When I was on the verge of puberty, like most girls my age, I wished for big breasts. I did the whole, ‘I must, I must, I must increase my bust’ chant. I longed for the day I could buy my first bra. Back then, having big breasts seemed glamorous and sexy. Boy, was I wrong!
What nobody tells you is that your breasts keep growing. In my late teens through my early thirties I had a B cup and things were great. Clothes fit me nicely, I could participate in any physical activity I wanted and I got just the right amount of attention. In my mid thirties to my early forties, I had a C cup. Now my breasts were a little heavier and a bit more in the way when I ran, danced or jumped around. The gaze I was used to getting from men was migrating south by about a foot and my lower back started to give me a bit of pain. When I hit 42 (the magic number that Douglas Adams gives as the answer to life, the universe and everything), my breasts were now filling up a D cup. My lower back pain was more of a chronic worry. I had to choose my physical activities more carefully. Men now exclusively stared at my chest before looking at my face. In hot weather I began to develop a heat rash underneath my breasts. Now, at 47 my breasts are a DD cup and I am sick and tired of the damned things!
Doctors say that every one pound of weight on your front equals TEN pounds of weight your back must carry. My breasts weigh about three pounds each, which means my back is carrying 60 pounds of unnecessary weight. Is it any wonder I have chronic lower back pain? I will never understand women who voluntarily enlarge their breasts with surgery past the point of a C cup.
Back pain is not the only issue my breasts have bestowed upon me over the years. I have been blessed with fibrocystic breast disorder. I get large fluid filled cysts (multiple) in my breasts that must be drained with a large, scary needle a couple of times a year. Not only do these cysts make my breasts misshapen and tender, they add weight. I have also had breast cancer. In my case I was lucky because the small tumour I had, grew almost entirely inside one of the aforementioned cysts and was therefore relatively easy for my surgeon to remove, though I still had to undergo chemotherapy because of a tiny cluster of cells that grew unnoticed on the outside of the cyst.
I can’t get a mammogram (which costs nothing) because of the fibrocystic breast disease, so, instead I must get an ultrasound, which is not covered by my province’s medical insurance plan and costs me $165 at least twice a year. I am seriously considering breast reduction surgery (which would be covered by my insurance), but I prefer not to go under the knife unless I absolutely have to, so I am weighing that option very carefully. There have even been days when I have thought that it would be great if I got another cancerous tumour because then, I could just get a double mastectomy and be done with them. (I know, be careful what you wish for)
Oh yes, big breasts would be so glamorous and sexy. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about how my breasts are in the way of the life I want to be living. I’m beginning to feel like my breasts are taking over control of my whole body.
A few of years ago I stopped wearing a bra. I have a history of fibrocystic breast disease (I get large fluid filled cysts that must be drained with a big needle) and I had undergone a lumpectomy to remove a cancerous tumor. While fervently searching the internet for any bit of a hint as to what I might be doing to cause these conditions, I came across a very interesting study regarding a link between wearing a bra and breast cysts/cancer. http://www.breastnotes.com/bc/bc-causes-singer-bracancer.htm As a massage therapist, I am very familiar with human anatomy and this made a lot of sense to me. I was one of those women who wore my bra all day, then slept in it as well, never allowing my lymphatic system to do its job.
Before you think it was easy for me to just stop wearing a bra, let me tell you that I have quite large breasts and sagging was a concern, admittedly a vain one, but a concern nonetheless. I was also worried about worsening the back pain I had suffered from by having to bear the weight of my breasts without help from a bra. These concerns, it turns out, were entirely unfounded. Yes, I now sag a tad more than I used to, but not nearly as much as I had feared and likely not more than I would have just by aging. My back pain has lessened. All those little muscles that were being “helped along” by my bra, were now forced to work and became stronger. Even my posture is better.
Since I have been braless, I have had exactly two cysts drained (once each), as opposed to 3 to 5 cysts twice a year and no recurrence of breast cancer. I never changed my diet or my exercise regimen. I did quit smoking, but that was the only other change I made to my lifestyle. I will wear a bra occasionally, but never for more than a few hours at a time and never an underwire bra. After a week or so of feeling oddly naked without a bra, undershirts, or soft cotton tank tops have become far more comfortable than I ever imagined and I don’t have those horrible divots, caused by bra straps, in my shoulders anymore.
It seems those feminists of the 1960’s knew what they were doing when they burned their bras, even though they may not have known it was the healthy thing to do. Breast binding with a bra is no more healthy for your breasts than foot binding is for your feet.
I encourage you to try going without a bra for a month and see how it changes your life. If you are a man, I hope that you pass this on to the women in your life.
There is no need for women to be a slave to a fashion item that can kill them.