Note: Originally published on Empathize This and republished here with their permission.
My experience starts now, but really I know the worst is yet to come.
If I do have a child, that’s when I’ll most likely experience the worst of the prejudice.
You see, I’ve had a breast reduction and might not be able to produce a single drop of milk.
Or I might produce two drops. Or one breast might work and not the other. I don’t know.
My doctor warned me I might get awful questions about how I could be so selfish, or I might even be called a horrible mother.
Even the nurses caring for me and my newborn future child might look at me judgmentally and get frustrated with me and my lack of milk.
Not to mention that people might express “their worries” about my future child being “less intelligent” than others. As if every child raised on formula has no future at all.
But really, the fact that the doctor had to warn me, means it’s already started.
It’s now two years after my surgery and I have already had a taste of that future experience, mostly it’s very maternal and older women that are appalled at my decision to do such a thing to my future children, making my present life better at their cost; they don’t even consider for a second that maybe I don’t want kids to begin with. Or that maybe my health and happiness has its own value.
Similarly, when my younger cousin, who has the same problem (overly big breasts) asked her, female, doctor about the possibility of a reduction (although it was when she was about 14/15 years old) she got the answer ‘Don’t even think about it until after you’ve had kids’. The kids are assumed, and already her experience, like mine, tells her that she is less of a woman if she doesn’t want kids, and even less than that if she reduces before those kids are born.
When it’s not the concerned motherly types or doctors making assumptions, it’s mostly guys getting dumbfounded that a girl did not want to have the biggest boobs she could. The idea of a woman not basing her decisions about her body on what she thinks men want doesn’t seem to compute.
I think that women who’ve had a reduction are quite a hidden group. It wasn’t until I started talking about my upcoming surgery that I found out about a bunch of women around me who had already had it themselves! But at the same time I have yet to meet a woman unwilling to talk about it when asked. We need to talk more about this.
I feel like it’s seeing a dark storm cloud looming on the horizon: I might feel a few raindrops but the full force of the storm has yet to hit, either when I have kids, or publicly decide not to. Whatever may come, I’m happy with my decision about my own body.