I have found myself feeling a little deflated of late. Literally.
One year of being milked has left my bust a lacklustre reminder of what it used to be.
It’s not as though I was ever a particularly garish flaunter of my décolletage, but I had an ample bosom which, mostly thanks to finding the right bra, I had come to embrace.
We’ve had our ups and downs over the years.
When I was 12 and all the coolest girls in my class had been bought their first bra, I hated my pathetic gnat bites for not warranting anything more than a lacy crop top.
Then the buds sprouted and they were off, blossoming into pert little breasts that I didn’t appreciate at the time, but I now remember fondly. Just the right size to stand proudly, but alone and unsupported.
Oh, how I took for granted the luxury of being able to wear strapless and backless dresses with no supportive undergarments to pull them into place.
I inherited a generous cup size from my foremothers and if anything they soon became a little larger than I considered to be ideal.
I wasn’t like poor Jemma G in my class, who was a double G and really into gymnastics, and had to wear two sports bras in a desperate bid to pin them down.
But as a teenager, when Calvin Klein underwear was my ‘Must Have’ and I spent all my waitressing wages on a designer bra, the largest size available didn’t really contain them.
It took me until my early twenties to fully understand the value of a good over-shoulder boulder holder.
I happily used my student discount to buy cheap, brightly coloured, sometimes cartoon-print, bras from Topshop, not really aware of my true measurements and still under the misapprehension that the aim of a brassiere was to force them together, rather than lift and separate.
Then once I got my first real job and had a bit more to spend, along with a wiser head on my chest, I discovered expensive lingerie.
I visited Rigby & Peller, Royal Warrant holder and therefore, one assumes, official bra-makers to The Queen.
For my first fitting I was shown into a cushioned booth, given a silk dressing gown and told to strip down to the waist. A rather stern and matronly woman then came in and asked me to open the dressing gown. There was none of this faffing about with generic measuring guides like you get at a certain well known high street store that has always let me down on the bra front. She just measured the circumference under my bust and then scrutinised my bosoms, before declaring me a 32F and returning with a selection of bras for me to choose.
For the first time ever I discovered what a properly fitting bra felt like… and it was quite magical. Like two gloved hands were holding my breasts comfortably in place.
From that day forth I was a convert, and while they didn’t come cheap, Rigby & Peller became my official bra-makers too.
So imagine my dismay when I got pregnant and discovered they don’t do maternity or nursing bras! At first I couldn’t believe it. I mean, The Queen has had four children. But then she probably had a wet nurse.
I was back at the aforementioned high street store, trying on nursing bras, which have no underwire, and asking the assistant, “It doesn’t really feel like it’s giving me any support – is that’s how it’s supposed to feel?” To which they couldn’t really give me an answer.
I had to assume that as you’re going to be flapping them out all the time, a nursing bra doesn’t really do much but hold breast pads in place in case of leakages.
And now I have fully weaned my child and none of my structurally-engineered undergarments fit me anymore. They just hang there limp and pathetic inside the cups.
Where once I had two plump melons, I now have two overripe donut peaches – flat, with rather wrinkled skin.
I have considered trying to reinstate them to their former glory. Plastic surgery is not an option I would really consider, so perhaps, if I just ate masses of high-fat food I might gain weight in the right place?
I may have to save up my pennies for another visit to Rigby & Peller and be fitted for a downsized structure to suit my new assets.
But most importantly, I just need to learn to accept my breasts for what they are. Not those of a pre-Raphaelite goddess, but those of a thirty-something mother.
There – that felt good to get off my chest.