I was 17 when I discovered I had ‘abnormal’ nipples. That’s a daunting age to be told that a part of your body, a rather significant part, is less than optimal.
On the verge of adulthood I had decided that I needed to start doing some responsible adult things, such as getting my moles checked. I have a mole just next to my areola so I asked the doctor to check that while she was at it. In the most off-hand, matter-of-fact tone she said to me, “I’m sure you know you have inverted nipples, you won’t be able to breastfeed.” I nodded, smiled and said something really constructive like, “ Oh yeah, no worries,” put my clothes back on and left the room.
As I returned home, walked in and saw my mum, I burst into tears.
I wasn’t really sure why I was crying. Was it because I had weird nipples? Was it because I was told I wouldn’t be able to do something that I had never actually thought about doing? Was it because it just made me feel like a bit of a shit woman? I blubbered to my mum, “I can’t breastfeed.” She was suitably confused by my state as well as my statement. As far as she knew, I wasn’t yet sexually active which meant I couldn’t be pregnant which therefore led to the conclusion that I didn’t need to be concerned about breastfeeding, yet.
The woman behind the new LGBTIQ antenatal classes explains co-breastfeeding to the hosts of This Glorious Mess. Post continues.
It’s surprising how often the opportunity for people to see your nips arises in your early 20s. I dodged O-Week nudie runs, always left my bra on during romantic encounters and avoided ever getting changed with my girlfriends. It seemed society was doing little to dispel any theories I had about my malformed nipples as everywhere I looked I was confronted with perfectly shaped, erect, protruding nipples that looked nothing like my own. As far as I was concerned, I was a freak of nature.
When my husband and I fell pregnant, my mind flashed back to that doctor. I was suddenly confronted with a whole new world of problems. If I wasn’t going to be breastfeeding my baby, I knew I would constantly need to explain or justify to people why that was the case.