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Rated G (brief nudity implied)

When I was 20, I had what an enamored girlfriend called "perfect maiden breasts." They were round and firm, small but full, and they sat perched atop my ribcage with enviable alertness. At 34B, I needed a bra, barely, but in that size the bras come in gingham, in leopard print, in demi-cups edged with eyelet lace. Frivolity holstered my breasts; matching underpants girded my loins.

And then, when I hit 25 or so, something happened. I grudgingly left my girlish 34Bs behind, assuming a more womanly 36C with ill grace. Goodbye, gingham. Hello, additional hook, you unwelcome bastard. My bras had suddenly become more adult, the kind of bras that pay the phone bill on time and discuss mortgages and health insurance at parties.

And then, around 28, something happened. One day I walked into Nordstrom an overflowing 36C, and left a trussed and cantilevered 38D. Anchoring my rack had become a deadly serious business. Not only did I now merit yet another hook, the shoulder straps now came wide and padded.

For the next few years I held steady, indulging what had become a voracious appetite for expensive foundation garments. But you shouldn't think my bras are fancy. They come in beige and black, period. They sport no lace. They are absolutely plain. And they cost the earth. On any given day, the bra I wear costs more than the sum total of the rest of my outfit. For faultless support, a pleasing shape, and a smooth line under my clothing, I happily pay. I was determined to wear these bras as far into my pregnancy as I possibly could.

And I did. And then something happened. My breasts began to leak out the bottom of my heavily engineered and underwired cups, like overrisen bread dough overflowing its pan. On top, my cleavage was breathtaking. On bottom, half my breast was making a break for it.

This would not do.

Yesterday I went to the maternity shop in the mall and browsed the racks, so to speak. I should have known this mission was doomed to failure when I saw that every single bra, no matter how capacious, had only three hooks at the most. Virtually every bra was composed of light, stretchy cotton instead of the heavily reinforced microfiber I have come to expect. And they cost no more than $15 each, available in white, white, or — if you're feeling racy — white.

I was appropriately wary. But instead of bolting in terror, as my lizard brain told me to do, I explained the problem to the saleswoman.

She was all of 20, with the perfect maiden breasts I left behind lo, those many years ago. (At least someone's using them.) I told her my 38D was no longer sufficient, grievously understating the magnitude of the problem. She suggested I start with a 40E.

Grievously understated. The 40Es were too small.

The magnitude of the problem. The 40Fs were too small.

"I don't suppose you have any Gs?" I called hoarsely from the fitting room, and made her look at me spilling forth from the bra.

"...No," she answered in appalled wonder, a tone I did not especially care for.

Now, one can acquire bras in a 40G; I know this from careful research on the Internet. But they come with frightening words attached, words like "minimizer," "rigid lace," "3-section cup," and "magic lift with back support." They look a lot like this.

Hold me. I'm frightened.

It was obvious that my Ds could do the job no longer. I needed some sort of restraint, so, imperfect fit notwithstanding, I bought what was available. I am now held uneasily in check by flimsy white cotton, ready to burst out of my moorings at the slightest provocation — say, a gentle wafting zephyr of a breeze.

In other words, I am well and truly F'ed.