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The Mystery Mark

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He looked closely at it and with a perfectly straight face said, “That’s a nipple.”

It’s amazing the things I’m finding out about my body through pregnancy. I feel like I’ve entered some secret society, because countless women have experienced this, and yet there are so many things about it that aren’t discussed. Some things I think just can’t really be put into words but most are just too personal, uncomfortable, or embarrassing.

One such change that I had never heard about is how a woman’s nipples often change color. According to the pregnancy books I’ve read, they usually get a bit darker and often stay that way ever after. If my nipples have changed color, it’s too subtle to notice, but I still find this phenomenon fascinating, especially since it seems to reside under that shroud of mystery surrounding so much of this miraculous process.

Several months into the pregnancy, I did notice a new “spot” under my right breast. At first I thought it might be an ingrown hair because it was slightly raised and reddish, but it didn’t change in a week and I started to worry that it could be a wart or something that could be contagious to baby when I nursed, so I decided to add this to my list of questions for the doctor at my next prenatal visit.

That day I explained with concern how I had this new bump that I was worried about and lifted my shirt to show him. He looked closely at it and with a perfectly straight face said, “That’s a nipple.”

I thought he must be joking, but he said that women have a “milk line” that runs down each side of the body through the nipple, and sometimes some tissue is left on this line back from when we were developing in the womb. “I’ve seen women with six of them,” he said casually. I imagined women with torsos that resembled a cat’s, and looked down and noted that it now seemed to resemble a teeny tiny kitten nipple. I guess it had darkened along with my other nipples enough for me to notice it for the first time.

I still don’t know quite what to think about it, but I didn’t question it much because he obviously wasn’t worried I think it’s hilarious. Admittedly, it doesn’t look like much, but I love that I can now tell people that I have a third nipple!

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