'How I solved the problem of my uneven breasts'
LAURA Peacock always knew she was different.
From an early age she would see the perfectly formed mannequins in shops and knew there was something wrong with her shape.
And despite a happy relationship with her then boyfriend Darren, aged 32, who is now her husband, she would struggle to change in front of him.
Then on their wedding day five years ago, mortified at her shape in her dress, she had special cups sewn in to give her the curvy shape she had desired since she was a teenager.
But despite since having two children, who she was unable to breastfeed, she only found out she had Tubular Breast Syndrome after she had a breast lump scare in 2009.
Finally armed with a reason for her Snoopy ear-shaped breasts, the mum of two applied for TV show My Naked Secret in 2010, and after consultations with a top UK surgeon and a psychologist, she had the breast augmentation she had been dreaming about for more than a decade.
Filled with new found confidence Mrs Peacock now wants to educate women of all ages on the importance of the right bra size, and hopes to open a lingerie shop in her hometown of Horwich.
Mrs Peacock, aged 30, said: “I had noticed that I was different than other women and knew something wasn’t right. Everyone had pretty breasts apart from me.
"My mum told me I should wear a better bra, but I guess she didn’t know what else to say.
“I didn’t have any sisters that I could talk to about it. I had friends of course but not so close that I would discuss it with them. I was close to mum but she wasn’t my age.
“I tried everything — ‘chicken fillets’, gel filled bras, push-up bras, pump-up bras, the lot. I couldn’t wear swimsuits or vest tops because you could see the difference in size.
“But when you try to fit Snoopy ear-shaped breasts into the bra it’s like trying to fit a round peg into a square hole.”
Due to her underdeveloped chest she chose to cover up in baggy clothes to detract from her frame.
She said: “Growing up I would never dress up nicely or be naked in front of partners. I did manage to be naked in front of Darren but there were still barriers and I would still have to push him away.
“Everything about my body changed when I was pregnant — apart from my breasts. I put on fat around my back but not around the front.
"Mum said that she had her ‘Dolly Partons’ like most women get but I didn’t so I was devastated. In the back of my mind I knew something wasn’t right.”
With both her children, Mark, aged 10, and Amy Jorja, aged seven, she struggled to breastfeed.
She said: “I thought I’d be able to breast feed but Mark had difficulties latching on. I tried to express the milk but that didn’t work.
"The midwives didn’t pick up on any problems either, which I would have thought they should have known.
“With Amy Jorja she managed to latch on nicely but she soon started losing weight and became dehydrated because she wasn’t getting the milk she needed, so she had to be bottle fed.
“I still feel guilty about that — it’s the most natural thing in the world and I couldn’t do it.”
It was not until Mrs Peacock had a breast examination when she found a suspect lump that she found out what was wrong.
She said: “I didn’t know I had a problem until I went to have my breasts examined after I found a lump. At the appointment they told me not to worry, it wasn’t anything serious.
“But then I got a letter through about it and saw the words, ‘she presented with tubular breasts.’ I was shocked and upset — I wasn’t told this at the appointment so had no idea what it was.
“As you do these days, I googled it. There, staring back at me were these women just like me.
“I even cried and thought — finally I had a name for why I was so ugly.”
After applying for a TV show Mrs Peacock finally got the breast augmentation she desperately wanted, and now hopes that talking about her experience will raise awareness of the condition.
“The TV show came about after I got an email in 2010 about people with embarrassing bodies who wanted to do something about it.
“I had always wanted to correct my breasts but I had been declined on the NHS a number of times despite my issue not being about vanity.
“I was really nervous before the surgery and wrote letters to my children saying I’m sorry just in case something went wrong on the operating table and I didn’t wake up.
“I am so pleased I went through with it though. I feel normal and in proportion now and I’m more confident wearing nice clothes.
“After everything I’ve been though I really want to educate other women about how important bra size is, which is why I would like to set up a lingerie shop.
“I have also set up a tubular breast support group on Facebook to help others like me who might not know what is wrong. I don’t want anyone to ever feel the way I did.”
Jane Ooi, breast surgeon at Royal Bolton, added: “Tubular breasts are a congenital problem where the breast plate has not developed at the base.
“Currently the NHS will not fund such treatments of breast augmentation but in my opinion the NHS should look into it for this.
“I think there are some procedures which are put into the cosmetic category when actually the long term affects could lead to a number of psychiatric problems such as self harming.”
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