Before I had undergone mastectomies, I never really thought about what I would do if I was faced with the decision to reconstruct my breasts or not. In fact, if it did cross my mind, I think I probably would have gone, “Yeah, I‘d do it” very whimsically, thinking there wasn’t much to it. The truth is, I honestly think that’s how most people see it. You really don’t think about the details of it until you are faced with it.
I remember in the aftermath of it all people feeling lost for words at what to say, so then offered kind words of, “Don’t worry, you can always get a reconstruction” or “Well you can now get that DD you’ve always wanted!”. But the process of reconstruction can be a lengthy one and no cancer victim wants to feel pressure from those around them that they need to quickly go and reconstruct so they look normal again to make everyone else feel better. It can really take a long time to decide.
Firstly, there really is a grieving period after the cancer has been treated (and for some people this is ongoing). Emotions can range so much in this time as to whether you want to do it or not. Then, some people want to have a period with no surgery and just give their bodies a break and to maybe see how they feel in themselves without breasts. Some people make the decision to reconstruct very quickly because that is what they know is right for them, but others may need more time.
Before I share with you why I made my decision, I really want to emphasise that this was my choice. This is what I felt was right for me. I fully support all those wonderful women out there who are choosing the right thing for them whether it be reconstruction or not. If you are currently deciding on what to do, please know that you can take your time. Here’s a link which could be helpful.
For me, I had one breast removed and had the choice to stay with just one breast and reconstruct the other, remove both and stay flat or remove both and reconstruct later. I knew I definitely didn’t want to live with one breast. That was a hard six months for me, so it was a really quick decision to remove my other one. I was offered the option to reconstruct the one breast but I felt that it would always be an odd pair and felt that I’d rather remove them both and start from scratch if I was going to reconstruct.
When it comes down to it, the decision is like this for me. I feel really comfortable physically without them and I fear that I would have huge regret if I went through all the surgeries, pain and expense and didn’t like them. At the end of the day, I don’t crave breasts – it’s MY breasts I miss. So this is where it leaves me – my scars and I are great mates and perfectly happy. But who knows, one day I might turn around and change my mind and that is my choice.
I think it’s really important for women to have choices but also choices that are supported by society and their expectations of women. I think society puts a lot of emphasis on women’s physical beauty and women are constantly being exposed to unrealistic expectations. This puts a lot of pressure on women to continually want to change who they are and how they look. I have felt encouraged to reconstruct my chest because “why wouldn’t I want to have boobs?” People might not realise that you don’t want to reconstruct, for a variety of reasons. But a breast reconstruction is much more involved than an augmentation – it’s not always an easy choice for women and shouldn’t be simplified or the decision rushed.
I believe women who have had mastectomies should be able to choose the option that is right for them, and know that it is ok to choose not to have breasts if that is their preferred option. A woman should be accepted for making this choice, not criticised or feel excluded (especially in the area of fashion). I think it is important for women to know that they have options and if they choose not to reconstruct, that is just as valid a choice as reconstruction.
Having clothing options can be one of the ‘deciding’ factors when it comes to breast reconstruction. They may feel really comfortable with no breasts, but get frustrated that so few options are out there that they find it easier to then just reconstruct. Women need to have a fair choice in this area and that means having options for both sides. There are plenty of clothing options for people who remain breastless and wear their prosthesis all the time (although we could do more here too). But what about women who don’t want to wear them? Considering 1 in 8 women are developing breast cancer, that’s a real gap in the market. Even if they choose to reconstruct, there is often a period of time where they will have no breasts and they deserve to have clothing options available to them.
Today I want to share with you a style that has mostly always worked for me with no breasts. It is a dress (or top) with a high neck made from looser fabric which usually has a pattern or some sort of distraction on it. Here are a few examples of dresses I have worn that follow this rule.
Luckily at the moment, there are many dresses made like this for us to choose from. The biggest thing to be careful of however, is that it doesn’t gape too much under the arm and expose the scars. Make sure it goes quite high under the arms.
Here are links to a variety of dresses of different price ranges and formality that might suit you.
Have a wonderful week looking for beautiful breastless fashion.
I am breastless and beautiful.