Pregnancy and Bra Size: One Woman’s Story

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16 Feb

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By MaryJo Kosisher-Demski
Cupid Intimates

You’re late, you’re late, and it’s not for an important date.  Congrats – you’ve just been told you’re about to be a momma!  Now, you’re facing nine months of turbulent emotions, topsy-turvy hormones, odd cravings, baby names, strangers patting your expanding belly as if you’re the Buddha, and other crazy changes you just can’t fathom … such as breasts growing to an unbelievable size.

While I’ve yet to take the dive into motherhood myself, I have plenty of friends who are moms or moms-to-be.  And to my vexed amusement, for many of them, my connection to the intimate apparel industry has somehow morphed me into a cross between Dr. Ruth Westheimer and Jack Welch.  At the expense of TMI, they’ve offered great “real world” observations about lingerie and shapewear, including opinions about which products need to be improved upon for the masses.

One friend – and to keep her anonymity intact, I’ll call her “Chloe” – had a particularly painful story to tell me recently that has shaped just such an opinion.  Chloe’s a thirty-something with an adorable two-year-old.  From the waist down, she’s average-sized.  From the waist up, she’s quite a different story.  Let’s just say it takes a lot of concentration for a man to focus on Chloe’s face while he’s talking with her.  For those of us who knew Chloe prior to her pregnancy, the transformation in her physical appearance above her waist has been HUGE (pardon the pun).

Chloe’s saga started early in her pregnancy.  Before then, she never had any problems purchasing underwear.  Being a practical gal, Chloe tried to plan ahead for her pregnancy-related intimate apparel needs.  She made the decision early on to buy packages of cheap panties that would expand in size, along with her body, over the course of her nine-month journey.  As a faithful gym rat, she exercised throughout her pregnancy as she had done before it, and planned for her routine to continue once the baby arrived.  By keeping all of her different-sized knickers, she reasoned that she’d be able to return to increasingly smaller sizes after the delivery.  The issue of undies would, therefore, not be a problem.  Unfortunately, it was dealing with bras that turned out to be absolute hell for her.

Prior to her pregnancy, Chloe was a full 34C.  But early in her gestational period, Chloe grew.  Initially, she ran with the same reasoning she had used on the underwear issue.  She hit the clearance racks of her favorite discount retailers and purchased bras in increasingly larger sizes.  From a 34C, she progressed to a 36C, then to a 36D, and then on to a 38-she-couldn’t-even-remember-which-letter-was-attached-anymore.  When she hit the 38 mark, she decided to explore the worlds of maternity and nursing bras.  Her travels took her to a maternity specialty store where, after forking over a small fortune on two large-sized bras and one sleep bra, she ended up even more frazzled. These provided no support for her growing breasts.  A return trip to that same store resulted in more headaches, as she encountered saleswomen who were of no help in finding a bra that would provide a livable degree of comfort.

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Once the baby arrived, Chloe seemingly sprouted overnight from her 38-something to what she called “absolutely ginormous.”  She spent the next three months at home on maternity leave, caring for and cooing over her bundle of joy, and staying away from the endless stream of gawkers she felt had been following her at work.  Frustrated and afraid she was turning into Jack Nicholson’s character in “The Shining,” Chloe went to a specialty bra store where she spent two hours being measured and assisted by seemingly knowledgeable salespeople.  She exited the store with a 32G sports bra that actually fit her … and a few 34DDs that didn’t.  Her breasts “popped” out of the latter, but the store simply didn’t carry any other options.

Just when she felt she was at her lowest point, Chloe realized that bridesmaid duties in her friend’s wedding were fast approaching.  Desperate, she gained her husband’s full blessing that, if necessary, she could mortgage their house in order to find something that fit properly and was comfortable.  She went to the lingerie section of the finest department store in town.  There, she measured out to a 32H.  In a strange mix of horror, awe, and trepidation, she called several of her friends and said just one word, “Insane!”  For the wedding itself, where she needed a specialty bra, Chloe ended up squeezing her 32Hs into a pretty little 32D.  The photographic evidence is somewhat pornographic!

It’s been two years since Chloe gave birth and subsequently breastfed.  She still cannot find a bra that fits her.  She now seems to be a 32D, and feels her boobs are as droopy as her mom’s.  Finding 32Ds is tough, and the ones she does find are typically of the balconette style (which she despises).  Short of shouting “Calgon, take me away!” she wants to know what options exist for her and so many other amply-endowed ladies in her predicament.  And so she related her story to the good “doctor” here …

Have you gone through a pregnancy, and experienced physical changes and bra frustrations similar to those of Chloe?  If so, please let me know how you handled them.  I’m sure Chloe would love to read your suggestions.

CC Image courtesy of Munroe Photography on Flickrhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/gmunroe/ / CC BY 2.0
CC Image courtesy of tommo4074 on Flickrhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/34055584@N05/ / CC BY 2.0

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