I know I posted about my breast reduction last week and I try to break up my BR content, but Laura commented on my previous post about the psychological changes I experienced after my reduction. This is something I had only thought about briefly and it is important to talk about.
Like so many women with large breasts I always felt like people saw them first, and me, if at all, second. I had so much internalized hate towards my breasts because I felt like they prevented me from being me, from being seen as the intelligent and competent person I am, and from feeling respected as a human and not an object.
It’s been four years since my reduction and I still struggle with this. The other day I actually thought to myself, why do you go out of your way to prove yourself to people who already see your value? I realized that I still haven’t really recovered from the trauma of having large breasts at a young age. When you have a body that is sexualized by main stream media at a young age, you internalize your worth through the lens of how others sexualize you. And this wasn’t just boys and men sexualizing me, it was other girls and women too.
There’s already so much pressure on young girls to look and act, and there is pressure for girls to compete with each-other in incredibly unhealthy appearance based ways. When you are a young girl with an adult body earlier than your peers and they have been conditioned by their families and media to think women who look and dress in certain ways are “sluts” and “bimbos” you become a “slut” and “bimbo.” As a middle school “Malibu Barbie” I can attest that this is devastating. It’s devastating to know that a woman’s value in general is judged based on her appearance, but because my body was shaped in a specific way I was branded with a personality that was not mine.
I Felt Like I Had to Prove I Wasn’t What People Thought of Me
This is where my mindset was established. I felt like I had to go out of my way to prove my intelligence, worth, and gain the respect of my peers. Before my reduction this was largely true. I felt I had to be the best and smartest at what I did because if I wasn’t, I would only confirm what people thought about me to begin with.
As an adult I do not think this way, but when you are young, self-conscious, or immature you do. Yet, even after my reduction, old habits die hard. I don’t want to be the best at everything I do anymore, but I do catch myself thinking about whether I have done enough to prove my intelligence and competence. As a woman, I think we have to work a little harder already to prove this.
I don’t do this consciously, but every now and then I catch myself and ask, why did you try so hard for that one person when it didn’t matter? and my answer comes from a small, 15 year-old Brette inside me and she says “I didn’t want them to think I’m what they assume I am.”
I’m still growing into myself and detaching my worth from my appearance. I think we all need to go through this regardless of our body types.
That is the one thing that hasn’t really changed since my reduction.
My Brain Doesn’t Remember My “Old” Body
On the Flip side of this, since my reduction, and almost immediately after, I divorced my current body from my “old” body. I have disassociated “that” body from my current one and I don’t really think about or imagine/remember past me with my body pre- breast reduction. I remember what it felt like, the pain and embarrassment; I don’t remember what I looked like without the help of an image.
I look at my body in the mirror and I feel so normal and natural it feels like I have always looked like I do now. Even when I see my scars all I feel is love for them and my body as it is now. I feel nothing for the body I used to have. I don’t hate my old breasts anymore, I simply feel nothing, like they never really existed. Yet, they had such a huge impact on my psyche and self-worth.
There were little things immediately after my reduction
But these little things didn’t last long. These were tiny moments and behaviors like how I moved my body to accommodate large breasts that were no longer there. Things that went away after I got used to my new breasts. I honestly can’t remember most of them now because they were tiny moments and I adapted quickly.
I do remember when I became a cheerleader again in college, I had to relearn how to move because my muscle memory was still accommodating for my large breasts that were no longer there. My motions were faster and easier post reduction and I essentially had to relearn how to learn routines because I no longer had a list of accommodations I had to make because of my breast size. I think this is the biggest behavior change: no longer needing to make physical accommodations.
I can sleep on my stomach without a pillow to support my abdomen. I can dance without feeling like my body is floppy or getting in the way of its self. I can go down stairs without holding my breasts for extra support. I can run comfortably now (not that I ever choose to run). There were a lot of things that I did not or chose not to do because of my breasts that I no longer think or worry about. These little things are sometimes unnoticeable but they add up over time to give you back your freedom.
My breasts used to be oppressive and dictated what I could and couldn’t do comfortably. Learning all the ways I was free after my reduction not only boosted my self esteem, but taught me to enjoy things differently and more fully. I no longer think, “I can’t do that” (because of my breasts).
A lot, Yet Not a Lot Has Changed Post Breast Reduction
As an adult, I have learned that all women should be valued for who they are, what they do, say, and how they act- not their physical appearance or perceived intelligence. For women with large breasts, it can be a little harder to move past internalized misogyny and self hatred. I want you to know that with the support from other women, we can all get through it together.
As for behavioral and psychological changes after my breast reduction, I experience lingering things from how I used to behave and think, and yet I have disassociated myself from my old breasts. I think we all go through different changes and revelations (some might even feel like contradictions), but what is the same for all of us is that we will and do go through them. You might find a new sense of self worth or confidence. You might find joy in learning how to move without accommodations. Whatever it is that changes for you, embrace it without worrying about how your breasts are going to affect the embrace.
I love answering questions, if you ever have any to ask, feel free to comment on a post or message me!