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Why Do I Wish I Had a Flat Chest?

Published: December 13, 2016
Dear TeenHealthFX,

I'm 12 and I'm having feelings about my breasts that I'm not sure are normal. Recently they got to the point where my mom "casually" told me in the car "You know it probably is time you get some sort of bra..." I didn't want one but we ended up going a few weeks later because I didn't wanna hurt her feelings. I measured my breasts at home myself because I didn't want someone else to look at them. I'm really good at math and my mom double checked my measurements, so there's no way that it could be wrong. My mom tried to get me to try on all sorts of bras, and I did, but I hated all of them. I hate the way they feel, especially under where the breasts are, and it feels so unnatural underneath a shirt. I even hate the camisoles. Eventually my mom got frustrated and we had tried on literally all the bras in my size, so I just bought random ones. I feel bad about it, but I haven't touched them once. I've instead just wore sweatshirts so that it looks as if I don't have breasts. Yes, they're uncomfortable, but emotionally I feel like I'm not supposed to be wearing them. I've always been a tomboy, loved everything boy and hated anything girl except for certain toys and jewelry, but when I see any other tomboy, they're not upset with having to wear a bra or having breasts. I seem to be the sore thumb. A few days ago I was shopping for Christmas presents and I found this thing. It was like a bra, but it was really tight to the point where it almost concealed the breasts. I know it's like a bra, but as soon as I tried it on I felt perfect in it. I felt like things were the way they were supposed to be. I bought a ton, and now instead of wearing the bras, I wear these tight things (I do take them off for exercise and sleeping because I don't want to constrict my breathing somehow). I crave having a flat chest, but all other tomboys I see seem to not care, or even like, having breasts and wearing bras. Why is this? Why do I feel different? Is this normal?

Signed: Why Do I Wish I Had a Flat Chest?

Dear Why Do I Wish I Had a Flat Chest?,

TeenHealthFX would like to start by assuring you that there is nothing abnormal about your thoughts and feelings about this. We are all entitled to our thoughts and feelings, and there are usually understandable reasons for them whether we are aware of the reasons or not. FX would also like to assure you that you are not the only female out there who feels this way. There are many young women and women who prefer to be flat-chested for various reasons. Just because you may not have met others like you, doesn’t mean they are not out there. So please know that what you are feeling is perfectly normal and that you are not alone.

There are many reasons why a girl or young woman might prefer to be flat-chested. Perhaps she does not want the attention that can sometimes come with being more developed. It is possible that she spends more time hanging out with boys and doesn’t want to start looking or feeling differently from the group of people she spends most of her time with. She may participate in sports and feel like it is physically more comfortable to have a flatter chest or it is more common to have a flatter chest (such as with ballerinas). There could also be some anxiety or discomfort about the idea of going through puberty and dealing with a changing body.

Whatever the reason is that you prefer to be flat-chested, know that it is okay for you to feel this way. But also remember that your body is beautiful no matter what size your breasts are. While FX wants you to know your desire for a flat-chest is perfectly normal, we also don’t want you to feel negatively about your body because of what size you actually are. Finally, know that it is okay to let your mother know how you feel about all of this so that you can wear whatever undergarments do feel best for you and so that you can get some comfort and support in how you are feeling.

If you have any questions or continued concerns about this, FX recommends that you speak to a trusted adult such as a parent, your school nurse or your doctor so you can get the support and guidance you need to find a way to deal with this situation where you don’t feel stressed. If you don't have a doctor and live in northern New Jersey, you can call the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health at 973-971-5199 for an appointment with an adolescent medicine specialist or contact your local teen health center or Planned Parenthood. You can also contact your insurance company for a list of in-network providers.

Signed: TeenHealthFX

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