Know Your Girls

Based on the research that Dr. Marisa C. Weiss and her daughter, Isabel Freidman, collected, Taking Care of Your "Girls" answers the most compelling questions girls have about their changing bodies, from "How do I know when I need to get my first bra?" to "Is there a perfect, correct, or average breast size?" Dr. Weiss offers advice at a medical and a motherly level while Isabel provides a peer-to-peer perspective.

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Know your own breasts

That summer, I began to notice more and more how different women's breasts were from each other and from mine. There were so many different shapes and sizes! I was already used to looking at human bodies in a scientific way because of my doctor parents, and this was like my own little observational study. On the beach and around town, Lena and I would observe the different kinds of breasts we saw, then come home and draw them in our nipple books. It was a fun way to spend time together and also to learn about our bodies.

You can see some of my illustrations here, and a bunch more at TakingCareOfYourGirls.com. Most of my illustrations were realistic, others more imaginative, but in recording the "findings" of our "study," we came to one conclusion: every set of breasts is different and unique. It took me a while to realize that everything I had read about breasts and breast development applied to breasts that looked completely different. Lena and I thought that was pretty cool.

Then another question came to mind: how can you know you're normal when every girl and woman around you have breasts that look different from yours?

Not all breasts are created equally

I learned then, and have come to realize even more now, that every girl experiences confusion and shared fears about her body as she grows up. Creating our nipple books helped Lena and I relieve those fears and make the best of all of the changes. Turning our worries into laughs allowed us to enjoy those exciting times in our lives. We weren't making fun of these different kinds of nipples and breasts; we were just being honest that the differences were there. Not everyone was going to look the same and that was just fine.

It was five years later that I showed my nipple book to my mom. She thought it was great, and that just reinforced for me that my and Lena's curiosity was normal. Mom was pleased and surprised that we had taken notice of all the natural differences among women.

Now that I'm seventeen, I flip through my nipple book and giggle at some of the silly drawings I made, but I also appreciate how useful it was for me growing up. I know that not every girl is able to ask questions, express her concerns, or share her fears as easily as Lena and I did. Having this kind of relationship was so important to me—and would have a big positive influence on any girl.

Share your stories and fears and help others

And that's why I'm here for you. During puberty, your body can change faster than you can keep up with it, and it's not easy to find the answers to all the questions you have. This book draws upon my experiences and my mom's medical knowledge, and will help resolve your concerns and put your fears about breasts (your "girls") to rest with fun, easy-to-understand, reliable, meaningful information. Peppered throughout the book are tidbits of my perspective, for a girl-to-girl view, plus tons of other girls' stories, on all the subjects we cover. You're probably full of ideas and stories too. Please share them with me and other girls at our website, TakingCareOfYourGirls.com. Helping each other makes us all feel strong, smart, taken care of, and comforted. It feels much better knowing that we're all in this together. We hope you find our book helpful and enjoyable!

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