Breastfeeding was the only way to feel sexy about myself
After funding for her breast op was pulled, just how far would Vikki go for the body she craved?
‘Pleeeease, Mummy? My son Blake** begged, pulling at my arm.
‘Not now, wait until we get home,’ I scolded quietly.
I could see the woman behind me in the queue smile sympathetically. ‘My two were exactly the same,’ she said as Blake stamped his feet, his bottom lip trembling. ‘Always after something.’
If only she knew… I thought to myself. Because you see Blake wasn’t after sweets or the latest comic, No he wanted some milk…from my breasts.
You see, even though Blake was two-and-a-half, I was still breastfeeding him.
I expect you think I’m some kind of ‘earth mother’ type. ‘Breast is best’ that kind of thing. But you’d be wrong. Fact is – and it makes me wince to admit it – the reason I was still breastfeeding Blake had more to do with me than him.
Truth was breastfeeding a toddler with teeth wasn’t a pleasant experience. But after a lifetime of crippling depression caused by my flat chest, breastfeeding had given me the boobs I’d always dreamed of. And in short, I wasn’t prepared to let them go.
So even though Blake was fully weaned, eating the same meals and his sister Sammy **, I kept on breastfeeding him as well. And he loved latching on at every opportunity.
But when he shouted for my boobs when we were out in public I felt sick with embarrassment.‘Mummy, can I have booby?’ he’d ask, pulling at my top while I tried to distract him.
But distracting a stubborn two-year-old isn’t easy. Sometimes, he’d pull up my top and grab at my breasts, screaming.
I heard people’s tuts, noticed their disapproving stares and wanted the ground to swallow me up. I knew what they were thinking – that this was wrong, disgusting even – and deep down I agreed that perhaps he was too old.
I wasn’t sure if I approved of children Blake’s age still being breastfed myself. Of course it helped knowing he was getting so much nourishment from the milk, and there was no denying he was very bright for his age. Blake never got coughs or colds either.
‘Must be all that breast milk,’ friends nodded in agreement. It made me feel much better about what I was doing. Yes, the feeding was helping my confidence but it was doing him the world of good too.
So why was I doing it? To feel good about myself, to feel sexy. And yes, I know how wrong that sounds. And while I’d tried to give it up but I couldn’t stop. I was just as addicted as Blake was.
Because after years of depression about my flat chest I’d finally been referred for surgery on the NHS, only to have the plug pulled on funding when I postponed the op after falling pregnant with Blake.
They’d had initially agreed the op could go on hold while I had my baby but when Blake was six months old I went to my GP to make an appointment for the surgery, only to be told the offer had been withdrawn because funding was no longer available.
I was gobsmacked. I couldn’t believe it. I broke down in tears.
Even when they told me the money was now needed for other more serious illness like cancer, I couldn’t accept it. Because while, of course, I had sympathy for those battling serious illnesses, I felt I was entitled to help too.
My body issues had ruined my relationship. I’d been with Lee for 13 years but I couldn’t let him see me naked and would only ever make love in the dark.
I knew I needed help but now I’d gone through ten years of psychological assessment for nothing.
We’d put all our problems down to my boobs, the operation was the only thing keeping us together.
Now even my 13- year-old daughter Sammy – who I’d bottle fed – had bigger boobs than me. It was so humiliating.
But they were adamant. I’d missed my chance.
With no hope, I told Lee it was over. What was the point of carrying on now I’d be miserable forever? I was convinced he looked at women with bigger breasts and found them more attractive than me. ‘ Now you can be with one,’ I told him.
So as he packed his bags, I decided that for the time being at least, I’d no other choice but to keep on feeding Blake until I figured out what to do.
Only it was getting more and more difficult. I felt awful every time he latched on. I wasn’t stupid. I knew it was wrong to use my son in this way.
The final straw came a few weeks later when I saw a newborn being breastfeed. Blake looked like a giant compared to him. No, this had to stop – and now.
