Monday, April 21, 2008

The Three E's of Buying a Nursing Bra

There comes a time in every woman's life when she acknowledges her dependence on a sturdy bra. This morning was such a time for me. So it was with a brave face that I went off into the battlefield of fine department stores looking to spend lofty cash on a bra that would last me through my next stage in life: The Nurse.

As a first timer, I thought I might as well try the whole nursing bra contraption, may it come with snaps or buttons or lace or bows or dangley doo-dads. I see no problem making do with one I've got now, only that hormones have done a number on my physiology and the dam is near breaking (if you follow.)

And yes I intend to nurse, I've got all sorts of great expectations. I might even nurse until The Chief goes to Kindergarten, only I just remembered that I am going to home school. Oh vey, how did things get so complicated? (And when did I turn Jewish?)

All smiles, I showed up at the "intimates" counter and asked the Dr.-Laura-looking lady (pink measuring tape for a necklace) if she could help me with a nursing bra. She looked at me for a brief second and returned leafing through a big catalog on the counter.

"Oh yes . . . let me see . . ."

Turning pages. No eye contact.

" . . . you might be a good candidate for . . ."

A good candidate for what?

This much I knew: I never want to be a good candidate for a phrase that starts with "you might be a good candidate for . . ."

" . . . a new line that comes in . . ."

Polka-dot?

The suspense is killing me.

She turns two pages.

" . . . specialty sizes . . ."

Like Double J?

" . . . oh but I can't find it here in the catalog at the moment."

Eye contact. Then bosom contact. Then belly contact.

"Have you had your baby already?"

"I hope not."

"Ok. Let's go to the dressing room."

If you are a lady, and you are reading this, only you know what happens next. I am just so gratefully glad that I live in Utah Valley where the Lingerie Specialists acknowledges your Mormon needs behind closed slatted dressing room doors. In fact, mine even went so far to say that LDS women can outwear bras longer than their non-LDS counterparts. Something about our bras being blessed? I forget now. But talk about another reason for getting baptized!

After being measured in what was a semi-formal affair, I was offered a couple options. Only that the Lingerie Specialist was very fumbley-at-the-mouth when it came to telling me my correct size. Was she embarrassed? Was I freakishly huge?

"Well, you are a . . ."

"It seems like . . ."

"Do you remember what you were before you got pregnant?"

Look, I wanted to say, nothing is worse than getting on the scale at the Dr.'s office only to have him tell you to exchange chips for nuts. Chips for nuts! A pregnancy miracle! Just lay it on me already. What is my blasted bra size?

"Triple E. I should think."

I stood all amazed. Never even knew the existence of that size.

Then with a half-curtsy she disappeared to fetch a pail of bras labeled "EEE."

I looked down, very stunned.

(And . . . admittedly a little bit proud of myself.)

Then I did what any rational wife would do. Texted my husband with the news.

[Start text.] Triple E! [End text.]

I waited for his quick (witted) response. Only it never came, and that dressing room got increasing smaller. And more lonesome. Until finally I felt like couldn't breathe. Panic! Attack!

As it turns out, life is very lonely for those of us marked Triple E.

(I found that out early enough.)

Just as I was about to dress and exit with my wire-encroaching bra of yore, the LS came back into the room. She asked me to do some bra fitting exercises with her. (Lower chest, shimmy--her word, not mine--slide into contraption, and clasp!) Ah the comfort of a well-fitted bra! Practically like not wearing one at all. (Which is always preferable.)

"Now, did I say that you were a Triple E?"

She asked businessing her hands with hangers and lacy unmentionables.

"Yes." My voice came out like I had been sucking on cotton balls. It was a huge-sized leap from nine months ago. But I am learning to own my Inner Goddess, and besides, I've never been shy about my physical endowments. Only, they've never seen that side of the alphabet before.

"Silly me! Actually, you've only gone up one cup size from your pre-pregnacy chest! Great news!"

Then she took my pink credit card and swiped away.

Making me the proud owner of two new nursing bras.




Of which sizes I shall keep a secret.