Examining my Breasts

Published February 13, 2012 by megdedwards

I found a piece of writing in a dusty file and pulled it out. It was something I wrote about breasts and self examinations 12 years ago.

Since then I have had close relatives lose their breasts to the scourge of cancer and I am even more appreciative of the old gals.

While looking for an image of breasts to suit my blog I came across a wonderful site called 007 Breasts . It is an informative and liberating site and I have discovered a new word, ‘topfree’! I really believe in boob freedom and I do wonder about the bad effects of bras.  Check out the site!

And here is something from the files:

“I was once inordinately proud of my breast, they were perfectly proportioned, perky and irresistible. They were soft, ivory toned and had delightful pink nipples. I wore see through shirts and no bra. My breasts were my pleasure, my beacons of ‘come hither’ and my friends.

I didn’t think about aging much, or dying. You don’t when you are in your twenties. Death seemed far off and theoretical, or sometimes just too close up and dramatic. My breasts did not make me think about mortality. They seemed pretty life affirming, if anything.

But now my breasts have taken on the personality of timebombs. I am thirty six years old with a bit of extra weight and two children and I keep expecting my breasts to go to war against my body.

My fearful scenario plays out like this, a small hard lump is discovered and then I have a meaningful relationship with a doctor. You know what I mean. We don’t like to articulate the fear but it is there.

Cancer is a real threat, although not necessarily fatal. I am aware of it, as we all are, trying to eat right and exercise and whatever else we are told to do.

But living in fear is not a good state so I am adjusting my mental state; I like to think about my body as  happy and healthy, not one ‘bad’ examination day away from disease.

The guilt trip around breast awareness is changing the way we feel about our bodies. If we don’t manipulate our breasts in the shower to feel for the dreaded mass, then we feel guilty.  If we do, we don’t know what we are looking for and wonder about every bump or mass.

Fear of breast cancer is recreating a Victorian-like fear and distancing between a woman and her body. The all important breast exam is making woman afraid of their breasts.

I approached the self breast exam with fear and anxiety I could barely bring myself to touch my lovely boobs. I have bumps and I have puckering, but at this point they have been caused by stretch marks and milk production.

What am I looking for, will I recognize if anything is wrong? I felt vulnerable and afraid. My own probing massage brought on fear and anxiety.

Suddenly I pictured millions of  liberated and sexually confident woman touching their breasts as if they are foreign objects. A fearful poke and aggressive massage and suddenly our breasts are mysterious and unpredictable – the ‘dark terrain’ of femaleness that Freud struggled to understand and explain.

After a few tries I became familiar with my breasts benign lumpiness and now I feel that I might recognize any new development. Or would I?

I have been examining my breasts with love recently. They are bigger and more pendulous than they used to be and the nipples are larger and darker from nursing .

When I take off my shirt the whole family runs over to kiss them. My partner, who was the first fan, and my little children who are either still nursing or remember nursing.

I gather my breasts into my hands and give them loving squeezes. The girls are loved and appreciated and have done a fantastic breast feeding for nine years altogether.

I am tempted to get a medal tattooed on them to honor their good work. They are loved and appreciated and I would miss them if they had to go.”

One comment on “Examining my Breasts

  • I am totally and completely convinced that my insignificant little breasts will never cause me harm, saying that I submit to the breast exam every two years (as I am over fifty and here in Quebec the government sends you a polite letter inviting you to have a check up) with a sour expression on my face. Fortunately the woman who operates the machinery has a good temper and jolly manner and we usually end up sweating with the exertion and cracking up as we try to manipulate my small almost non existent little boobs into being squeezed by two plates of plastic. Big picture far far side small horizon, ah my tit there it is.
    But I am not sure I am doing myself any favours submitting to these exams and worry that I might change my absolute sureness of my breasts as trustworthy by examining them too much! My doctor shows me with a bracelet of beads that diminish in size, a large bead, what women find on their own, a smaller bead, what their lovers notice, an even smaller one, what the doctors discover and then a teeny tiny one which is the one the machine finds. Hmmm really, I have my doubts over the exam but for now I still I have no doubts over my little friends.

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