As for increasing the size of your breasts—creams, vitamins, exercises, etc., aren’t going to work. Birth control pills can make your breasts bigger, but only as a possible side effect that can go away as your body gets used to the shift in hormones or when you stop taking the pill. If you were male-assigned at birth, you can have some breast growth if you choose to take hormones. But please don’t take regular birth-control pills to get your dose of “female” hormones—doing so might give you dangerous blood clots, extra body hair, or a crazy amount of acne: all pretty good reasons to find a provider who is experienced in managing hormone therapy for women without a uterus. If there’s an LGBTQ center near you, they’ll have resources, and if there isn’t one in your town there is probably one in the next big city. There are also plenty of resources online, like the WPATH list of international providers, and the TS Roadmap section for younger people.

The most surefire way to make your breasts bigger or smaller is, of course, surgery. A BIG downside to this option is that it is hella expensive: in the U.S., without insurance, surgeon fees are in the $3500+ range—and that can be doubled once the hospita/clinic adds in their fees. If you can’t prove that your surgery is “physically required” (for instance, if your boobs are so heavy that they cause persistent back pain), it’s likely that your insurance plan won’t cover it, even if it’s actually totally necessary for your mental and emotional health. Similarly, the more your desired outcome goes against the sex that was assigned to you at birth, the harder it will be to get surgery to align your body with your preferred gender expression. That means if you’re a woman who wants larger breasts but was male-assigned at birth, you may have to search harder for a surgeon, and/or present multiple letters from therapists, before you can get get your boobs enlarged. Of all the breast-size surgeries, reductions are covered by insurance most often, especially if your breasts are so heavy that they’re painful. The criteria depend on your specific insurance, but most plans have weight requirements—they want your boob size to be unusually large for your weight, or else the reduction won’t be paid for. Other criteria include needing to prove that you’ve finished developing, that you’ve already tried other things like physical therapy or weight loss, and that your breast size is disproportionate to your total body surface area (through a formula called the Schnur Sliding Scale).

Even though some surgeons want to wait until you are done developing, most understand that waiting has its own risks, too. My friend Rachel identifies as a “feminist gentleman” and puts an alternative lifestyle haircut and pair of suspenders to shame. When she told one of her friends she was going to get top surgery (aka a double mastectomy), the first thing they blurted out was, “But then you can never breastfeed!” The risks of spending the rest of her life not being able to live comfortably in her body far outweighed the risk of losing access to something that she had never desired to begin with.

Breast augmentation (enlargement) surgery isn’t generally covered by insurance, but no matter what your gender, you don’t need to catch a bunch of static for it. Surgery that turns your A cups into a Cs does not come with a C in self-acceptance. There is enough room in feminism for you and your new, bigger bras!

The bigger a decision is, of course, the more information you’ll need to make a good choice—so get a lot of info, especially for permanent changes. Once you have all the information on the risks and benefits, you can weigh them out and decide for yourself. Just because you’re young doesn’t mean you can’t know what’s best for you. Because your body (consciousness-sustaining flesh suit) is the first and the last thing you got, and it’s your right to create it in the image you want.

It will take faith, bravery, and willful obliviousness to the opinions of others to come to terms with your breasts—whether you decide to change them or leave them alone. If you take an evening stroll through Rookie Towne you will meet many who have done it, too. On the subject of small breasts, listen to Anna and Laia. On asymmetry, Jamie. With regard to big breasts, Amy Rose went from having her screenname be “flatty24” to having that screenname AND Ds. Here, Sady comes to terms with her own small breasts and concludes: “Take care of your breasts. Be nice to them. Buy them pleasing little bra outfits, in the correct size. Do not berate them for their ways. Check in with them!… Your breasts will thank you, for your appreciation and support.” Testify! It’s worth noting that every person mentioned came to the same conclusion about their chest, which was, briefly: “Fuck it, it’s mine.” Or, briefly-er: “Fuck it.” The most direct route to feeling OK about your chest is to feel OK about your chest. Another example of a direct route is from the bottom to the top of mount Everest. As Cheryl Strayed, who hiked 1,100 miles from the Mojave Desert to the Oregon-Washington border, wrote: “We don’t reach the mountaintop from the mountaintop. We start at the bottom and climb up. Blood is involved.” ♦