By MaryJo Kosisher-Demski
Youâre late, youâre late, and itâs not for an important date.Â Congrats â youâve just been told youâre about to be a momma!Â Now, youâre facing nine months of turbulent emotions, topsy-turvy hormones, odd cravings, baby names, strangers patting your expanding belly as if youâre the Buddha, and other crazy changes you just canât fathom â¦ such as breasts growing to an unbelievable size.
While Iâve yet to take the dive into motherhood myself, I have plenty of friends who are moms or moms-to-be.Â 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.Â At the expense of TMI, theyâve offered great âreal worldâ observations about lingerie and shapewear, including opinions about which products need to be improved upon for the masses.
One friend â and to keep her anonymity intact, Iâll call her âChloeâ â had a particularly painful story to tell me recently that has shaped just such an opinion.Â Chloeâs a thirty-something with an adorable two-year-old.Â From the waist down, sheâs average-sized.Â From the waist up, sheâs quite a different story.Â Letâs just say it takes a lot of concentration for a man to focus on Chloeâs face while heâs talking with her.Â 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).
Chloeâs saga started early in her pregnancy.Â Before then, she never had any problems purchasing underwear.Â Being a practical gal, Chloe tried to plan ahead for her pregnancy-related intimate apparel needs.Â 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.Â 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. Â By keeping all of her different-sized knickers, she reasoned that sheâd be able to return to increasingly smaller sizes after the delivery.Â The issue of undies would, therefore, not be a problem.Â Unfortunately, it was dealing with bras that turned out to be absolute hell for her.
Prior to her pregnancy, Chloe was a full 34C.Â But early in her gestational period, Chloe grew.Â Initially, she ran with the same reasoning she had used on the underwear issue.Â She hit the clearance racks of her favorite discount retailers and purchased bras in increasingly larger sizes.Â From a 34C, she progressed to a 36C, then to a 36D, and then on to a 38-she-couldnât-even-remember-which-letter-was-attached-anymore.Â When she hit the 38 mark, she decided to explore the worlds of maternity and nursing bras.Â 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.Â 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.
Once the baby arrived, Chloe seemingly sprouted overnight from her 38-something to what she called âabsolutely ginormous.âÂ 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.Â Frustrated and afraid she was turning into Jack Nicholsonâs character in âThe Shining,â Chloe went to a specialty bra store where she spent two hours being measured and assisted by seemingly knowledgeable salespeople.Â She exited the store with a 32G sports bra that actually fit her â¦ and a few 34DDs that didnât.Â Her breasts âpoppedâ out of the latter, but the store simply didnât carry any other options.
Just when she felt she was at her lowest point, Chloe realized that bridesmaid duties in her friendâs wedding were fast approaching.Â Desperate, she gained her husbandâs full blessing that, if necessary, she could mortgage their house in order to find something that fit properly and was comfortable.Â She went to the lingerie section of the finest department store in town.Â There, she measured out to a 32H.Â In a strange mix of horror, awe, and trepidation, she called several of her friends and said just one word, âInsane!âÂ For the wedding itself, where she needed a specialty bra, Chloe ended up squeezing her 32Hs into a pretty little 32D.Â The photographic evidence is somewhat pornographic!
Itâs been two years since Chloe gave birth and subsequently breastfed.Â She still cannot find a bra that fits her.Â She now seems to be a 32D, and feels her boobs are as droopy as her momâs.Â Finding 32Ds is tough, and the ones she does find are typically of the balconette style (which she despises).Â Short of shouting âCalgon, take me away!â she wants to know what options exist for her and so many other amply-endowed ladies in her predicament.Â And so she related her story to the good âdoctorâ here â¦
Have you gone through a pregnancy, and experienced physical changes and bra frustrations similar to those of Chloe?Â If so, please let me know how you handled them.Â Iâm 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