I have mentioned briefly throughout my blogs, the impact my breast cancer had on my family. Thinking about the affect it had on my boys however, is something that always brings a tear to my eye. When I got diagnosed with breast cancer, I personally went into clinical mode. It was follow the instructions of the doctor and be guided by them in order to beat the disease. Initially I felt sad but then I just had to do what I had to do. But no one really tells you what to do or say to loved ones when you have cancer, especially small children. How do you tell your children you have breast cancer and what it is? Then on top of this, how do you try to explain to them why their relatively normal lives have been turned upside down with mum always at the doctor or going on hospital visits because of this terrible thing called ‘cancer’.
Some people like to share very little of the details with their children to protect them. I, on the other hand, had a very open household growing up and felt it important to let my children know the truth about what was going on. Children are very intuitive and they will always sense when something is up. I thought it was better for them to know the truth but remain positive and upbeat at all times in front of them so as to not worry them. If they saw me holding it together then they have very little to worry about.
It all felt like it happened so quickly yet at the same time so slowly. Before I knew it, I was lying on the recovery bed with great big bandages across my chest and a 3 and 5 year old looking at me wondering what on earth had happened to their mummy. That’s when it hit me. They were withdrawn and nervous and were hesitant to come close to me. It hurt them to see their mum this way and perhaps it may have been better for them not to visit me. But there was part of me that needed them and at that moment I felt selfish. I needed to see those boys I love to help me heal, but it may have been better for them to be sheltered from this. It does affect them no matter how positive you are, but it doesn’t have to affect them long term if you don’t let it.
It wasn’t until a while after that I spoke to people about the reactions of my sons and it really highlights how different they are. My eldest son who held it together pretty well, sat his friends down at child care in a circle to tell them that his mum only had one boob but that didn’t matter, she was going to be okay. It made me teary that he even had to be thinking about this sort of thing and it saddens me even more that I was so unable to be there for him at that time.
My other son being only 3 didn’t cope very well at all and while this upset me internally at the time, I knew he needed do what was right for him to be able to cope with what had happened to me. He was in good hands as he had always connected so well with my mother-in-law (his “Bargar”) that she became somewhat of a temporary mum for the first few weeks. I had a drainage bag for 10 days which he was afraid of, so I let him keep his distance because that’s a lot for a small mind to process.
But bit by bit I got better and better. I feel as though in some ways it’s not a bad thing for them to have seen me go through something and come out the other side. It almost gave them a modified lesson in resilience and understanding that while things in life don’t always go your way and bad things sometimes happen, you can turn situations into a positive and come out a stronger person. They have an awareness now of sickness and what can happen to you and an appreciation of life from my survival.
My youngest son is probably the most observant on breasts because he probably doesn’t remember mine. He sometimes says to me that he wished I had boobies like all the other mums, but then is criticised by my eldest son who tells him quite adamantly that he should be grateful that I don’t because they had cancer and mummy is lucky to be alive. I understand what Max is saying however when he misses my boobs, just like I do sometimes. He does notice that something is different but I think it is better for him to say how he feels and we can talk about it.
Being faced with somewhat of a hardship in their youth, my children have exposed to me a most beautiful caring side that perhaps some mothers wouldn’t have seen in their children and it makes me so proud. They are always so protective of my chest by putting pillows on it when they want to sit on me and worrying if a ball hits me or something else nearly does. It is so touching to see this caring nature and how they are quite obviously appreciating having me in their lives.
From time to time they ask questions, especially when breast cancer becomes prominent on the news or in the paper and I answer them openly and honestly and share with them all the amazing ideas I have for my blog. The other gorgeous thing is that they will often pick out things at the shops that would be good for mummy to wear on her chest and I’ve actually bought a number of their suggestions!! They’ve got an early eye for breastless fashion!
While they drive me insane daily, I hold them close to my heart and thank my lucky stars that I am still around to love and raise them. I know my dear dad in heaven has something to do with that. No, I am not a physically complete mum like all the rest but I am me and I am their mum and I am fairly confident in saying they love me just the way I am.
My boys and I
Each person’s cancer experience is definitely unique and while it worked for me to be open and honest with my children, it might not work for everyone in that situation. Only a parent knows their children and how they would cope with such news. There is no right or wrong. I only know that whatever we did seemed to work and I feel confident in saying that my children exceeded my expectation of how well they coped during this tough time. I feel happy that they have shown me their strength in adversity at such a young age.
Today I am lucky enough to show you some amazing pieces of clothing from one of my favourite brands, Forever New. I was amazed at how many beautiful pieces I could find at such affordable prices. I feel beautiful, feminine and stylish in each one of these outfits and you will be lucky enough to find quite a few of them on sale at the moment. I highly recommend this fantastic brand for breastless women.
And here are some fantastic bottoms, shoes and accessories to pair with their beautiful breastless fashion…
I hope you manage to find some fashion inspiration at Forever New just as I did.
Have a wonderful week.
I am breastless and beautiful.
Love, Gen x