Big boobs, bigger tears, and kept promises

I pulled the fitting room curtain shut and removed my dress from the plastic covering it’d been hiding under for the last few months, waiting to be altered.

I was six months post-partum and just weeks away from serving as a bridesmaid in the wedding of two dear friends—the first “real” event I’d be going to after having our son. I’d ordered my dress about four months after giving birth, so choosing a size* was pretty much taking a shot in the dark—a shot in the dark taken with the hope of getting a little closer to my pre-pregnancy size before walking down the aisle and standing up in front of a crowd of people.

It was an intimidating process, to say the least. For some women—myself included—the experiences of pregnancy and breastfeeding give you what feels like an entirely new body. It takes sometime to get acquainted (and comfortable) with it. And having to anticipate what your body is going to be like weeks or months down the road? Godspeed, my friends.

Well, as it turned out, I’d done some pretty decent guess work on what my post-pregnancy body would end up like.

That is, except for one notable area.

I felt pretty good as I slipped the dress on. I was softer and rounder than I’d ever been before, but the dress went right over my belly and hips. I managed to get the zipper halfway up my back with minimal shimmy-ing.

The seamstress smiled at me as I pulled back the curtain of the dressing room.

“Very nice,” she cooed, looking at me over her red-framed glasses. “Over here, please.” She gestured towards a platform sitting in the center of a three-way mirror.

“I couldn’t quite get the zipper all the way up,” I said as I stepped on the platform. “I just had a baby, so I wasn’t sure what size I’d be by this point…” My voice trailed off and I gave her an uncertain shrug.

She patted me on my shoulder with one hand and used the other to pull the zipper up…but only made it a few inches.

We made eye contact in the mirror.

“Hold still,” she said. She crouched behind me and began to tug.

“Breathe in.”

No luck.

“Breath out, maybe?”

I felt some movement.

“Ah, yes,” she grunted. “Ok, don’t breathe in or out at all.”

As the zipper struggled into place, I looked up at my reflection.

Holy inappropriate, Batman.

All I could see was cleavage—cleavage here, cleavage there, cleavage-cleavage everywhere.

I’ve always been on the busty side. Before I got pregnant, I wore a 34C.** Pregnancy bumped me up to a D. In early post-partum, I approached F territory. At the time of this dress-fitting—when I was deep in the trenches of breastfeeding—I was what I liked to call “an enthusiastic DD.”

That poor dress was no match for my boobs’ enthusiasm.

The seamstress got to work on the hem of the dress, pinning as quickly as possible as I continued to not breathe in or out at all.

She popped back up and pulled the zipper down a tiny bit, giving me and my girls some literal (me) and figurative (them) breathing room.

I nervously watched our reflections as she inspected the seams on the dress, her brow deeply furrowed. She whipped out her measuring tape and wrapped it around various parts of my torso, jotting notes down on a pad of paper, and muttering to herself.

She stepped back and stared at me for a while, chin in hand. More measuring, more jotting, more muttering.

“Well, dear,” she sighed, pushing her glasses to the top of her head. “Your body has…some challenges.”

I blinked—first out of confusion and then to fight back tears. How expensive was this going to be? Was I going to have to order a whole new dress? Was there something wrong with me?

“Challenges?” I answered in a wobbly voice as the tears spilled onto my very pink cheeks.

She walked up to me, held me by my shoulders, and looked me straight in the face.

“No, no. Listen to me. You are beautiful. Your body is beautiful and has done beautiful things. You are going to beautiful in this dress. I promise. And besides,” she said with a wink, “I love a challenge.”

She ushered me back to the fitting room to change and then sent me on my way.

When I picked up the dress a couple weeks later, it fit like a glove. I still don’t understand how she did it. I mean, I was busting*** at the seams during that first fitting, and she didn’t have really any extra fabric to work with. But she did it.

Maybe when it came time for her to do the work, it wasn’t as tricky as she thought it would be. Maybe she ended up taking the dress apart and putting it back together. Maybe my breasts had lost some of their “enthusiasm” by that point. Maybe she’s some sort of seamstress/fairy godmother, I don’t know.

But what I do know is that I was beautiful the day of the wedding—just like she promised. I stood there, next to my friends, loving this new body life had given me, wearing that new dress that fit it perfectly. Challenges and all.

*I opted for one size up from what my pre-pregnancy self would’ve ordered.
**This is on the bigger side for someone my height and build.
***See what I did there?

(Front page image by daBinsi, via Creative Commons)

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