Slightly more than 50% of the population have them, or some variation of them. Men revere them. Babies need them. Women worry about them.
Yes, I’m talking about mam’s, ta-tas, The Girls, boobies, breasts. My apologies to any of my male readers out there who now feel uncomfortable. Honestly, I gave great thought as to whether or not I was comfortable being rather public with this topic. After all, even my Dad follows my blog. (Sorry, Daddy). But then I thought about how the media and medical professionals are encouraging us all to speak more openly about prostate health, the importance of regular colonoscopies for both sexes, and how we are now even subjected to tv commercials promoting Viagra. So I decided that yes, in certain situations, we can be brave enough to venture into the topic of Ta-Ta’s.
We Real Women have a complex relationship with them. Not only are we quite obviously physically attached, but emotionally attached as well. They are arguably the most obvious symbol of our femininity. If we have nice ones, or for those who have spent time and money to enhance them, we like to show them off. Some of us nurse our children with them, forming an unbreakable bond. We can’t help but admit that they were likely involved in at least the initial attraction we received from our partners. After all, boobs seem to be to men what nectar is to hummingbirds. They can be worn with pride.
However, many of us are less than thrilled with what we are blessed with above the waist. There are those of us who wish we were more endowed while others of us wish we had less — and even go so far as to have reduction surgery. As we age, and the perkiness dwindles, we begin to feel less enamored with how The Girls look. We get worried that they are too lopsided, that gravity has kicked in too much, that cleavage wrinkles are appearing. We begin to wish we had worn more bikini’s and tank tops when we could, and had appreciated them more in our youth.
Beyond the questionable beauty of them (really, I often wonder what men find so fascinating about these sacks of glands), we of course have health to consider. And therein lies a whole ‘nother land of worry. After a certain age, we get into an annual or bi-annual routine of subjecting The Girls to analysis via unpleasant compression or other means. I recently saw an amusing video that had been posted on FaceBook of two men who had allowed themselves to be strapped with electrodes in order to experience a simulation of the labor pains their wives had endured during child birth. The results were eye-opening and painful for the men, but pretty darn funny for all moms. Trust me, men, in a similar way, you don’t want to experience the discomfort of a mammogram. At my most recent analysis I told the technician that her instructions to hold my breath were unnecessary – it already takes your breath away.
During this process of course is the inevitable wait in the little room, where we R.W.’s sit and hope for an “all is well, see you next year” instead of “the doctor would like to talk to you.” According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 296,000 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed in their lifetime. 1 in 8! That number seems shocking until we each stop to think about the women in our lives. Virtually every one of us knows someone who has waged that battle. Even more eye-opening to me was my realization that out of my Personal Board of Directors, my group of BFF’s, EVERY ONE of us has had to have at least one biopsy or similar procedure to check on potential issues. One of my BFFs, that “lucky #8”, has fought (and thankfully come out on top of) the cancer war. Startling, yes. But in many ways, comforting. With one simple phone call or email, BFFs circle around with words of support, advice, and comfort any time one of us has to face a procedure and endure the wait for results. We recently joked about starting a club of those of us with implanted titanium chips. We could call ourselves the Bionic Boobies.
There is no way to over-state the importance of routine exams. I will put off seeing my general practitioner. I will delay getting to the dentist. However I never miss an OB/Gyn appointment or mammogram. Certainly the check ups and procedures are no fun. But the odds are too high, the opportunity for early detection too vital, to take our Real Women health too casually.
Regardless of what the men in our lives may believe, these Ta-Ta’s belong to us. Love ‘em or not, it is our duty to take care of them.
For an alternative view from the UK, look at my blog. Mammography is suspect and may be bad for your health.