seventh grade, she was wearing a D cup size, which she tried to camouflage with baggy shirts.  In gym class, the other girls pointed and laughed, provoking Belinda’s mom wrote a note to get her PE class changed to last period so she could wait until she got home to shower. 

During the seventh through ninth grades, Belinda avoided almost everyone.  Boys flooded her with calls and attention, often trying to grab her breasts whenever they got the chance.  For this reason, Belinda often carried her books close to her chest.  But to no avail, the boys would grab them out of her arms. 

During high school, Belinda said, “they got rough.”  One day a group of guys cornered her in a stair well which was seldom used.  They horribly violated her by feeling her breasts, causing horrendous emotional and physical pain.  Eventually she began thinking about what it would be like to have normal sized breasts.  She greatly longed to be known for her heart and not her chest, and to be deeply cherished and loved because of who she was on the inside. 

Sadly, at one of her class reunions (which took place after the breast reduction surgery), nobody recognized her.  Although she stayed in the same school system for the entire twelve years, not one person knew who she was at the reunion.  “They never saw past the breasts,” she said.  While listening to this part of the story, I wanted to cry.  We all long to be known for who we really are and not our packaging, and I could not imagine the level of pain that would have caused.  We are created for relationship – with God and with other people – and when this desire is blocked, horrendous pain results. 

As far as dating was concerned, Belinda said that she dated about 6 guys all together at different times during high school.  “They always wanted my breasts,” she said.  However, some of her guy friends and neighbors were very respectful of her and treated her with great kindness.  One played basketball with her, and others treated her just like they treated other people.  Their eyes focused on her eyes, as opposed to her breasts.  She found this refreshing, as normally peoples’ eyes focused on her breasts.  So of course it is no wonder that she was not recognized by anyone at her high school reunion years later.  Most people had not looked past her chest. 

While in high school, Belinda started waiting tables.  As you can imagine, she got a lot of tips even though she always dressed modestly because all women in her family were encouraged to dress modestly.  During her waitressing years, Belinda was the target of numerous crude comments.  One time, her brother overheard one of these comments and jumped out of his booth across the restaurant to tell the guy, “This is my little sister.  If you ever do that again, I will kill you.”  He never bothered Belinda again.

At the age of 17, Belinda wore an EEE size bra cup.  “I hated my breasts.  They hung down and hurt.  I even had to wear a bra at night because of the pain.”  Not only that, but she expressed great sadness years later when her physician told her she could not breast feed her children.  Hearing the words, tears welled up in her eyes as her soul cried out in pain.  The doctor was afraid that if she fell asleep while breastfeeding, the newborn would suffocate.  This was decades ago, and at the time there was no medication to dry up the milk.  So one of her breasts developed an infection, which caused great pain. 

Other than these painful areas in her heart, another area of suffering caused by her large breasts was felt in her pocketbook.  Bras and clothes cost three times as much for Belinda. 

When she decided to get the reduction surgery, her physician interviewed her to find out whether or not she would be a good candidate.  She was sick of being treated as a sex object, and decided it was time to write a new chapter of her story.  The surgeon agreed that she was a good candidate because of the enormous stress her breasts caused her.  She lost fifteen pounds from the surgery.  If you think about carrying that much weight around your chest, you can begin to imagine some of the physical hardship and pain.   Backaches, headaches, pocket book aches, and heart aches. 

About a month after the surgery, Belinda ran into a friend who said, “What happened to your breasts?!” 

“I got ‘em whacked off!” she responded.  They both laughed, and in Belinda’s heart she felt a wave of thankfulness wash over her.  She was no longer treated as a sex object, and she no longer felt the pain in her back and shoulders.  When I asked her if there was anything else she would like to say to women who wish they had large chests, she responded, “It’s painful – physically painful and emotionally painful.” 

Belinda’s story shows the truth:  The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.  But most of the time, it’s Astroturf.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Anita says:

    I know several people who have had breast reductions. It always amazes me that most women want larger breasts & breast implants. If they knew how much easier life is with smaller breasts, they would take it all back!!

    Like

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