The Bad News Breasts

Jennifer Zajac has more than 20 years of journalism experience and has written for Money, Sports Illustrated, People, Institutional Investor and Parents for Parents. She hosted the top-rated weekend news show for more than two years on News Radio 1070 WINA. Her award-winning humor column, While I Was Out, appears in The Fluvanna Review and other Central Virginia newspapers. She has a master’s degree from the University of Colorado, works full-time, lives with her husband, two children, and black Lab in Fluvanna County, and is currently working on completing her first novel. Her first book, I Read It Somewhere, So It Must Be True: Notes From a Mom Who Reads Too Much, was published in 2008.

The Bad News Breasts

The only thing worse than a male staring at your breasts: A male who gazes at them with a look of utter repulsion.

And this wasn’t just any member of the opposite sex, either. This guy was my 10-year-old son.

We had just been seated moments before at an upscale restaurant. I had requested a quiet table so Bippy Girl Hostess showed us to one right in the middle of the dining room. Once we settled down in our seats, my 5-year-old daughter proceeded to lift her shirt so that she could “feed” her stuffed animal puppy, Cleo, the same way she saw a friend’s dog nurse her new puppies.

“What are you doing?” Son asked.

“I’m feeding my baby,” Daughter replied.

“Get a bottle! That’s the right way to do it!”

“No! Mommies do it this way, right mom?”

“Yes. You’re both right. Some mommies use bottles and some breastfeed.”

Son frowned at the thought of not being 100% correct in this debate. Then his brow furrowed deeper as he began to process this statement.

“Mom, did you … ?”

In retrospect, I should have changed the subject. Or just told him that we bottle feed him, which we did at times. But I was just as tired and cranky as the kids at that point.

“HOW COULD YOU?” he gasped.

“Son, I did it because it’s the healthiest thing a mom can do for their—“


I glanced down at the glass of red wine that had appeared in front of me. I took a fortifying sip.

“Ten months, less than a year.”

His head shook back and forth in disbelief and disgust.

“Are you going to be able to eat or are you going to throw—“

“How? Could? You? That’s Dis.  Gust. Ing!”

Never did I imagine during those late-night feedings that Son would ever grow up to say, “Gee Mom, thanks for breastfeeding me!” But how did I not see this coming?

“Son, I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t believe it was the best thing for you—“

“Stop. It’s gross. I don’t know how you could do that … ”

And then I said the phrase that kids universally loathe. Then they mature and, haunted by this awful cliché, vow never to utter them to their children.

I was once one of those people who made that vow. I knew it was cliché and it wouldn’t turn the conversation in a positive direction. But hurting people say hurtful things. And so, I said it:

“You’ll understand it when you’re older.”