There’s Cole Slaw in My Bra

I texted my mom this morning, just after a very early trip to the grocery store:

“I have cabbage in my bra,” I wrote.

Two seconds later, my Irish mother responded:

“Now all you need is the corned beef!”

She’s a funny one, isn’t she, my mom? She’s also the same one who saw me recently and stopped in her tracks at the sight of my, um, well, chest.  “Oh, my, Leah,” she said, looking vaguely horrified. “You’re looking rather…buxom.” Buxom, indeed. Yeah, she about hit that hideously engorged, painful nail right smack on its miserable head. See, I’ve recently stumbled upon the horrible truth that sometimes weaning a baby from the boob juice is not an easy, simple process, as it was with SK. Nosirree. Sometimes–and whhhyyy did no one tell me this?!–you can end up afterward with biddies that are so inflated you could downright swear–nay, hope–that they’ll burst from all the pressure. It ain’t pretty. David was so horrified by the sight of them he may very well steer clear of me for the rest of our marriage.

Which leads me to the cabbage. I, still in shock, wailed to a friend of mine. She said, “Have you tried cabbage leaves?” As in, on the boobs. I said, uh, no, I’ve never thought about using sauerkraut as a compress. But the milk machines just got bigger. And harder. So I searched online. People there wrote, “Should I try cabbage leaves?” I thought, are ya’ll outta your minds? And then last night, Quinn accidentally bumped into my chest when I picked her up, and the pain was so sharp I crumpled to the floor in fetal position, crying into the cool, cool tile while whimpering something about somebody just taking the hurt away (I’m sort of kidding. But it was close).  So I decided to hit the grocery store for a little relief.

And now there’s cabbage in my bra. I officially have no dignity left. I peel off leaves, I rinse them off, and I wear them like a drunk dude sports a coconut bra at a Jimmy Buffett show. I walk around with them secretly tucked into my shirt, replacing them once in awhile with new, crisp, fresh leaves, and feel slightly sorry for the poor cabbage, which probably thought it was being raised to go into some sort of lovely meal of comfort food involving potatoes and beef, only to be violated, torn apart, and shoved down the front of some woman’s lingerie.

And it smells, by the way. The cabbage stinks like a compost bin in July. I smell like a compost bin in July. This better work soon, or David’s going to end up moving into the family room.

It’s working, a little bit, I think. When the leaves are in there the desire to claw the walls in frustration seems to lessen, anyway, which sort of qualifies any humiliation one may feel from wearing a leaf vegetable as an undergarment. I stopped by our local pharamacy this evening to refill a prescription, and was chatting with the pharmacist when I noticed him glance toward my shirt. Not really thinking anything of it, I reached over to sign the waiver form and saw him stare at my chest again. Oh, jeez, I thought, have they really gotten that big? Then I saw his forehead wrinkle and eyebrows go up, and I very, very slowly looked down to see what was most unmistakably a large piece of green produce that had freed itself from the confines of my bra. I looked up at the pharmacist, he blinked at me,  I adjusted my top, and drove away.

I was out to dinner with some girlfriends last night, trying very hard to fight the frequent urge to clutch my arms over my chest and rock back and forth in my seat, muttering madly in my discomfort.  I eventually broke down and, through gritted teeth, asked my friend Amy for a little guidance. She said that this whole post-weaning engorgement thing could last another week or so, which means that I’m halfway there. I’m halfway to sleeping on my side again. I’m almost to the point where I won’t weep when I pull a shirt over my head. With the cabbage as my guide, I can do this. But I may never be able to look at a stir-fry the same way ever again.

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