Tuesday, January 10, 2006


An uplifting experience

It's been maybe eight or ten months since I stopped nursing Simon. And just now I'm getting around to retiring my maternity bras. (Boys beware, there be girl talk ahead.)

For those of you who haven't had the pleasure, let me tell you about nursing bras. They are stretchy, they are soft, they are as comfy as your favourite jammies. And, after two years of use and abuse, there's about as much elastic left in them as there is integrity in election advertising.

Maternity bras are not about giving you a better silhouette, they are not about making the melons look firm and ripe. They are about giving a squalling baby easy access to his lunch while still providing enough support that you can run down the stairs without poking your own eye out. (And, if you are less than a D cup, no offense, but I'm not talking to you right now. I've always wanted to be able to wear one of those adorable little camisole tops in lieu of a bra, or one of those cute cotton numbers with the matching panties. That's not a bra, that's a toy. I'm talking about industrial strength bras here, bras with a real job to do.)

So the comfort factor is a large part of the reason why I'm still wearing maternity bras almost a year after I finished nursing. (After having two babies in two years, my pre-maternity bras are no longer an option. If you've been there, you know what I mean.) Another major factor is sheer laziness my busy and fulfilling daily schedule. But the real reason is, I hate bra shopping with a white-hot burning passion.

I've always hated bra shopping. No matter what kind of mood you are in when you start bra shopping, you will leave the experience feeling bulgy, saggy and demoralized. Bra shopping undermines self-esteem like the worst kind of ex-boyfriend. You can take 50 bras into the changeroom and none of them will fit. Some fit okay over the ribs but pucker under the arms. Some give you torpedo boobs. (Ah, the google traffic that phrase will bring.) Some give you muffin-top bulges over the cup. Some dig into your side and grate on you like your mother-in-law's voice. Some cut into your shoulder so deeply you can see bone under the grooves. There is no perfect bra, there is only good enough.

All of which makes it nothing short of a miracle that I found myself in the unmentionables section of a department store the other day on my lunch hour, having been drawn in by a plethora of red "40% off" signs. Having only the vaguest idea what size I might actually be but caught up in the moment, I started grabbing boxes willy-nilly. I grabbed some with underwire; I grabbed some with lycra; I grabbed some that were white and I grabbed some in radiant jewel tones. I must have tried on a dozen bras and you know what? I found two that I loved. Not just liked - I heart these bras.

Who would have guessed that it was possible to have a bra that is comfortable AND provides support? I stood in the fitting room looking at myself in the mirror, thinking 'Oh, they're supposed to be way up there?' Who knew that even after two babies, your nipples don't have to hang out with your navel?

You know what the best part is? When your ta-tas aren't sagging down to your waistline, even a striped turtleneck looks pretty good!