This weekend I had the wonderful job of going to M&S to get our teen re-fitted for a new bra. She will not thank me in the slightest for telling you that! What fascinates me is that there are just so many there to chose from… Underwire, balcony, plunge, minimiser, T-shirt, sports, strapless, backless, multiway… and that’s just the few off the top of my head!
The money stats surrounding the bra industry are pretty jaw dropping too…
The UK lingerie market is now valued at $3.18bn (£2.47bn), according to the latest industry figures from Euromonitor’s Passport database. The market has grown 0.7% on last year and accounts for 22% of the women’s underwear market in Western Europe, which grew 1.3% in 2016 to exceed $14.3bn (£11bn).
This got me thinking about the whole fascination with boobs! Just go back to the 70’s… when every other joke on Benny Hill revolved around how well endowed the women were… or little Babs Windsor with her well endowed chest in the Carry On films. How different it was back then huh?!
However you view them, boobs play a big part in a woman’s life… big or small! Even at the early development of those little rosebuds, that would kill when a little dickhead at school would accidentally on purpose elbow you in them. This would be shortly followed by the excitement of getting your first bra and believing you had now entered the big world of womanhood!
Then there’s the amazing job they do in feeding our babies. From swelling up during pregnancy to having your milk come in and feeling like you could easily pass as Dolly Parton’s niece… or great niece even! How old is Dolly these days?
Breastfeeding is a different story for everyone. Some women could literally feed a village with the amount of milk they express, others find it impossible to get a bottle’s worth out! And then there’s the tremendous amount of pain and anxiety they can cause new mothers too. Not everyone has a great time of it when they decide to breastfeed and difficulties with feeding can lead to pain and guilt.
Unfortunately, there’s a very serious side when it comes to our boobies.
We also have to be mindful of checking our boobs regularly for signs of any changes. Hands up who does this monthly without fail? I wish I could confidently put my hand up, but I am guilty of just having a prod and a poke every now and then when I remember! Whilst I know about the visual changes I should look for, I’m not so good at checking what’s going on underneath the surface!
As I was stood in the changing room with Ellie, I couldn’t help but think about my mum. It’s pretty obvious that my daughter has been blessed… or cursed (whichever way you want to look at it) with the genes of her Nan which seemed to skip straight past me and right onto her. Being in an adult’s bra’s (the ones with nine hooks at the back!) at age 13 is a bit shocking, both physically for her and on the wallet for me! No more 2 for £20 offer on here! She also has such a slight frame (being blessed with a figure like her paternal Nan) that getting her boob scaffolding right at this developmental age is vital.
My mum, being small in stature, suffered with sore shoulders and backache due to the weight she had to carry up front! In 1994, her GP referred her to Bristol and after consultation, she underwent a bust reduction. What transpired was not expected.
They had found pre-cancerous cells in her left breast in what they had taken away. This was back in 1994, and what they had to offer then, was probably very different to what would happen now. Mum was offered what was effectively a tummy tuck, and what they took away from her tummy would be put inside her left breast. Long story short, this operation didn’t work. The stomach muscle rejected and mum was in hospital for a total of five weeks following a complication with a blood clot.
This happened at a crazy time of my life. I was 18, at the end of college completing my exams and about to go straight into the local hospital as a trainee medical secretary. I remember swotting for exams on daily trips up to Bristol to visit Mum.
I don’t ever remember seeing Mum get upset about what she’d been through, she kept that to herself behind her bedroom door. I can’t even begin to imagine how she must’ve felt. She would’ve been 45 at the time, only a few years older than I am now and even though this hadn’t developed into cancer cells, the 10% chance they gave her was enough for her to decide she didn’t want to take the risk.
Instead, what I do remember is my Mum being the crazy, lovable, life loving lady, who would now and again get her chicken fillet prosthesis out at parties and make everyone laugh with her wicked wit!
I want to be just like her when I grow up!
Mum was lucky to have her abnormalities picked up at the time of her operation – a blessing in disguise. When it comes to checking your boobs, don’t leave it to chance. If you think something isn’t right, go straight to the GP and insist on a check-up.
Until next time,
Love and Hugs xxx
For advice on checking your breasts for cancer, visit: https://www.breastcancercare.org.uk/information-support/have-i-got-breast-cancer/checking-your-breasts
For information on signs and symptoms of breast cancer, visit https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/breast-cancer/symptoms/