Flat-Chested and Proud


This post is part 2 of 5 in the series Self Embrace: Learning to Love the Skin We Are In.

I spent my childhood in a leotard. Twirling and tumbling, 24/7.

Mom and me (age 6)
Mom and me (age 6)

Heading into seventh grade, my mom said, “You’ll have to change in gym class. We should get you a bra.”

A wha?

Notice the suggestion wasn’t a support issue. More of a modesty, or even a conformity, issue. I didn’t need a bra. I should just probably have one.

We found one. At Kids R Us.

When I was a freshman in high school, I was 4’10” and 90 pounds.

I traded in my leotards for running shorts.

I graduated high school at 5’10” and 120 or so pounds. I stretched out, but not everything filled out.

The winter break of my senior year, two friends and I and our moms went shopping for prom dresses at the Mall of America. I wanted a strapless dress. I found a pretty, sparkly one off the rack. I tried it on. Pulled it up. It fell right back down. “Gotta have something to hold it up,” our moms laughed.

prom throwback picture
Fortunately, we knew a really good seamstress!

In college, the Freshman 15 found me. I blamed it on my weight training as I was suddenly trading in my size four jeans for a size eight. In truth, it had more to do with the jumbo chocolate muffin I ate every morning for breakfast. Still, not everything expanded.

Fortunately, I figured out how to eat. My coach changed our weightlifting program and I started high jumping higher. (Boobs probably would have just got in the way!)

high jump iowa state

I also met this really cool guy. He was cute, funny, athletic, and he thought I was pretty. Me, the girl they called “chicken legs.”

Eventually, we got married. Not long after we were excited to become parents.

Those long and lanky genes went well with pregnancy. I didn’t need maternity clothes til well into my second trimester. I was anxious for my belly to look like I was carrying a baby, but I was pleasantly surprised to find it’s not just bellies that grow when pregnant.

Belly bump finally growing. About 4 and a half months pregnant.
Belly bump finally growing. About 4 1/2 months pregnant.

For once, I had (a little) cleavage. Ch-ch-ch-chia!

Then my baby came, my belly vanished, but the cleavage remained. It was glorious!

A v-neck and skinny straps. Something I can only pull-off post baby!
A v-neck and skinny straps. Something I can only pull off post-baby!

Now I needed a bra. This time the padding was for protection rather than just pretend!

After my first baby, I was so excited to lay on my stomach again. It didn’t take me long to figure out that that wasn’t going to happen. A post-baby bust is just like wearing a brand new pair of stilettos. They look fabulous, but man, they hurt like a son of a gun!

Unfortunately, the post-baby bust is just a facade. It doesn’t last. It deflates. It eventually leaves you with even less than what you started with.

I was a bridesmaid seven months after my son was born. When I bought the strapless dress months prior, it fit perfectly. The day of the wedding, I put it on. Zipped it up. Down it fell. I made it through the wedding with eight safety pins holding up my dress.

Bye-bye, boobies. It was fun while it lasted.

My grandma gave this to my mom. It now hangs in my closet.
My grandma gave this to my mom. It now hangs in my closet.

Flat-chested and proud. Who’s with me?!

Read more from our Self Embrace series!

Self Embrace: Learning to Love the Skin We Are In


  1. I relate…mine are tiny! I was bummed when I too discovered that they could become even smaller after having my son. Thanks for the post.


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