‘No, you’re a big boy now darling,’ I told Blake when he tried to snuggle in for a feed.
Of course, it didn’t go down well. I tried to make it up to him by giving him warm cups of milk with a bit of sugar in them instead but he missed the comfort of being close to me, too.
There were tantrums and tears. But I knew I had to be firm. Even though, my boobs were now anything but….
It only took a few days of non-feeding for them to deflate like week-old balloons and shrivel from a buoyant B to barely-there A-cup. And my confidence shrivelled along with them and I slunk back into the deep depression that had plagued me all my life.
A petite size 6-8 I didn’t want massive boobs. They would just have looked silly. But with no bust at all, I looked like a young boy. Sammy looked more womanly than I did.
‘Come on Mum, you still look lovely,’ Sammy said.
But now that I couldn’t get a boob job on the NHS everything felt hopeless…
Only then, I read about an American website called www.myfreeimplants.com that allowed you to ‘earn’ donations of a dollar towards implants. I remembered my ex telling me about it before we split.
Together we’d logged on, saw pages of beaming women in their underwear or bikinis proudly showing off their newly-bought boobs.
I had to admit I was interested but couldn’t help thinking it sounded a bit seedy…getting cash in exchanging for chatting to men and posting photos of myself online.
But even after a few glasses of wine: ‘No, it’s not for me,’ I decided and ordered Paul to pull the profile.
But now, I couldn’t help thinking about it again…and again. Would it really be that bad?
It wasn’t hurting anyone and what other choice did I have?
It wasn’t easy not knowing my way around the computer very well, but I spent the rest of the day completing the profile.
Apart from my GP, I’d never let anyone see my boobs before but there were 4000 men registered on the site and they’d all want to see pictures of me if I had any chance of raising the cash.
As I snapped away in the mirror, I felt sick. I’d spent years hiding my breasts and now I was going to be showing them off to thousands of other men. Within minutes, I was up and running.
At first I was terrified. What if they laughed at me? Wrote hurtful comments?
But as the days passed I realised that all these men were all here, because they wanted to see small boobs. A flat chest might be my nightmare, but it was their fantasy.
Soon the compliments – and the money – started flooding in.
‘You’ve got lovely boobs,’ one man wrote. ‘You’re gorgeous! You don’t need surgery,’ said another.
Boosted, I felt better than I had about my body in years. Soon I was a real whizz on the computer too, but I still kept what I was doing a secret from everyone. I was frightened that they would judge me, or not understand.
The men on the site were not sleazy as I feared. Most pleaded with me not to have them enlarged – but still happily donated towards my op.
Soon, every day while Sammy was at school and Blake playing with his toys, I was slipping off to my bedroom to talk to donors. Then when I’d cooked them both dinner and they’re safely in bed I’d be back on line all night.
Only after a few months, Sammy started to get suspicious.
‘What are you doing in there, Mum?’ she asked, trying to push past me into my bedroom.
Terrified she’d find out the truth from someone else, I decided to tell her.
I was worried how she’d take it but she was very accepting.
‘I know your boobs make you unhappy, Mum,’ she said. ‘It’s good that you’re doing something about it and I’m proud of you.’
The relief was immense. But I still couldn’t help thinking how unfair it was. If my funding hadn’t been pulled so cruelly I wouldn’t have to do it at all.
Now in five months I’ve raised $2000 towards my $8000 target. But it’s not easy work. Sometimes I’m up until 4am to work in different time zones raising cash, getting just two hours sleep before the kids get up.
Yes, you could argue that I could earn more doing a proper job – but that would mean losing all of my benefits and I know my wages would go into everyday living and I still wouldn’t be able to afford a boob job.
When I stopped feeding Blake I felt like I was back to square one but since starting this, I feel hopeful again.
Don’t get me wrong, as soon as I have my boobs I never want to go on line again, but right now I’m going to do whatever I can to get my boobs and the life I’ve always wanted. My kids deserve a happy mum.